Egyption Tomb 5 Essay Research Paper Early

Egyption Tomb 5 Essay, Research Paper

Early Western CivilizationEgyption Tomb 5 Egyptologists had lost interest in the site of tomb 5, which had beenexplored and looted decades ago. Therefore, they wanted to give way toa parking lot. However, no one would have ever known the treasure thatlay only 200 ft. from King Tut s resting place which was beyond a fewrubble strewn rooms that previous excavators had used to hold theirdebris. Dr. Kent Weeks, an Egyptologist with the American University in Cairo,wanted to be sure the new parking facility wouldn t destroy anythingimportant. Thus, Dr. weeks embarked in 1988 on one final exploration ofthe old dumping ground. Eventually he was able to pry open a doorblocked for thousands of years, and announced the discovery of a lifetime. “We found ourselves in a corridor,” he remembers. “On each sidewere 10 doors and at end there was a statue of Osiris, the god of theafterlife.” The tomb is mostly unexcavated and the chambers are choked with debris,Weeks is convinced that there are more rooms on a lower level, bringingthe total number to more than 100. That would make tomb 5 the biggestand most complex tomb ever found in Egypt, and quite conceivable theresting place of up to 50 sons of Ramesses II, perhaps the best known ofall the pharaohs, the ruler believed to have been Moses nemesis in thebook of Exodus. The Valley of the Kings, in which Tomb 5 is located, is just acrossthe Nile River from Luxor, Egypt. It is never exactly been off thebeaten track. Tourism has been brisk in the valley for millenniums:graffiti scrawled on tomb walls proves that Greek and Roman travelersstopped here to gaze at the wall paintings and hieroglyphics that werealready old long before the birth of Christ. Archaeologists have beencoming for centuries too. Napoleon brought his own team of excavatorswhen he invaded in 1798, and a series of expeditions in 19th and early20th centuries uncovered one tomb after another. A total of 61 burialspots had been found by the time the British explorer Howard Carteropened the treasure-laden tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922. Britain s James Burton had burrowed into the site of Tomb 5 in 1820,and decided that there was nothing inside. A dismissive Carter used itsentryway as a place to dump the debris he was hauling out of Tut s tomb. In the late 1980s, came the proposed parking area and Weeks concern.His 1988 foray made it clear that the tomb wasn t dull as Burton said.Elaborate carvings covered walls and referred to Ramesses II, whoseown tomb was just 100 ft. away. The wall inscriptions on the companioncrypt mentioned two of Ramesses 52 known sons, implying some of theroyal offspring might have been buried within. Then, came last month sastonishing announcement. For treasure, the tomb probably won t come to close to Tut s becauserobbers apparently plundered the chamber long time ago. No gold or finejewelry has been found so far, and Weeks does not expect to find anyriches to speak of. The carvings and inscriptions Weeks and his friendshave seen, along with thousands of artifacts such as beads, fragments ofjars that were used to store the organs of the deceased, and mummifiedbody parts which tell historians a great amount about ancient Egyptduring the reign of its most important king. “Egyptians do not call himRamesses II,” Sabry Abd El Aziz, director of antiquities for the Qurnaregion said. ” We call him Ramesses al-Akbar which means Ramesses theGreat.” During his 67 years on the throne stretching from 1279 B.C. to 1212 B. C., Ramesses could have filled an ancient edition of the Guinness Bookof Records all by himself: he built more temples, obelisks andmonuments; took more wives(eight, not counting concubines) and claimedto have sired more children (as many as 162, by some accounts) than anyother pharaoh in history. He presided over an empire that stretchedfrom present-day Libya to Iraq in the east, as far north as Turkey andsouthward into the Sudan. Today, historians know a great deal about Ramesses and the customs ofhis day. However, the newly explored tomb suddenly presents scholarswith all sort of puzzles to ponder. For one thing, many of the tombs inthe Valley of the Kings are syringe-like, plunging straight as a needleinto the steep hillsides. For reasons nobody yet knows, says Weeks,this one “is more like an octopus, with a body surrounded by tentacles.” The body in this case is an enormous square room, at least 50 ft. on aside and divided by 16 massive columns. In Ramesses day the room wouldhave seemed positively cavernous; now it is filled nearly to the topwith rubble washed in over the centuries by infrequent flash floods.Anyone who wants to traverse the chamber has to crawl through a tightpassage, lighted by a string of dim electric light bulbs where the dirthas been painstakingly cleared away. At the end of his claustrophobic journey lies the door Weeks found, andthe relatively spacious corridors beyond. It is here, as well as intwo outermost rooms that the artifacts were discovered. Weeks says,”The tomb was pretty well gone over in ancient times.” Thearchaeologists have tracked down a record of one of those robberies

