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The Lost Tomb: In 1995, An American Egyptologist Discovered The Burial Site Of The Sons Of Ramesses Ii--this Is His Paperback – November 9, 1999

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Working for the American university in Cairo in 1988, Kent Weeks embarked on an archeological dig into KV5, the sparsely explored fifth tomb in the Valley of the Kings, burial ground of Egypt's major Pharaohs. In 1995, he discovered the T-shaped burial complex of Ramses II's 50 sons--arguably the most significant discovery since Howard Carter unearthed King Tut's tomb in 1922. Weeks's account of this historic event is filled with a sense of awe and wonder. "[I]n my imagination," he writes, recalling a vision of the statue of Osiris, god of the afterlife, "I could see the ancient funerals that took place three thousand years ago. I could hear ancient priests chanting prayers and shaking tambourines ... I could smell incense and feel priestly robes brush my arm as the funeral procession moved slowly past. For an instant I felt transported back in time: it was 1275 BCE and this was ancient Thebes."

Weeks also points out what his discovery may tell us about the powerful, redhaired pharoah who ruled ancient Egypt for 67 years (1279-1212 BC), including the possibility that he was the pharaoh of Exodus. He elaborates upon his profession's risks, from excavations in narrow, debris-filled and claustraphobic surroundings to working under the gunfire of terrorist attacks. And he reminds us that his discovery by no means brings Egyptology to a conclusion: "Every generation of Egyptologists asks different questions of its data and data are a finite resource. We will leave parts of KV5 undug so that archeologists of the future, armed with new questions and new excavation techniques, can seek new answers to old questions and to others we haven't even dreamed of." --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In 1995, Weeks, a noted Egyptologist and professor at the American University in Cairo, and his archeological team discovered a tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings. Labeled KV5, it was hailed as the lost burial chamber of the sons of Ramesses II. Weeks's Egyptological leanings were a long time in coming. He starts by chronicling his childhood dreams and their eventual fulfillment some 10 years ago. By 1989, Weeks, his wife, Susan, and his team had been working in the Valley of the Kings for 10 years. Intrigued by so-called missing tombs of the Valley that had been only cursorily explored, Weeks decided to look for one in particular, KV5, which, if early maps were correct, was in the path of projected highway building. Using the journals and maps of two earlier explorers?James Burton, who first came to Luxor in 1825, and Howard Carter, noted for many discoveries, including that of King Tut's tomb (1922)?Weeks and his team began digging. Their search resulted in the discovery of the largest mausoleum in the area, which Weeks makes a convincing case for identifying as the burial site of Ramesses's sons. In the final chapters, Weeks provides readers with an introduction to the world of Ramesses II and the 18th and 19th dynasties, indicating the possibility of further finds in KV5 that would clarify aspects of ancient and biblical history. But most of all, by drawing on his diaries, Weeks gives a sense of immediacy in the reconstruction of a fascinating story that fully conveys the thrill of discovery after years of painstaking work. Color and b&w photos not seen by PW. 7-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688172245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688172244
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #796,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Jotz on August 17, 2000
I became interested in this book after reading a favorable review in the NY Times book review, and being new to Egyptology, I was pleased to find that Weeks did a remarkable job of providing plenty of background information on the Valley of the Kings, history of some of the Pharoes of Egypt, various explorers who have visited the area (and KV5) in the past, the people who have joined his crew on the exploration of KV5 and the effects of modern life on the condition of the tombs.
He does an excellent job of holding the narrative together, and I eagerly awaited each new page to see what (if anything), Weeks and his team would discover next. He made no attempt to hide his excitement with each new discovery (and disappointment into running into dead ends and other obstacles), and does a competent job in placing the reader alongside him in the tomb.
This is my first book on Egyptology, and both the seasoned Egyptologist and general reader will find this to be a fascinating tale of archaeology in action.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bettie on June 11, 2005
I thought this book was well imformed. Though it is not exactly a step by step work on the tomb KV 5 itself, it does give insight into the difficulties and emotions that one goes through during an excavation. It also makes valid points about the lack of conservation that the Egyptian officials have been willing to do. The building of the Dam destroyed so much, and it is well known that many of the floods that destroy tombs in the Valley of the Kings could be stopped if the Egyptian officals would devote the money to it. This book is good for anyone who is intrested in Egyptology causally.

And a note:

There have been a couple of reviews that have been quite negative, and I think without basis. Given, it is bad that one of the mummies in a picture is mis-marked, but that could be the editors fault. And the review came from a 'student' of Egyptology, who also happens to be in high school, and his/her claims presurpose that they know much more than Weeks.

I am in college and actually major in Egyptology. I know that indescrepancies occur, and this is because of different theories and interpretations that come from the translations of heiroglyphics.

Read the book and judge for yourself how good this book is!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Holy Olio on December 18, 2000
Weeks details not only his personal history with Egypt, but gives a pretty good overview of the current consensus about the New Kingdom. I found the description of KV5 and the various drawings of the Valley tombs to be the best part of the book.
This is part adventure story, with the understanding that the adventures are true. The book is worth reading for the amusing tale of the way in which the first comprehensive map of the Valley was begun using aerial photography.
Buy it, read it, enjoy it.
See also "The Murder of Tutankhamen" by Bob Brier
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I read this book when it first came out, unfortunately I hadn't taken the time to review it here at Amazon.
I appreciate the description on page
Page 72 of Weeks, Kent, THE LOST TOMB, as I have been in the tomb that is mentioned and I have made reference to it many times as photos are not enough:"Beyond these final corridors lies a pillard hall, then a vaulted burial chamber. The vaulted ceiling in the burial chamber is spectacular. It offers one of the best-preserved and most complete astronomical ceilings ever found in an Egyptian tomb. Instead of simply showing the sky goddess, Nut, swallowing the sun at evening and giving birth to it each morning or, even more simply, showing a geometric pattern of five-pointed stars, the ceiling give us a complex map of the northern hemisphere's night sky. Against a dark blue background, red stars are overlaid on figures that represent the constellations as the ancient Egyptians saw them. The figure of an ox represents Ursa Major; a man with arms out-stretched is Cygnus; a crocodile crawling atop a hippopotamus is Bootes; a running man is Orion. Especially prominent are the 'Imperishable Ones,' the circumpolar stars that fascinated the Egyptians because their heavens never changed. Aesthetically, the ceiling is a delight. It is also a scientific document and a statement of religious belief, an attempt to explain how the universe operates."
In the chapter KV5 Before and During the Reign of Ramesses II includes The Temple of Luxor on page 222 and he states: "Luxor a temple always excites visitors. Even in the last century, when it was still buried deep under the mounds of garbage,,,European travelers spoke of it in romantic terms..." and being there certainly gives confirmation of Weeks' statement!
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By Fatima Monteiro on January 18, 2001
I have been interested in Egyptology for quite a while and like most people have dreamed of going on a dig to discover a lost tomb. For me this has come true with Kent Weeks graphic representation of what he finds while unearthing the Sons of Ramesis tomb. The way he has written this book makes me feel like I am with him in the tomb. Every discovery he makes I can feel his excitement. In part this book is about the Theban Mapping Project and the problems he faces with the government and also about the lives of the workers who help him unearth this tomb. I have been to Egypt and have seen the Valley of the Kings. To me this book has brought back great memories of my trip there. THIS IS A VERY ENJOYABLE READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN EGYPTOLOGY.
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