In this highly readable first-hand account, world-famous
Egyptologist and spellbinding storyteller Dr. Zahi Hawass shares
some of the many intriguing tales about the legendary "curse of the
pharaohs"-including several of his own experiences with it. Also
known as the "curse of the mummies," this spine-tingling
legend-still believed by many people-claims that anyone who
disturbs the rest of the ancient Egyptian dead will be haunted or
harmed by their spirits. Often blamed when things go wrong, these
ancient spirits are given credit for accidents, illnesses, and even
deaths.Many strange things have happened to Dr. Hawass during his
years as an archaeologist in the field, and he delights in telling
about them. For example: o?= - He tells of the exciting discovery
of beautiful statues found in the tomb of a man called Inty-shedu
and of the bizarre circumstances-including an earthquake and then
his own heart attack-that prevented him from publicly announcing
the discovery.o?= - After he excavated the mummies of two small
children in the Valley of the Golden Mummies and arranged to have
them transferred to a museum, the children began haunting his
dreams every night, following him in his travels around the world.
After several months of sleepless nights, he realized that the
children didn't want to be separated from another mummy-a grown
man, perhaps their father-that had been buried with them. So he had
that mummy moved to the museum, too, and the nightmares stopped o?=
- During exploration of another tomb, he was knocked unconscious by
an electric shock from the frayed wire of the lamp he held. The
fact that he survived these incidents seems proof to him that if
there is a curse, itprobably helped him. He says, "The greatest
desire of the ancient Egyptians was that their names would live
forever. We as archaeologists dedicate our lives to bringing the
names of the ancients back to life.o?= So you see, though I do
excavate tombs, the spirits of the dead should be pleased with me."
Dr. Hawass also delves into the fascinating background of the
curse, telling readers how it became famous all over the world
after the discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, also
known as King Tut, in 1922. Shortly after the discovery of the
tomb, seemingly inexplicable misfortunes began to occur, ranging
from a pet canary being devoured by a cobra to the illnesses and
deaths of several people involved with the excavation of the
fabulous tomb. Rumors quickly spread that an ancient curse had been
awakened. In a later chapter, Dr. Hawass makes clear that there are
simple, natural explanations for most of the disasters linked to
the curse of the pharaohs-such as ancient, infection-causing germs,
for example. In another chapter, he explains that ancient Egyptians
did believe in curses and magic, and he tells how they carved curse
inscriptions on their tombs to warn off robbers. (It didn't work.
Neither did trying to hide the tombs.) Overflowing with beautiful
4-color photographs, Curse of the Pharaohs not only explores the
legendary curse but also introduces readers to the thrills and
dangers of archaeology and to the fascinating world of ancient
Egypt. A valuable reference tool for school reports, the book's
extensive back matter includes a timeline, glossary, index,
bibliography, and further reading list, as well as fun and
informative sections on how mummies were made, thearchaeologist's
tools, and Dr. Hawass's tips for budding archaeologists.
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