Saturday, March 28, 2009

Antiquities Boss Tells of Pyramid Restoration

The Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

Zahi Hawass is the head archaeologist for the Egyptian Department of Antiquities and has been instrumental in many of the recent discoveries in Saqqara and other ancient sites. Anyone interested in restoration of treasured Egyptian tombs will find his blog post “Saving the Step Pyramid” fascinating. Here are three selected paragraphs:

The Step Pyramid at Saqqara dates back almost 5,000 years, to the reign of Djoser (2630-2611), the first king of Egypt’s 3rd Dynasty. The centuries have taken their natural toll on this remarkable monument, but in recent years the deterioration has accelerated with the rising water table and other changes to the environment. One year ago, the SCA initiated a major effort to save the Step Pyramid for future generations.

I am so happy to be able to tell you that our work to save the Step Pyramid is progressing well. We will soon begin to shore up the ceiling of the burial chamber. I feel as though we are truly helping to cause the name of the great king Djoser and that of his architect, the genius Imhotep, to live for generations to come.

When I was young, I was afraid of the dark, and when I first crawled into the narrow space under the sarcophagus I remembered this feeling. I lay on my back on the floor of the tunnel, with my face almost touching the sarcophagus, and my heart was beating fast. The thrill of adventure, however, immediately made me forget any fear, and I was able to look in amazement at the achievement of the ancient workmen who were able to assemble the sarcophagus from huge pieces of granite.

Click here for Zahi Hawass’s post.

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