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Undisturbed Tomb found in the Valley of the Kings 184

akahige writes "Hot on the heels of the recent news about the death of King Tut comes a new story about the discovery of an unlooted and previously unopened 18th Dynasty tomb in the Valley of the Kings. American archaeologists found five mummies resting in sarcophagi, funerary masks, and coptic storage jars. It is the first such discovery since Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922."
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Undisturbed Tomb found in the Valley of the Kings

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  • Nice (Score:1, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 )
    It's nice to know there are still undiscovered troves of rich history out there waiting to be found.

    • Imagine yourself in the year 5000 AD. You are an archeologist and you discover a grave 3000 years old with some signs on it which make you believe he buried one practiced the old Christian religion. What do you do? the tomb in the interest of science, but with no respect to the dead one or his lost religion 2.leave the tomb unopen and the mystery at a grasp of a hand 3.hide everything and hope that for an other 3000 years no one will find that grave
      • Re:Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Saturday February 11, 2006 @06:06AM (#14693525) Journal
        I open the tomb and see what's inside.

        My respect for the dead (providing that I actually find one in a Christian tomb) will be shown in the fact that I will try to find out about him and his long-forgotten god will make some kind of a note about it.

        The only kind of respect you (or at least, I) can pay to any dead is remembrance. Everything else is just prejudice, taboo and show.

        I mean, you defeat your argument in the very second sentence, and I quote: "You are an archaeologist (...)"
        If an archaeologist found an intact grave, he will bloody well look what's inside; he had probably been waiting his entire life for that opportunity.

        • Re:Nice (Score:4, Insightful)

          by EtherealStrife ( 724374 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @09:06AM (#14693864)
          I mean, you defeat your argument in the very second sentence, and I quote: "You are an archaeologist (...)" If an archaeologist found an intact grave, he will bloody well look what's inside; he had probably been waiting his entire life for that opportunity.

          Not necessarily. Many sites are set aside and intentionally preserved for future archaeologists to excavate (with more advanced technology). The act of excavating destroys the site, so modern archaeologists will often forego instant gratification in the name of science.

          Some light reading for the doubtful/curious:

          That said, I'd have no issues with digging into a modern christian's tomb. Unfortunately modern man just doesn't have the skeletal robustness of earlier "models," so there wouldn't be much left of him/her to look at.
          Possessions on the other hand... :) I wonder how many years an ipod will hang in there...

        • Except there's the distinct possibility that we've kept enough great records that opening one of our "tombs" would serve no purpose.

          Really... what are these people doing now? Isn't this really just grave robbing in the name of "science?" I mean, what more are we really going to learn, here?
          • It's quite possible that by 2100 there won't be any permanent paper record of human history, which means that in the event of a civilization-wide catastrophe we certainly won't have anything left for future generations....
      • Any archeologists today worth their salt who discover old (Medieval) Christian burials will open them, learn about the person, then make sure they are properly re-interred.
    • True. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Saturday February 11, 2006 @04:59AM (#14693400) Homepage Journal
      They could improve on the techniques, though. Throwing out rubble??? Most of that "rubble" was described as having been put there only 100 years after the tombs were dug. That means there may well have been valuable archaeological data in that "trash".

      (This style of archaeology was common in Victorian times, when the only "important" things were trinkets and other artifacts. Bones - especially animal bones - were often just ignored as unimportant. In consequence, a lot of what is now considered "essential data" to an archaeologist is lost forever. Egyptology, from the sounds of it, is still back in those Victorian days.)

      Other posters wondered why they didn't use X-Rays, etc. Ground penetrating radar is great and invaluable as a tool, but it's only good for a few feet at most. Where there's a lot of rubble sending back fractured images, it would be next to useless even for that small distance. The recent discoveries in Worcester Cathedral (such as the tomb of Edward the Confessor and several mysterious underground chambers) were done using GPR.

      This certainly required excavation, but it was evidently done in a manner that was ham-fisted and incompetent. How do I know that? Because they're already in the chamber AND already drawing conclusions from pathetically little data.

      A careful, thorough site study would have taken considerably longer, obtained much more data, caused far less disruption, need not have "robbed" anything (all you need is information, not objects - the objects are merely that which carries the information you're wanting), drawn far fewer conclusions yet - once fully analyzed - been vastly superior.

      I don't agree that archaeology is "grave robbing" - we are quite capable of taking portable labs to the site to conduct all the analysis you could ever want, so the idea of actually taking objects is unnecessary. It has nothing to do with the studies or science in question.

      I will make one exception. If you're using imaging techniques, like the ones used to get Archimedes writings off a palimset by using a particle accelerator and X-Ray fluorescence, you're not going to be able to lug a linear accelerator into these small chambers. By and large, though, that kind of work is unusual. Although there are many damaged ancient manuscripts, I know of no other read by this method.

