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By Julie Hankey

This compelling biography of Arthur Weigall, the British Egyptologist and leader Inspector of Antiquities, chronicles his involvement with the invention of Tutankhamun's tomb less than Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. Weigall got here into clash with Carter and Carnarvon over newspaper reporting of the recognized locate. His feedback to the click in the course of that point resulted in the notorious tale of the Curse of the Pharaohs. This biography brings to lifestyles the ambience, intrigue, and extreme pageant in Egypt through the first sector of the twentieth century.

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Extra resources for A Passion for Egypt: Arthur Weigall, Tutankhamun and the 'Curse of the Pharaohs'

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His hermit life suited him for he found the work absorbing, and an inspiration for other kinds of writing. After two seasons there his brain was teeming with literary projects: in one letter he mentions plans for a collection of essays on Egyptian subjects, a diary-like account of life in the desert, even an Egyptian novel, and a book of short stories. None of these are certainly identifiable among the things he published later, but they show how close the scholarly and imaginative sides of him always lay.

25 Chapter 4 Egypt ‘like a house on fire’ 1901–1904 Matthew William Flinders Petrie was the first exponent of scientific method in archaeology. 1 This method, taken for granted now, was not prevalent in the nineteenth century, nor at the beginning of the twentieth, and in Egypt, with its tradition of treasure hunting, less than anywhere. The idea that the history of a site lay as much in its sherds and rubbish as in anything more glamorous was not understood. Egyptian scholarship, led by the French, had had huge successes in deciphering the language, but the science of deciphering the ground had been neglected.

Thus, suddenly, Weigall found himself in charge of 50 men, with a spade in his hand – Petrie believed strongly that the archaeologist should roll up his sleeves alongside the labourers. The site lay at the base of limestone cliffs, an expanse of sand marked by four artificial mounds, ruins of some kind. To the west of these, a brick wall was soon noticed, the boundary of a courtyard or hosh, running up against the southern cliffs. Immediately the number of men was doubled, an army of village boys was drafted in to carry away the sand and rubbish, and gradually a rectangle of walls, eight or nine feet broad, was revealed, with a shallow stairway leading between the remains of storage chambers, via a causeway and a platform, up to an entrance.

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