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Pole to Pole

Day 56: Luxor

Michael Palin - Pole to Pole'No . . . no,' he shakes his head dismissively, 'last month was hot!'

This vast necropolis contains the remains of sixty-two Pharaohs of the New Kingdom, established in Thebes 3000 to 3500 years ago. It was discovered - 'rediscovered', as Peter corrects me - in 1892. Only forty of the tombs have been found, and all, bar one, had been emptied by robbers. That's why Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhahmun's burial chamber was of such significance. Because it had been built beneath another tomb (that of Rameses VI) the rubble left by the robbers had helped to hide the entrance, and what Peter saw with Carter that day in 1922, was Tutankhamun's treasure exactly as it had been sealed in the tomb 3300 years earlier. I asked him what he could remember of the moment of discovery.

'We find all the beds and the chairs and the statues . . . stacked one on top of the other up to the ceiling.'

'What was Howard Carter's reaction?'

'He became crazy . . . when he have a look to the state coffin, which it is made of solid gold, that thick gold, not like our gold, twenty-four carat gold, he became crazy, you know . . . hitting like that.' Here Peter slapped at the sides of his face with his long bony hands in a passable imitation of a pools winner, 'Unbelievable, unbelievable'.
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 56
  • Country/sea: Egypt
  • Place: Luxor
  • Book page no: 122

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