by Zahi Hawass
A few years ago, an oasis in the middle of the desert 230 miles southwest of Cairo yielded a spectacular discovery: a group of intact Egyptian tombs containing at least 60 gilded mummies, and perhaps hundreds more. In Valley of the Golden Mummies, archaeologist Zahi Hawass reveals his first-hand experiences at this unprecedented site, with an exciting narrative liberally illustrated by photographs taken during the excavation.
The Valley of the Golden Mummies came to light by accident, when a donkey stumbled across a hole in the sand. The tombs containing the mummies date to the first and second centuries A.D., when Egypt was ruled by Rome. These are not royal remains but rather the mummies of wealthy individuals, probably merchants, who appear to have been buried in family groups, surrounded by funerary objects, jewelry, and other artifacts. At the time of publication, only five mummies had been removed from the tombs and put on display at a museum in Bahariya, and the excavation site will remain closed to the public. This book will therefore be the only way one may see what lies within these mysterious graves.
For the past 4 years, Hawass has served as field director to one of the most amazing excavations in ancient Egyptian history: that of the tombs of the Bahariya Oasis. This ancient burial site has so far revealed 60 gilded mummies dating from the first and second centuries A.D. Unlike so many other sites, this tomb, the area of which may be as big as 4 square miles, shows no evidence of looting. That happenstance has left intact a bounty of artifacts, including elaborate golden masks, funerary objects, and jewelry. The condition of the mummies appears to be almost as they were when the tomb was sealed 2,000 years ago. Hawass reports on this ongoing project. His insightful text is enhanced by loads of stunning color photographs of the tombs and their contents. This site will remain closed to the public. This captivating book, then, is so far, the only way to visit this treasure trove in the desert.
--from Science News
Abrams, 2000, 224 p., color photos/illus., 10" X 12", hardcover
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Copyright 2001, Science Service