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4.9.04

Blood Of The Pyramids

French Egyptologists Defend Pyramid Theory

A pair of French Egyptologists who suspect they have found a previously unknown chamber in the Great Pyramid urged Egypt's antiquities chief to reconsider letting them test their theory by drilling new holes in the 4,600-year-old structure.

... "There are 300 theories concerning hidden rooms and other things inside the pyramid, but if I let them all test their theories they will do untold damage to the pyramid, which was built with the blood of Egyptians," said [director of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi] Hawass. "I will not let Egyptian blood be damaged by amateurs."


I don't know the first thing about Egyptology, so I have no idea who's right in this. But I found it interesting how Hawass framed his objection. To me, the idea of drilling 300 holes in the pyramid would seem problematic because it would damage an important relic, which has value as a source of data and tourist revenue. But Hawass is concerned that it would disrespect the sacrifices of the people who built the pyramids. We tend to think of the ancient Egyptians as a distinct people from modern Egyptians, since the culture of the region has changed so dramatically since the pyramids were built -- much as I wouldn't feel much of a personal connection to the Vikings, since they lived so long ago and so differently than me. But Hawass's invocation of "Egyptian blood" seems like a claim to continuity with the pyramid builders, similar to Native Americans charging that archaeologists here disrespect their ancestors, and by extension them.

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