Sunday, September 26, 2010

Part 3 of Hawass on the tomb of Seti I

Al Ahram Weekly (Zahi Hawass)

After 130 metres the tunnel began to reveal its purpose when we uncovered 54 steps. The pounding inside my chest was amazing as I descended the ramp for seven metres. This second ramp was cut in the rock and had the same dimensions as the first ramp. At the end of this second ramp was another staircase containing 49 steps, which is where the tunnel ended.

The tomb is 98 metres long and the tunnel is 174 metres long. I spent hours inside this long tunnel and I still cannot walk well because my knee was injured by the stone rubble. I still dream of receiving a message from my assistant, Tarek, on my mobile phone. "Great things are happening, 'ya Ganeb Al-Modier' (Mr Director)," he said. "I believe we are in front of a great discovery: a royal tomb inside a royal tomb!" The next day at 5am I flew to Luxor and began my adventure. We knew that the tunnel indeed ended completely and that there was nothing further. I wish that Sheikh Ali were alive today to see our great work and how we excavated the whole tunnel for the first time.

We knew that the great Pharaoh Seti I, father of Ramses II, planned to make the most unique tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Seti planned to make a dummy tomb to deceive everyone and decorated the entire 98 metres of it. But he made another tomb, which he could not finish because he only ruled for 12 years. It seems that his architect concentrated on the construction of the tomb and the tunnel at the same time.

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