the tomb, Carter found a statue wrapped in a linen shroud,
resting beside the coffin. It is presumed to be a statue
of Mentuhotep, the first king of Dynasty II. The king
is shown wearing the red crown of the Delta and a short
skirt with an Osirid-shape. The function of this statue
remains unexplained by Egyptologists, but it is now
on display at the Cairo Museum.
the same time, a second major discovery was made by
a similar accident in Alexandria. In 1900, the site
of Kom El-Shokafa was used as a quarry. One day as Ahmed
Kasbara was riding his donkey the leg of the animal
fell into a hole in the desert floor. The incident revealed
a labyrinth of underground tunnels that later came to
be known as the Catacombs of Kom El-Shokafa.
horse has also led the way to one of my most significant
discoveries. This occurred in August 1990. An American
woman was riding a horse southeast of the Sphinx when
her horse stumbled to the ground after hitting its leg
against a small mud-brick structure. That structure
turned out to be the first of a huge series of tombs
of the pyramid builders. Although excavation of this
site has only just begun, it is estimated to be one
of the largest ancient Egyptian cemeteries ever found.
I had been searching for this very same cemetery only
months earlier but had closed our original excavation
due to a lack of decisive findings. I ronically, the
horse discovered the first tomb in this cemetery only
9 meters from my original excavation location.
course, the most recent discovery made by a donkey was
the amazing Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya
Oasis. Bahariya is among the most beautiful oases of
Egypt. It falls under the Giza governorate, and therefore
it is within the jurisdiction of the Giza Department
excavation revived the adventurous spirit of archaeology
inside all of us who worked at Bahariya, because we
were not merely uncovering the objects used by people
or the tombs they were buried in, we were uncovering
the very people who made them.