      By and large, you're doing routine work that involves precise measurement and precise imaging. For organic remains, you might want to use DNA testing. A pair of ultra-sterile tweezers and a 100% airtight, sterile, DNA-preserving sample tube should be sufficient.

      I believe that much of the degredation recently noted for King Tut during his MRI scans was caused by exposure to modern contamination and slap-dash handling. I believe that was 100% avoidable.

      I don't believe in avoiding damage out of respect for a person who died 3,000 years ago. They're past caring. Their civilization is past caring. This does NOT equate to having no respect at all - respect is important, but it is the person who deserves the respect, not organically-deposited lumps of calcium and phospherous. Likewise, true respect for an artifact comes from respecting the care, skill and artistic "personality" placed upon it, not from any copper, iron or gold atoms that may be attached.

      Further, I do believe in avoiding damage out of respect for history. You've only got one history - you can't take it to WalMarts and get a replacement if you damage it. I also believe in avoiding damage out of respect of the future - they've a right to learn, too. We should not deprive them of that, out of greed or negligence.

      Many monuments in England have been destroyed to make way for roads, or to be used as construction material. Laws in Greece requiring archaeological surveys before construction are routinely ignored, with untold masses of knowledge wantonly destroyed as a matter of course. Do I like that? No. Wanton destruction, in

      • Re:True. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Slarty ( 11126 )
        Are YOU an archaeologist? You seem to know some history, sure, but cut the people some slack. This is a very very important discovery in the land of Egyptology, and believe me, they know that. They get to publish their findings and be subjected to the gauntlet of peer review, from peers who know a whole lot more about how to handle these things than you do. I'm not saying they're doing everything perfectly, but I'd be wary of condemning the entire team as "ham-fisted and incompetent" based on a frickin' MSN
        • Re:True. (Score:3, Insightful)

          Yes, it's a very important discovery, but unless the site is in threat of destruction or degradation, there's really no reason that scientists couldn't take a slow approach, as the grandparent suggests. I grow tired of hasty 'scientists' apparently badly in need of their tenure and under 'publish or perish' threats bulling their way into any body of perisible evidence there is and ripping it up to fill their needs.

          Remember, the thing that makes this site 'valuable to science' is that the ham-handed 'scient
        • I'll accept that your sister is probably doing a good job out there, and as it's not every grad student that gets to be involved in a major discovery, I see no reason for you to feel anything but pride in her work.

          That, however, is as far as I'm willing to compromise. Archaeology is a field with too many slap-dash methods, sometimes caused by massive underfunding, sometimes caused by horrific time pressures, but usually caused by recklessness. It's often possible to identify which is the case. In the town I

      • Be fair... (Score:3, Informative)

        by aug24 ( 38229 )
        I think you're being overly harsh on the diggers.

        They found the shaft last year, after they had found and dug the workmen's huts, and they haven't entered the tomb, they've opened a small space in the blocked door and looked inside.

        But I only RTFA, what do I know.

      • They could improve on the techniques, though. Throwing out rubble??? Most of that "rubble" was described as having been put there only 100 years after the tombs were dug. That means there may well have been valuable archaeological data in that "trash".

        Granted, there was a time when exactly that would have been done. By 1900 or so, almost any proper archeologist would have had every basket of fill labeled to keep track of where the fill came from, then sifted, looking for minor artifacts. I find it hard

  • by flogic42 ( 948616 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:14AM (#14693160) Homepage
    ...welcome our new linen-wrapped overlords.
  • cool.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:14AM (#14693161)
    so the go'auld missed one, eh?
    • Re:cool.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by cammoblammo ( 774120 )
      Maybe, maybe not. When archaeologists go missing or die in freak accidents and pyramids start flying we'll know for sure.
      • Re:cool.. (Score:5, Funny)

        by EngMedic ( 604629 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @04:26AM (#14693327) Homepage
        provided that the pyramids (also known as "time capacitors") don't get too large, rotate the R^4 field the Old Kingdom exists in by 90 degrees and vanish into nothingness, leaving only mathematically inclined camels to figure it out - sure, great!

        Otherwise, better check the Assasin's Guild for help.
    • Re:cool.. (Score:3, Funny)

      by AndroidCat ( 229562 )
      That's where SG-1 dropped the ZPM. The one that they never had to go back for after all, and encounter the geekazoid versions of SG-1.

      Check O'Neil's pond for fish.

  • by Dan Guisinger ( 15506 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:20AM (#14693173) Homepage
    "Hot on the heels of the recent news about the death of King Tut"

    ??? What?

