Entry 483: Tut and Go

My efforts to incorporate the latest technology into my daily life are often met with derision, mostly from my daughter Casey. I’ll do things like use my iPhone to take a video of our puppy, only to be unable to locate the video afterward. “I know I took it,” I’ll tell Casey, and then proudly add, “I even remembered to hold the phone horizontally.” To which Casey will reply, with her customary dad-is-such-an-idiot eye roll, “Oh, give me the friggin’ phone,” and find the video in a nanosecond.

(Frankly, I considered myself fortunate that nobody called me while I was taking the video. I nefermight have panicked and dropped the phone. On the puppy.)

Anyway, this post isn’t about any of that.

You see, I’ve decided that, if I can’t keep up with technology, I’m going to stay up-to-date on something I can keep up with. Like stuff that happened 3,300 years ago. I’m speaking specifically now about the very latest happenings in the life of Queen Nefertiti, who died around 1300 BC, possibly from neck injuries caused by the wearing of enormous headpieces.

Well, big news: she’s still dead!

However, Fox News reports that her burial site may have been found. Fox News is excited about this, because they want to exhume her and prop her up during the next Republican debate, possibly replacing Lindsey Graham, who is somewhat less animated.

tutThe weird thing about Nefertiti’s final resting place is its location. Evidently, it’s behind the final resting place of Tutankhamen, most famous for a hit song by Steve Martin.

Now, when I say “behind,” I don’t mean in a separate building in the parking lot in back of King Tut’s tomb. I mean behind a secret door in King Tut’s tomb.

Of course, the Tut tomb was discovered in 1922 (there I am, staying up-to-date again) by Howard Carter. And it’s difficult to imagine how he, and all the other archaeologists who have been to the site since (not to mention about a thousand tourists a day) managed to miss tutcarterbw[1]this door.

When asked about this, the discoverer of the door, Dr. Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona, said “Howard Carter was a nincompoop.”

Hah. Just a little archaeology humor there. Reeves said he discovered not one but two bricked-up “ghosts” of doorways after examining digital scans of the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb. He believes one of the doorways leads to a little-used storeroom, but the other leads to “the undisturbed burial of the tomb’s rightful owner.”  That would be Nefertiti.

I find that shocking, don’t you? A “little-used storeroom?” What–the ancient Egyptians put cleaning supplies in there? A few cases of Power Bars? Extra mummy wrapping? Near-empty paint cans? What the hell would they have had to store? It wasn’t like the occupants were likely to need anything additional going forward. (continued below photo)


Reeves thinks that Nefertiti’s tomb came first, and that Tut’s tomb was added later, similar to that mud room you built onto your house, only, instead of mud and other schmutz, this had a sarcophagus and lots of gold things. Reeves has two reasons to think this, besides the old boots and the umbrella stand by the front door of the tomb. According to the article:

“For one thing, the size of Tutankhamun’s tomb is smaller than those of other Egyptian kings. Second, as Reeves writes, many of the artifacts that have enraptured millions of museum visitors around the world are largely second-hand, having been recycled from earlier burials.”

So, to recap:

diagramNefertiti dies, and Egypt hires Slave Union 436, Local 12 to build a beautiful tomb for her, along with a separate room to store her pet cats or something. Then seven years later Tut dies and they go, “Meh,” and throw up an annex. Then they spend a few weekends visiting yard sales at all the other tombs in the area, and pick up some knick-knacks to toss in with Tut, along with some used shelving for the storage room and a small scarab that everyone thinks is ugly but, what the heck, it was only a couple of deben.*

Or, as many archaeologists believe, Nefertiti was buried about 250 miles away in Armana, the city established by her husband, who went on to be a luxury clothing designer.

Or something.

See you soon.

*This was the currency of the time, which I actually endeavored to look up. A deben was vintage-egyptian-scarab-necklace[1]a unit of weight, roughly 3.17 ounces and, when used as currency, it was the value of that weight in copper, silver or gold. So, if they used two copper deben to buy the scarab, it cost about $1.12 at today’s exchange rate. If they used silver or gold deben, they should have haggled a lot more.

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