The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 17, 1995 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, May 17, 1995
Page 12
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A12 Wednesday, May 17.1995 The Salina Journal Pharaoh's tomb is oldest, biggest found King Tut's tomb is nothing next to the 67-chamber tomb for Ramses H's 50 sons By SALAH NASRAWI The Associated Pr«ss C AIRO, Egypt — Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,200-year-old tomb for the sons of the powerful Pharaoh Ramses II, possibly the biggest burial chamber ever discovered in Egypt. The site includes tombs for 50 of Ramses' 52 sons, and was uncovered by American and Egyptian archaeologists in the Valley of the Kings — the resting place of Tutankhamun. Archaeologists found 67 chambers dating back to Ramses, who ruled during Egypt's zenith of political and military clout from 1290 B.C. to 1224 B.C., Abdel-Halim Noureddin, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Monday. He said there are probably more. "Possibly, this is the biggest discovery in Egypt so far," he said. The team, led by Kent Weeks, a professor at the American University in Cairo, found the tomb in 1987 but discovered its size only recently. "If King Tut's tomb were the size of a matchbox, most royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings would be in comparison the size of about a telephone book, and our tomb is about the size of a coffee table you can put that matchbook and telephone book on top of," Weeks said in Seattle, where he was visiting relatives. No one is believed to have set foot inside the tomb for more than 2,000 years. The tomb has a long passageway with 20 rooms. At the end is a statue of the goddess Osiris. Two other passageways then Tomb of the sons of Ramses II found branch off, each with 20 rooms, and end in two stairways leading to other passages. Weeks said the small rooms may be chapels to the pharaoh's sons, with their actual tombs on an unexcavated lower level. If so, there may be 100 or more chambers. "There is no other tomb like this anywhere in Egypt — not in plan, not in size and not in function, " Weeks said. "We don't know anything about the children of most of Egypt's rulers. Here we have, apparently, Ramses II making a family mausoleum for all his sons." The names of the pharaoh and his sons are inscribed on the walls, which were cut from the valley's limestone sides. Work on the walls was marked by an "unusual architectural and astronomical design," Noureddin said. The tomb contained fragments of pottery and ceramics, but unlike Tutankhamun's tomb, no treasures or mummies were found. The tomb was hidden in sands for centuries but periodic flash floods that sweep through the southern Nile Valley partially unearthed it. Several 19th century travelers spotted the entrance, but tunneled only a few meters into the first chambers. At least three years of restoration work will be required before the tomb will be open to the public, Noureddin said. The Valley of the Kings is a deep cleft in limestone hills with sheer walls near the southern city of Luxor. The region was favored as a AP -> Photo courtesy of Kent Weeks This recent photo by Kent Weeks, who heads the archaeological team that discovered the tomb, shows a passageway in the tomb. The burial site was covered by sand for years and is believed to be the largest burial chamber in Egypt. burial ground for rulers, royals and hundreds of officials of the New Kingdom, which lasted from 1550 B.C. to 1070 B.C. Ramses' reign saw the construction of more buildings and more colossal statues than any other Egyptian king. He is traditionally considered the pharaoh at the time of the Exodus of the Israelites, who, according to the Bible, were freed after God struck down the Egyptians' firstborn sons. 'Ramses' first-born son, Amon-her-khepeshef, is among those buried at the site, Weeks said. Two of Ramses' sons are believed to be buried elsewhere. Merneptah's tomb has been unearthed, and Khaemwese is believed to be buried south of the Pyramids of Giza. Mitterrand ends reign in France President had vision of united Europe By Th» Associated Pr«»* PARIS — Francois Mitterrand leaves office Wednesday as the longest serving president of France, taking with him a wealth of secrets and leaving a legacy rich in controversy. Passing the mantle to conservative President-elect Jacques Chirac, Mitterrand closes a 14- year period of Socialist rule that ultimately defied the party mold. It became the Mitterrand era, and he espoused a notion of French grandeur that even enemies admired. Waging a battle against prostate cancer, Mitterrand, 78, retires amid an outpouring of attempts to unlock his mystique. The dark silhouette of Mitter- rand's trademark fedora and overcoat came to epitomize his solitude and secrets. In the public eye for more than half a century, he eluded familiarity. Mitterrand is "an immense and complex personality," National Assembly speaker Philippe Seguin, a Chirac loyalist, said this week. "One of the greats of the century is going." Changes during Mitterrand's presidency include abolishing the death penalty, decentralizing government, a shorter work week and longer vacations. The numerous architectural projects he sponsored altered the face of Paris. But. Mitterrand considers his paramount bequest to be the vision of a united Europe that he and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany polished and promoted. True to form, Mitterrand ignited controversy in a last farewell to Europe during a speech in Berlin on May 8 to celebrate the Allied victory in World War II. Calling German soldiers courageous, he said they "loved their country" despite the "bad cause" they fought for. Some denounced the speech. Others said it was Mitterrand's finest hour. "I have rarely been so moved by a political discourse," Jean d'Ormesson, a member of the prestigious Academic Francaise and critic of Mitterrand's policies, wrote in Le Figaro newspaper. "He was France, he was Europe, he was the reconciliation ... between France and Germany, he was the voice of peace, justice and truth." Pope: War's horror still not learned By Th» Associated Pr«ss VATICAN CITY — In a somber message to world leaders, Pope John Paul II warned that a "culture of war" threatens the destruction of mankind because it has failed to learn the "bitter, lessons" of World War II. "Sadly, the end of the war did not lead to the disappearance of the policies and ideologies which were its cause," John Paul said in a message released Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of V-E Day. "Arms are still roaring and human blood continues to be shed" in Europe, where wars are being fought in the Balkans and the Caucasus, the pope said. The document was in many ways an anguished revisiting of World War II, which started when John Paul was 19 with the Nazi invasion of his native Poland in 1939. The pope recalled his 1979 visit to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, calling it a "horribly eloquent symbol of the effects of totalitarianism." But despite such reminders, he said, mankind has failed "to draw from its bitter lesson the necessary conclusions for the whole continent of Europe." Even calmer parts of the world show a continued readiness to resolve conflicts by force. The result is a "culture of war," John Paul said, with "bleak consequences of death, hatred and violence." John Paul urged stricter guidelines for nuclear nonproliferation and for the elimination of chemical and biological weapons. The atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima bore witness to the "overwhelming horror and suffering caused by war," said the Roman Catholic pontiff, recalling his visit to the latter city in 1981. 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