Thursday, May 27, 2010

So where are Anthony and Cleopatra?

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

Advance warning - Indiana Jones reference.

Cleopatra's curse hung over the ancient city of Taposiris Magna, 50km west of Alexandria, where excavators combed the sand last Saturday looking for her resting place with her beloved Mark Anthony. Nevine El-Aref witnessed the search

Last Saturday was a very strange day. At Taposiris Magna, where the ruins of the Osiris Temple and few Graeco-Roman tombs emerge from the sand, a dozen journalists, photographers and TV cameramen gathered to witness the revelations of the latest search there carried by an Egyptian-Dominican team.

At first everything seemed as normal as usual. Excavators were busy digging while workmen with their black buckets removing the sand out of the temple. At 9:30am sharp Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who is supervising the excavations, came to the site to make the announcement and to explore a newly-discovered three- metre-deep shaft. Dominican archaeologist Kathleen Martinez, who heads the excavation mission, was also on the site. There was a sense of great excitement and anxiety as we waited to see what lay inside the shaft.

By this time Hawass, in his Indiana Jones hat, was enclosed inside a red iron cage hung on an anchor which suspended him on a thick wire from an electronic engine. Hawass went downwards, and when he had almost reached the bottom he gave the order for the engine to stop as he had found subterranean water covering the bottom of the shaft.

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