Egypt 'Cursed Tomb' Opened to Public for First Time Since Discovery 30 Years Ago

Published November 2nd, 2017 - 08:11 GMT
The site has been closed off since 1990 (AFP/File)
The site has been closed off since 1990 (AFP/File)

 

  • Archaeologists have reopened a 'cursed tomb' containing the remains of the people who built the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • Is the first time it has been opened to the public since its discovery 30 years ago
  • The area dates back 4,500 years and is located in the 'tribal mountain' area near the Pyramid of Giza
  • It is believed the man who supervised the workers who built the site filled the cemetery with curses to protect the dead from thieves

 

Archaeologists in Egypt have reopened a 'cursed tomb' containing the remains of the people who built the Great Pyramid of Giza to visitors.

It is the first time it has been opened to the public since its discovery almost 30 years ago.

The area dates back 4,500 years and is located in the 'tribal mountain' area, near the Pyramid of Giza.

Experts with the Ministry have been working to restore and develop the site as part of a plan to open more archaeological sites to the public to boost tourism.

The Giza Plateau Development Project includes the construction of a visitor's center, administrative offices, and tourism and antiquities police centers.

Paving all the roads around the plateau and those connecting the entrance gate to the exit is also part of the first phase.

The newly opened area contains a cemetery of workers along with the graves of the supervisor of the royal palace, the supervisor of the construction workers and a man of significance who was buried with the workers, according to Newsweek.

The site has been closed off since 1990.

Archaeologists from the Ministry of Antiquities believe the man who supervised the workers filled the cemetery with curses to protect the dead from thieves.

In his book Valley of the Golden Mummies, archaeologist Zahi Hawass says that the tombs of the builders of the Great Pyramid of Giza included the warning "All people who enter this tomb who will make evil against this tomb and destroy it may the crocodile be against them in water, and snakes against them on land."

The tomb of the royal palace supervisor, known as Nefer Thieth, was well preserved and was found to have two fake doors and inscriptions along the walls, Newsweek said. 

 

 

As well as opening up the three tombs, Ashraf Mohi, director general of the effects of the Pyramids of Giza, said two other tombs discovered in the same cemetery have been reopened—including the tomb of Khufu Khaf, the son of King Khufu, who ruled between 2589–2566 B.C.

His is a double tomb with the north chapel dedicated to his wife Nefretka and the south to the prince himself.

The other tomb is Seshem Nefer 4, which dates to the Sixth Dynasty, around 2340 B.C.

This grave includes images of the cemetery owner with his family, bulls being slaughtered and birds and animals being hunted.

According to archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who worked for the ministry when the tomb was discovered, workers probably worked year round at the site.

"Peasant farmers from the surrounding villages and provinces rotated in and out of a labor force organized into competing gangs with names such as 'friends of Khufu' and' Drunkards of Menkaure," he wrote.

"Each gang was divided into groups, Egyptologists call phyles (the Greek word for tribe). There were five phyles, whose names, always the same in each gang, bear some resemblance to ancient Egyptian nautical terms such as 'great 'or starboard and green or prow.

"Each phyle was divided into groups of ten to 20 men, each named with single hieroglyphs sometimes representing ideas such as 'life',' endurance' and 'perfection.'"

Experts now believe they are on the brink of finding a hidden 'recess' in the Great Pyramid of Giza.

 

 

A project called ScanPyramids is using infrared thermography among other techniques to find out the secrets of this hidden chamber and date artifacts.

Also known as Khufu Pyramid, it stands at 479 feet (146 meters) high and was the world's tallest man-made structure for nearly 4,000 years.

ScanPyramids is among the most ambitious of the projects to demystify the Khufu Pyramid near Cairo, which was completed in about 2560 B.C.

"All the devices we put in place are designed to find where the cavity is located. We know there is one, but we're trying to find out where," said Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the HIP Institute heading the ScanPyramids project.

It is the only surviving monument from the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

Chemical testing still requires small samples, but advanced techniques coming into use are meant to be non-invasive so as not to damage the ancient relics.

Researchers are also using muography which looks for charged particles to help date artifacts.

The results are then compared with infrared and 3D images.

Some archaeologists have pinned hopes on using the sophisticated technology to locate the burial place of the legendary queen Nefertiti.

The wife of King Akhenaten, who initiated a monotheistic cult in ancient Egypt, queen Nefertiti remains an enigma, best known for a bust depicting her that is now on exhibition in Berlin's Neues Museum.

A British Egyptologist, Nicholas Reeves, believed her remains were hidden in a secret chamber in the tomb of Tutankhamun, in the southern Valley of the Kings.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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