Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mum’s the Word

Tonight I watched Nova’s “The Mummy Who Would Be King.” Fascinating television.

It explores the issue of identity with a mummy housed unnoticed for decades in a curiosity parlor. Basically, it ends up trying to prove that the mummy is that of the “lost” Rameses I. It does this pretty well. Most convincing is not the array of scientific tests, but the job of tracing backward through history the various hands that held the mummy… right to Rameses’ last known resting place.

In the end, the program brought in Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and one of the most famous living Egyptologists. His confirmation was supposed to be a climactic triumph.

All I could think about was how I’d seen Dr. Hawass live on TV a few years back claiming that the pyramids had not been built by slave labor—Oh no, that’s just a huge misconception. One can tell just by looking at a pyramid that it was constructed by great labor of love.
Well, people whitewash things even at the top. Or, more likely, they get to top by whitewashing things.

No matter, I still think the stiff is Rameses I.

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