which in about 1150 B.C. A 3,000 year old papyrus fragment housed in amuseum in Turin, Italy which recounts the trial of a thief who wascaught in the Valley of the Kings. He confessed under torture that hehad broken into Ramesses II s tomb and then returned the next night torob the tomb of Ramesses children, which across the path. Additional artifacts could lie buried if, as Weeks believes, the tombhad unusual split level design. The ceilings of the corridors to theleft and right of the statue of Osiris slope downward and then dropabruptly about 4 ft. Moreover, the doors that line the corridors alllead to identical 10 ft. by 10 ft. chambers. The openings are onlyabout 2.5 ft. wide which is too narrow to accommodate a prince ssarcophagus. That suggests to Weeks that the rooms weren t burialchambers but rather chapels for funeral offerings. Hieroglyphics above each painting make it clear that the pharaoh sfirs, second, seventh, and 15th sons were buried in Tomb 5. Many of theengravings show Ramesses presenting one or another of the newly deceasedyoung men to Re-Harakhty, the god of the sun; Horus, the falcon headedgod of the sky; or Hathor, goddes of motherhood, who is often depictedas a cow. These scenes reflect the belief that pharaohs were demigodswhile alive and that life was merely a short term way station on theroad to full deity. Anything that researchers learn in Tomb 5 about Ramesses oldest son,Amen-hir-khopshef, could be especially significant to religionscholars. Cautions Weeks: ” I m not saying that we will prove thevalidity of the Bible,but scholars are hungry for any new informationabout this crucial time in Judeo-Christian history.” The great buildings boom got under way as soon as Ramesses took throneat age 25, right after he discovered that the great temple his fatherSeti I had begun at Abydos was a shambles. The new pharaoh summoned hiscoursties to hear his plans for completing the work. Then, he went onto built dozens of monuments, including a temple at Luxor and Karnak andthe cliff temples at Abu Simbel which were rescued from waters risingbehind the Aswan Dam in the 1960s. In an age when life expectancy could not have been much more than 40,it must have seemed to his subjects that Ramesses would never die. At92, the pharaoh went to join his ancestors and some of his sons in theValley of the Kings. His internal organs were removed and placed invessels known as canopic jars, and the body was embalmed and gentlywrapped in cloth. Archaeologists found that the embalmers has evenstuffed peppercorns into the monarch s nostrils to keep his aquilinenose from being flattened by the wrappings. Ramesses was then placed in a sarcophagus and interred, along witheverything he would need to travel through the afterlife: The Book ofthe Dead, containing spells that would give the pharaoh access to thenetherworld; tiny statuettes known as Ushabti, which would come alive tohelp the dead king perform labors for the gods; offering of food andwine; jewelry and even furniture to make the afterlife morecomfortable. It s likely, say scholars that Ramesses II s tomb wasoriginally far richer and more elaborate than King Tut s. Unlike several other tombs in the valley, Ramesses has never been fullyexcavated. A French team is clearing it now, and the entire tomb couldbe ready for visitors within five years, but it is not expected to offerarchaeologists any surprises. Tomb 5 is a completly different story.Weeks says ” We have never found a multiple burial of a pharaoh schildren. We have no idea at all what happened to the most of thepharaoh s children.” Archaeologists either have to assume that RamessesII buried his children in a unique way, or they have to consider thepossibility that they ve overlooked a major type of royal tomb. Archaelogists still haven t resolved many basic questions about Tomb5; when the tomb was built, over what priod of time it was used. Someanswers could pop up as the excavations progress. Says Weeks ” Let shope the tomb yields a whole lot of new bodies. Then, medicos can get towork on them, and find out what therse princes were like, whether theyhad toothaches, how long they lived.” Weeks team plans to return to Tomb 5 for the month of July. Their goalis to get enough inside to explore the staircases and lower level.Weeks stimates that it will take at least five years to study and mapthe entire tomb, protect the decorations, install climate controls andelectricity and shore up the precarious sections. Says Abdel Halim Nurel Din, secretary-general of egypt s Supreme Council of Antiquites: “We re in no hurry to open this tomb to the public. We already have 10or 12 that they can visit.” It is more improtant to preserve the tombsthat have already been excavated, say the Egyptians, than make new onesaccessible. The recent find gives scholars hope that more can be discovered evenin this most explored of Egypt s archaeological sites. Notes theantiquities department s Abd El Aziz: ” We still haven t found the tombsof Amenhotep I or Ramesses VIII,” he says. ” We have 62 tombs in theValley of the Kings, but in the Western Valley, which runs perpendicularto it, we have discovered only two tombs. The pharaohs would be pleased to know they have held on to a few oftheir secrets. After all, they dug their tombs deep into hillsides,where the crypts would be safe from the rabble and robbers. However,they never counted on was the need for parking lots


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