    I must have missed it. King Tut died? When!?

  • Oh just great. How much linen to open up THIS one?
  • Radar shortcomings (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lifeisgreat ( 947143 )
    I'm wondering why a thorough surveying of the valley with radar/sonar hasn't been performed. Or has it? The best reference for tomb-finding via radar was the no. 1 google hit [] for "radar valley kings", indicating that a rather large tomb was located thanks to ground-penetrating radar.

    Is the technology itself just really underwhelming when it comes to below-ground imaging? I'd assume so, but then perhaps the valley itself is just too great an area to survey accurately.

    Anyway.. I want more gold-filled t

    • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )
      Yea, GPR isn't a magic bullet for this stuff because of soil variations, rubble, etc. Kind of like how differences in the water can effect SONAR.

      Here is an ugly site that seems to have some interesting stuff about GPR []

      "Depth of investigation varies from less than one meter in mineralogical clay soils like montmorillonite to more than 5,400 meters in polar ice. Depth of investigation increases with decreasing frequency but with decreasing resolution. Typical depths of investigation in f
    • Reminds me of a recent story on, where a tunnel under the US-Mexico border was found []. The linked article doesn't specifically mention it, but I'm sure the original article mentioned finding it using some sort-of below-ground radar. Google news has a whole lot of articles if you search for "mexico tunnel".
    • Rubble. Lots of these graves, once closed up, were buried under intentional landslides, to make sure gravediggers didn't find them or at least give them a hard time to get acces to them. Which seemed not have worked for most, given the fact most of them were obviously visited several times during the centuries by gravediggers... Victorian archeologists/antiquairs just went looking around for landslides that looked out of place, the gravedigggers of old probably too, heh. That big pile of rubble makes it all
  • The Curse! (Score:5, Funny)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:22AM (#14693179)
    "an /unlooted/ ...18th Dynasty tomb"

    Until now.

    That's my great great great great great *breathe* great great great granddad. It's a sad day when grave robbing is a profession. You shall reap what you sow. There's a curse been put upon that dig, and whoever disturbs the bones shall have "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats playing forever in his or her head until the end of days.

    You have been warned.

    • Is that all? I could handle that curse, maybe I'll offer to loot the tomb for them. The people who have to listen to me tunelessly whistling along day in and day out might be another story, though..
      • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @04:23AM (#14693322)
        S-s-s-s A-a-a-a F-f-f-f E-e-e-e T-t-t-t Y-y-y-y
        Safety, troll!

        I can troll if I want to
        I can leave your posts behind
        'Cause your posts don't troll and if they don't troll
        Well they're no posts of mine
        I say, we can troll where we want to
        A goatse they can always find
        And I can act like we come from the GNAA
        Leave the moderations far behind
        And we can troll.

        BMO - My Karma is "FABULOUS, DAHLING!"
    • "/unlooted/ ...Until now.

      Yea, it was bullshit. I was grouped with him, and rolled a 99, but he ninja'd.
    • Only if it includes all their Greatest Hats stuff. The Great Ones remember...
    • Worse than that. "Muskrat Ramble" by the Captain and Tennille.
    • the mere mention of safety dance has started a safety dance mp3 process in my head that seems to fork a new child when its finished. The worst part is I only know the homer simpson version
      you can dance you can dance everybody look at your pants.

      and the only way i know to stop those annoying stuck in your head songs is to eat 2 bacon sandwiches while walking up and down stairs.

      dont laugh about the bacon sandwich and stairs thing it really works.
    • You know, that dance wasn't as safe as they said it was.
    • Well, if you want to look at at politically, these "graves" as you call them are not of normal, everyday people. The artifacts and objects that the rulers at the time put in them were actually owned by the people of Egypt, and now that they're out from under the rule of incestuous defectives, they want their shit back.

      Your idea of "grave robbing" is like saying that when Reagan died, he buried half the Smithsonian with him and it's somehow wrong to get it back.

      The articles do not belong to the people t

      • And you so _totally_ need to get:

        1. An enema

        2. Sex

        3. Sleep

        4. Less caffeine

        and last, but definitely not least:

        5. A sense of humor.

        Wow...just wow. I never ever expected this sort of reply to what I posted in a lighthearted way. You, sir, are well on the way to a heart attack at 40.



  • breaking news! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:23AM (#14693181)
    A bit behind current news, aren't we? - this has been reported for two days now...
  • Hot on the heels of the recent news about the death of King Tut...

