Egypt's 'Indiana Jones' to Reveal Details of Tutankhamun's Death in Sofia Lecture
Prominent Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass promised on Monday to reveal “for the first time how Tutankhamun died” at his public lecture in Sofia.
Hawass, whose lecture will mark the 90th anniversary of relations between Egypt and Bulgaria, will talk about “Pyramids, Mummies and New Discoveries" at 18:30 local time (EET) on Tuesday at the Central Military Club. Adel El Masry, Counsellor to the Minister to Tourism of Egypt, is also on a visit to Sofia on the occasion.
Egypt's Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Ms Manal El Shinnawi, noted at a press conference ahead of the event that bilateral relations in 2016 will be marked by more intense cooperation in the fields of tourism and culture.
For his part the archaeologist, often described as a present-day Indiana Jones due to his passion for spectacular discoveries and his media fame (he has taken part in a number of TV programs for the BBC, CNN, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, History Channel, and others) touched several key topics he is to discuss during the lecture.
“There is a theory among many people that [Tutankhamun] was murdered. It was not true,” Hawass said, adding he will also shed more light on his team's discovery of the pharaoh's family, done through a DNA analysis.
More will also be told about work in progress as he is taking part in the search for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony at a temple site. “We found [at the site] many important statues of Cleopatra, coins that have a face in the name of Cleopatra, we found a mask that maybe belonged to Mark Anthony... Next month we are using a Russian radar... inside and outside the temple to see what's hidden there.“
Attention will be paid to the discovery of the tombs of the pyramid builders „proving that Pyramids were built by Egyptians and not by slaves,“ he added.
The archaeologist reiterated his disagreement with claims of British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, who says the tomb of Nefertiti is located behind the northern wall and the western wall of the tomb of Tutankhamon. „He based his theory on the reading of 3D photographs taken of the tomb of Tutankhamun... The ministry of Antiquities took Reeves' theory for the publicity and that was good. But I do have firm evidence that what Reeves sent is completely wrong. There is no tomb of Nefertiti inside the tomb of Tutankhamun, because Nefertiti worshiped Akhenaton, and there was no way that the priestess of Amon would let Nefertiti be buried in the Valley of Kings.“
Commenting on current affairs, Hawass noted that despite a the loss of cultural heritage in the years after the Arab Spring, much was preserved in Egypt unlike other countries. Only 17 objects were stolen from the famous, Egyptian Museum, he pointed out, drawing a parallel with countries such as Libya and Iraq where many artifacts were destroyed. "Only small objects were stolen from the Cairo museum. If you compare this to what happened in Iraq, there is over 50 000 objects were taken from the Baghdad museum. But in Cairo, the young people who made the revolution, saved the museum," he said.
“Egypt is safe,” he asserted, making clear both archaeological sites and hotels are protected and stressing the importance of tourism revenues for the preservation of monuments. He also repeated his calls that, as Egyptian monuments can be finished between a 100 years if we don't accommodate between the needs of tourism and the preservation, replicas have to be made of key monuments and the originals have to be closed, with tourists visiting replicas in the future.
Hawass also recalled he is a good friend of Sergey Ignatov, a former Bulgarian Education Minister who is currently working ot a tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
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