A few years back, I'd been in Tutankhamun's Valley of the Kings resting place -- he's still down there, but without all his cool stuff, which makes me worry about how he's getting along in afterlife without his boats, bows and board games.
Earlier, in the old
So as I observed the unlucky boy king (his burnt look is probably a result of spontaneous combustion of his embalming oils within his coffin), I looked around and wondered how his retainers got all that junk jammed in that little tiny tomb.
A teenager and a mess go together like pretzels and white chocolate, of course. But this, although somewhat hastily arranged, had been a royal burial. And now it's all clear to me. There was another room in the tomb that we couldn't see when I was in
When the big 1977 tour of an incomplete selection of real pharaonic artifacts came through
There's never going to be another tour as big as the '77 blowout, and people may not be anxious to wander around
Plus, this exhibit offers in-depth information about what you're seeing, which I can assure you doesn't exist in the dim and dusty
Although Tut's underwear or condoms will not be found in
I had a heck of a time when invited to
But none of that held a candle to the touristy stuff. I mean, even Roman emperors made their way down there to see the sights. They loved the colossi of Memnon (actually Amenhotep III).
Cracked by an earthquake, one of the giant statues across the river at Luxor (
One has to be in the presence of the Great Pyramid, built for Cheops, to really understand it. Going up its dark tunnels was like being in the guts of a god. It is so massive that I hope this monument to the pride of a man -- and thus all men -- will still defiantly be there when our sun blinks in its death throes and cauterizes the fungus we call life off our rock. (I can only hope, since it's more likely to be a casualty of the African plate crashing into the European plate.)
But I digress.
Time along the Nile folds on the continum. The last period of this great bread basket of the known world then being run by actual Egyptians, not invaders from neighboring regions, ended about five centuries before Jesus. The pyramids were built about 20 centuries before that; it took about 85 years, they say.
I went out to look around one of the granddaddies, the Step Pyramid out in Saqqara, which was the vast burying ground across from the former capital of
As I kicked around, something poked up from the desert sands, something created by man, perhaps the coned bottom of a clay lamp or vessel. It's at home in my small stash of antiquities. So have Indiana Jones sue me.
At least it wasn't an obelisk. These looted monuments already are scattered around the world.
Another pair was divided between east
For some reason it pleases us to have things that might be so old. True, my relic could have been shaped from the mud of the Nile just a few centuries ago, not millennia.
Sadly my accelerator mass spectrometer is down, and the
So who knows what its carbon-14 would say? I'm pretty sure it belonged to Cheops.
(c)2014 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.)
Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at www.kansascity.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services