    Uhm, King Tut died a long time ago... A really, really long time ago...
  • by Cliffy03 ( 663924 ) * <> on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:30AM (#14693197)
    I hope someone remembers to check those "coptic storage jars" for Gao'uld symbiotes.
  • Great.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by zakarria ( 948686 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:34AM (#14693201)
    Previously undiscovered, unlooted tomb, discovered and looted! W00t!
  • Wikipedia (Score:2, Informative)

    by adriantam ( 566025 )
    This is a slashdot article with almost all the links are linking to wikipedia articles!
    • This is a slashdot article with almost all the links are linking to wikipedia articles!

      Well, considering that most comments come with Wikipedia links nowadays, I'd say it's a good match.
  • by Crouty ( 912387 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @03:56AM (#14693255)
    In other news today:

    SCO claimed ownership of the tomb. They could not find any evidence in their own records but somewhere in the pharao's records must be a proof....

  • So when do we hear the news reports of five previously undisturbed mummies running amuck in downtown Cairo?
  • ...How much DOES an Egyptian Urn?
  • Tomb Building (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Detritus ( 11846 )
    How would you build an Egyptian tomb with today's knowledge? There's still no shortage of thieves who would be willing to break in and steal any valuable items. I'd start with dumping a few kilos of weapons grade anthrax spores on the floor of the burial chamber.
    • Not a clue, but Jimmy Hoffa's in it.
    • Re:Tomb Building (Score:3, Interesting)

      The old fashioned way, with misinformation of course! With all the information that flies at you in a day, how often can you actually check out the source of that info? Or it's reliability. Just flood the net with rumors while keeping the actual knowledge down to as few people as possible.
    • Re:Tomb Building (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )
      Burial chamber made out of granite walls with some steel sheets between the granite layers. A nice dark granite, something from Spain maybe. Floor would be granite as well, polished smooth and then buffed so it's extra smooth, then covered with a couple thousand little ball bearing, just to mess with people walking in. There needs to be a mechanism so that after the tomb is breeched aerosol anthrax is delivered into the tomb, not sure of a power source to run this system, perhaps a RTG running off an isotop
    • Put it downtown, instead of in the middle of the desert, and inscribe a curse over the door that curses the city, intead of the grave robber, if it is violated.
    • "How would you build an Egyptian tomb with today's knowledge?"

      By not building it, of course.

      "There's still no shortage of thieves who would be willing to break in and steal any valuable items"

      Still, I'd bet Lincoln's tomb remains undisturbed doesn't it?

      But I disgress; I'm Spanish, and we (disgracefully) have one of the best current tries for a "modern pyramid": Franco []'s burial monument at "Valle de Los Caídos" [] (Valley of the Fallen) "the most colossal architecture work built in Europe in the 20

  • now taking bets on how soon the archeologists start dropping dead
  • by d474 ( 695126 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @04:59AM (#14693399)
    "American archaeologists found five mummies resting in sarcophagi, funerary masks, and coptic storage jars..." and then they found a stargate and sent an elite commando team through the worm hole and they got lost.... *yAwn*
  • Mad rush!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) * on Saturday February 11, 2006 @05:15AM (#14693432) Homepage
    An undisturbed tomb? Quick! Let's disturb it!
  • ... a team from Memphis, Tennessee, finds a grave near Memphis, Egypt.
  • grave robbers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @07:31AM (#14693648) Journal
    What's with some slashdotters criticizing the excavation of this tomb as 'graverobbing'?

    What a dumb thing to criticize! Of course it's not grave robbing...whatever they find will be used for science/history, just like Tut's stuff.

    it's not like this guy is going to auction off what he finds in the tomb...

    just more /. counterpoint cabal bs...
  • Mummie, come back! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @09:38AM (#14693938)
    This modern attitude about mummies is really different. Back a few centuries ago, Egypt was apparently just swarming with mummies all over the place. So many that for a while they were being used as steam locomotive fuel.

    I imagine they got pretty blase about tossing mummies into the firebox.:

    Aw shucks, this load is mostly skinny servants, we'll be lucky to get one MPM (mile per mummy) from these.

    • No they didn't [].
      • Okay, so that may have been an old exaggeration. Bu tin the same fine cecil article, even better and better documented tidbits: All that having been said, a couple points need to be made. First, Egyptian mummies really were--and are--available by the truckload. Originally reserved for the upper classes, mummification eventually became popular with the proles; by modern times, mummies numbered in the millions. A single burial ground discovered not long ago is thought to contain 10,000. Second, mummies real
  • Coptic? (Score:3, Informative)

    by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Saturday February 11, 2006 @01:38PM (#14694917) Homepage
    Coptic is the wrong term. The correct term is "Canopic jars" [].

    Intact tombs are indeed rare, and I have posted the other day on why King Tut became famous in the last century despite him being a minor figure in history, and why undisturbed tombs are a rarity. You can read it at this Slashdot comment [].

I've got a bad feeling about this.