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Indiana Jones Speaks

The King Tut exhibit opens this Saturday. In its honor, the university’s museum hosted a lecture tonight by Dr. Zahi Hawass (link included for the sake of completeness, be aware it has a lot of exclamation points). This guy is quite possibly the closest thing to Indiana Jones in real life– without the Nazis– but a more entertaining lecturer than the Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford.

The auditorium was packed to the gills and I was happy enough to sit in the back. Those present were a mix of students, families with kids, and wealthy older couples. Every single one listened, rapt, throughout the hour that he lectured. He’s very good at what he does and at telling us about it.

He gave a synopsis on recent finds like the Golden Mummies, how he and his team had to dig down beneath existing dwellings to unearth unspoiled tombs of governors and their wives. We heard about the latest at the Valley of the Kings and the hunt to find Hatshepsut’s mummy. He hinted at a big announcement coming from National Geographic in May. He couldn’t tell. He told us about how he thinks the real burial chamber may be still hidden inside the Great Pyramid and the chamber we know of is nothing more than a dummy, a red herring. Wouldn’t that be something? To find an important king’s burial chamber intact? It would make Howard Carter and Tut a small asterisk. Maybe then terrorism, Dudya’ ineptitude, and Iraq would be off the front page for a while. Finally, of course, he spoke about King Tut, since his lecture was supposed to dovetail with the exhibit that opens Saturday with fanfare. He showed us the CT scans he had taken of the mummy and noted the damage Carter’s eagerness had done.

He very clearly loves his work and loves talking about it. He makes it looks exciting, rappeling down stone shafts with nothing but a flashlight and hope. He bought Bill Gates lunch. A poor woman with barely enough to keep flesh and soul together insists he have breakfast with her every morning he visits that particular dig. He estimates 70% of ancient buildings are still covered by the sands of the Egyptian desert. He handpicked the pieces that are in the Tut exhibit on their journey out of Cairo and into the United States. He loves his job. That’s the most inspiring part.

In Other News:

  • I got written up today for forgetting to swipe twice in one pay period. One of the incidents was when I forgot my ID at home. I feel valued.
  • Molly Ivins died a couple of days ago. I heard her lecture at the main library a couple of years ago. She’s missed.
  • I love Devotchka’s Curse Your Little Heart.

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