COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition

Valley of the Kings Presents Problems and Solutions by Kate
March 8, 2008, 4:01 pm
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Author: Kate

The tombs in the Valley of the Kings were magnificent. This was the perfect ending of our tomb touring days. Walking into these tombs was exactly as I imagined it – a long stone ramp going ever downward. Without modern electric lights, it must have felt like descending into the underworld just to go inside one. Twice today, the lights went out for a couple of minutes while we were inside. In the first tomb we visited, there was a long ramp leading to the entrance, so you could still easily see daylight, but in the second, we were far enough in that it was completely dark – you couldn’t see anything at all. I loved it. I thought, this is what it was like when it was first built. Peaceful, dark, eternal.

The first tomb we visited was KV 9, the Tomb of Rameses VI. The tomb has been uncovered for a very long time – there’s even Greek and Roman graffiti on the walls in some places. It is filled with incredibly brilliant color decorations of religious iconography, including the gods and goddesses. We were very excited about this – the photos and videos are beautiful. At one point we asked if the color had been restored, since it seemed impossible for it to have survived intact for so long, but our guide Ehab said no, this was all original, just very well preserved. At the end of the long ramp down, there was an enormous stone sarcophagus – truly worthy of a king.

Tomb of Rameses VI – Narrated by Carli

The second tomb we saw was a surprise. We had intended to visit Rameses III next, but when Josh and I scouted ahead, it was so swamped with people, we could barely move through it (it was like COSI on its busiest day, but in a very narrow passage, and a temperature of probably 95 degrees Fahrenheit inside-you’d think the tombs would be cooler inside, but with all the people going through, and the lack of air circulation, it’s like a sauna). But Ehab suggested that instead we visit KV14, the tomb of Tausert, who was the royal wife of Sety II, then she became regent of Siptah, and finally, the last ruler of the 19th Dynasty.

The tomb has two large burial chambers, and it is thought that perhaps both Tausert and her husband were supposed to be buried there. The tomb decorations reflect how her role and status changed over time – shifting from the usual decorations for a queen’s tomb, such as scenes from the gates of the underworld and their guardians, to decorative themes more appropriate of a king’s tomb. The tomb was taken over for the burial of someone else, Seknakht, and all the images of Tausert were plastered over and replaced by images of Seknakht or his cartouches. This tomb was so beautiful. The big chambers were stunning – can’t wait to show the pictures!

The last tomb we saw was KV 34, the tomb of Thutmes III. The images and writing are done in a cursive style that mimics the writing on a roll of papyrus. Very charming and simple compared to the ornate decoration of the other tombs. Unfortunately, much of the tomb is behind Plexiglas (well, unfortunately for us, but obviously a good thing for the unique artwork!), so there are not as many images of this one.

The biggest challenge we faced was trying to photograph and film everything while tourists filed in. The site supervisor, guards and others were incredibly helpful in every location, and we’ll always be very grateful for their kind assistance! In the last tomb, we accidentally dropped a memory card into a shaft (probably 50 feet down??).

We were frantic, since it contained all the shots from the entire day. But as we were told, “In Egypt, whatever the problem, we will find a solution!” And they did. Several men came back with a long rope, which one of them wrapped several times around his waist. The others stood as if playing tug-of-war, and carefully lowered him to the bottom. There, he found our lost card, and they pulled him back up. Their generosity was overwhelming and deeply appreciated.

Photo Panoramic Views of Giza and Cairo by COSI
March 5, 2008, 9:07 am
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Here are some images that have multiple photos stitched together to give you a panoramic view of what we’re experiencing. It’s pretty amazing:

Giza Pyramids and Cairo View from Mountain

View from the Giza Plateau

Night View of the Sphinx and Giza from the Ground

From Sun to Sand at Saqqara by Carli
March 4, 2008, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Today we traveled to Saqqara, an archaeological site about an hour from Cairo. The monuments span 3,000 years, with the centerpiece being the massive Step Pyramid of Djoser. The structure was built for 3rd Dynasty King Djoser, and became the prototype for the pyramids of Giza and others. Each of the impressive layers is actually a mastaba, which prior to being stacked for the building of the Step Pyramid, had only ever been built as a single low-flat, mudbrick tombs.

Everywhere you look from the Step Pyramid are giant sand dunes, crumbling ruins, and entrances to magnificent tombs. Each adventure into the tombs started with the tremendous contrast from the blazing sun and scorching sand into the dark and humid tombs with cold limestone walls and floors. Then each room we entered seemed to have more spectacular hieroglyphics than the one before.

Our tour guide read line after line, picture after picture of stories from the walls. We were able to take our cameras and video equipment into these exclusive areas and get such incredible footage, that I became giddy thinking how we will be bringing text books to life with this exhibit! Of course then I immediately began thinking how great the COSI logo will look on all of these images!