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.

Adventures of Being an American by Carli
March 6, 2008, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Before coming to Egypt, I was asked by countless friends and family to die my hair in order to better blend in. Well clearly there is no blending for our group. We are loud, boisterous Americans with giant equipment, and sunburned skin (sorry Mom). The local women are mostly wrapped in their traditional hegab, headscarf, and often follow behind the men in their group. So I prepared myself for some serious discomfort, but have found that it is certainly not the case.

The people are warm and friendly, and have an amazing sense of humor. Almost everyone we have encountered speaks a bit of broken English, and enjoys our long pause of mass befuddlement as we sort through their casual sarcasm. They are delighted by our tourism and of course, our checkbooks. I do get a few uncomfortable stares, and the occasional shouted comment, which I am glad not to understand, but it is not any more than would be expected walking through a parking lot of tailgaters before a Bengals game.

And if I could pick one highlight from today’s adventures, it would be when our Egyptologist, Bahaa Gaber, showed us how to write COSI in hieroglyphics. I shot a video of this, but because there wasn’t much light it didn’t come out after uploading it to YouTube.

PS – The last tomb we visited today was called Amenkherkhepshaf. Say that three times fast. Or maybe even just once.

Inside Epuy’s Tomb – Showcase of Art

Through the Eyes of the People by Josh
March 6, 2008, 5:23 pm
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Author: Josh

So today I met with the Director of the Valley of the Kings, Queens, and Workers, stared out over the 418 known tombs of Deir el-Medinah, helped arrange an interview with the man who proved the pyramids were built by skilled laborers and not by slaves, sipped tea inside of a 3,000-year-old tomb and now I’m writing this looking out over the Nile at sunset. Are you kidding me?

This trip has been absolutely amazing. As we’ve been shooting these videos and stills, I can literally place each and every one inside this exhibit that we’re building, and I feel it growing stronger with every shot we take. We’re experiencing this magnificent country through the eyes of the people who are rediscovering its past. A lot of my friends and family seem to think that this is a vacation, and while we’ve certainly worked hard, no tourist’s visit could rival the way we are connecting with this place and these people. I’d write more but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I suspect that feeling will be with me for a while.