The Tomb of Brothers

By Reibstein, Larry; Miller, Susan | Newsweek, May 29, 1995 | Go to article overview

The Tomb of Brothers


Reibstein, Larry, Miller, Susan, Newsweek


BACK IN 1820 AN ENGLISH AMATEUR archeologist named James Burton was poking around the Nile engaged in his favorite pursuit, looking for ancient monuments. He came upon the entrance of a tomb and noticed a cartouche--an inscription--of one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs, Ramses II. Burton tunneled into the crypt but, apparently thwarted by the debris, stopped burrowing and left. Nearly a century later, around 1910, the archeologist Howard Carter had his workmen dig through the same entrance, but he also gave up after a few feet. He assumed the tomb was insignificant--so trivial that he covered the entrance with dirt from his other excavations.

Too bad they didn't push a little harder. Last week archeologists announced they had uncovered what appears to be the largest and most complex tomb ever found in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, making it the most significant find since Carter opened King Tut's spectacular chamber. The tomb, 3,200 years old, is a vast, elaborately designed mausoleum, containing at least 62 rooms, many laid side by side, and probably dozens more on a lower level. As one Egyptologist put it, reaching across the seas for a metaphor, "it's a kind of Levittown, Long Island" for mummies.

Why so big? Archeologists think the mausoleum, which is called Tomb 5, is a family crypt laid out by Ramses II, who certainly required a big one. He is said to have fathered more than 100 children, including 52 sons. But archeologists didn't know where any except for one were buried. Now Kent Weeks, the American Egyptologist who led the nearly decadelong dig, said he's confident at least four sons are buried in Tomb 5--which is only 100 feet away from Dad's separate resting place. And he suspects that nearly all of the other sons are buried in Tomb 5, too. Weeks theorizes that Ramses II built the tomb in preparation for his sons' deaths. Twelve died before he did.

Experts have long thought that it was rare for anyone but a pharaoh to be buried in the hallowed Valley of the Kings necropolis, about 300 miles south of Cairo. It's even conceivable, though doubtful, that Ramses II's daughters--at least 30 are known--are buried in Tomb 5 also. (His first wife, Queen Nefertari, is buried in the nearby Valley of the Queens. But no one knows where his half dozen other wives, and any number of concubines, are resting, though it's safe to speculate that they keeled over from exhaustion.) "Given the fact that no other pharaoh is known to have taken such great care over the burial of his sons," Weeks said, "it certainly shows him to be a very paternal fellow."

Egyptologists, often skeptical of supposed new finds, were elated at the discovery. They had no argument with Weeks's theory that Tomb 5 may be one humongous family plot--15 times the number of chambers as King Tut's. "It just seemed to go on and on," said Peter Dorman, a University of Chicago Egyptologist who visited the site in March. The tomb won't likely contain treasures similar to those found in King Tut's; it was plundered in ancient times, and besides, even loved princes don't get the treasures of a pharaoh. But its wall decorations, mummy fragments and statuary could reveal important details about the powerful Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 67 years, from 1290 to 1224 B.C. In one respect the tomb's magnitude isn't surprising; Ramses II was the Robert Moses of his time, building temples or major additions at Abu Simbel, Thebes, Karnak and Luxor. Ramses II is traditionally said to have been pharaoh at the time of the Biblical exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.

The discovery of the tomb came almost as an adjunct to Weeks's main job--mapping the monuments and tombs at the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, which includes the Valley of the Kings. Since the 1970s, Weeks, a 53-year-old professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, had done everything from flying in a hot-air balloon to slithering along the ground to chart the area's archeological features. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Tomb of Brothers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.