In ancient Egypt, the body was considered a sacred vessel even long after death. And so when the most revered members of society were placed in their final resting places, many priests were horrified to discover that the tombs were quickly invaded and the bodies within plundered. And so they hatched a conspiracy that would one day turn the field of archaeology on its head. Forget everything you know about mummies.
In the dead of night a group of men worked under the cover of darkness to break open the tomb of the recently deceased Pharoah. When they entered the ancient chamber they walked past the treasures buried alongside the now dead Pharoah and instead went straight to his sarcophagus and broke it open and grabbed the corpse. But these men were not robbers. They were priests. And their mission was not one of plunder, but preservation.
In 1881 an investigator looking into the recent case of ancient artifacts appearing in markets in Luxor found himself on the path of a hidden tomb that only one family knew of in Deir el Bahri. Sir Gaston Maspero was the name of the man who first suspected something was amiss. His assistant, Emil Brugsch was sent to investigate the incident personally. What they found when the torch light finally cascaded across the army of figures throughout the chamber was an army of mummies. But these were not just any mummies. These 38 figures were missing Pharoahs who had been secreted to the chamber to protect them from looters. Perhaps ironically, the tomb had been discovered by an affluent family and though it was plundered several times.
On the arms of each mummy were the names of the rulers alongside the original locations the mummies had been taken from around 1500 B.C. The discovery was one of the most bizarre of its kind for several decades.
And now when artifacts in Cairo have been reported missing, the investigation continues. But we don’t always know which of the artifacts were the genuine article. It seems theft was a fact of life in ancient Egypt just as much as it is today. And so is it possible there could be a similar group of people intending to look over the artifacts and belongings of this ancient dynasty while convincing replicas are put on display for the public during unsure times of political upheaval?
If it were the case, this group of people would certainly be following the tradition of the ancient priests to make sure the remains were well taken care of. And how impossible is it really that the occupation could be passed each generation for over three thousand years? And if this extreme action seems like an isolated incident for Egypt, 13 other Pharoahs were discovered in the tomb of Amenophis II. The vast multilayered conspiracy sounds like something straight out of a Dan Brown novel, but sometimes truth really is starnger than fiction.