zah-tabFor obvious reasons, the primary source for what is going on in Egyptology is the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and the voice of the SCA is Dr. Zahi Hawass.  Some exciting things have been promised (or at least dangled before us!) for the 2009/10 excavation season, but not everything on the radar is being dug out of the ground.  There are mummy forensic studies, DNA tests, and the repatriation of artifacts, all of which play a role in Egyptology.

Dr. Hawass has promised, hinted, and suggested that October 2009 is going to be a particularly active month.  Just for fun, let’s make a checklist…


Nefertiti_berlinNefertiti’s Bust

Dr. Hawass has stated that the evidence that Ludwig Borchardt used “unethical tactics” to acquire the bust of Nefertiti for Germany will be publicly revealed this October when he writes to the Altes Museum in Berlin to request the iconic artifact be returned to Egypt.

Source:  Exclusive Interview: Dr Zahi Hawass in Indianapolis

dna-tabTutankhamun’s Paternity Tests

The results of DNA tests conducted on a mummified fetus recovered from Tut’s tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 will be announced.

Source:  The Sacramento Bee:  Spotlight on Exhibits [story no longer available]



Dr. Hawass expressed at a lecture in Indianapolis on August 7th, 2009, that a new tomb will hopefully be revealed by the all-Egyptian team in October. 

Source:  Lecture Review: Zahi Hawass’ Mysteries of King Tut Revealed


dedtut-tabThe Cause of Tutankhamun’s Death

The cause of Tutankhamun’s death would be revealed “in one month”.  This statement was made on August 7th.  As it hasn’t occurred yet, hoping for this rather tantalizing tidbit to be delivered in October is not too unreasonable!

Source:  Lecture Review: Zahi Hawass’ Mysteries of King Tut Revealed

zahtv-tabZahi Reality TV

This is another one that might be a stretch, but it is in print, sort of.  Work is to begin “roughly October 2009” on a History Channel television show where Dr. Hawass will travel with a small team of students to a variety of sites in Egypt.

Source:  New TV show with Dr Zahi Hawass – Archaeologists Wanted

So there you have it—five things to look forward to in October!  I think that obviously KV64 and the DNA results are the most important for Egyptology, but the cause of Tut’s death and the repatriation of Nefertiti’s bust are far from insignificant. 

As for the TV show..  I don’t know.  Maybe if they spice it up a bit.  Each week our intrepid young Egyptologists should have to justify their worthiness, and the least convincing gets voted off the show.  At the end of the season the winner gets to keep Nefertiti’s bust.


Copyright by Keith Payne, 2009.  All rights reserved.

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6 comments so far


I understand why Hawass has kept mum concerning KV64. If it turns out this is spectacularly more significant to Egyptology than KV62, this would be the biggest find in Egyptian archaeology. Take that, French, German, Italian, and American counterparts!

Fake or not, fragile or not, the Altes Museum should relinguish Nefertiti’s bust to Egypt. If archaeologists can move mummies around the world (far more fragile than Nefertiti, I think), they can move her back home. WWII, Nazi Germany, and a confusing chain of evidence, shouldn’t be excuses to keep the artifact in Berlin.

Hmph. I don’t see very many museums giving up their Egyptian collections, including the Oriental Institute and the Field Museum (the latter does have a collection of fakes, though). Perhaps those artifacts aren’t iconic or significant enough to Egyptian history to make Dr. Hawass want them back.

September 26th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Hey Jenny!

To your list of museums unwilling to give up their Egyptian collections, I would add the St. Louis Art Museum, which seems especially reluctant to give up the burial mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer, which was acquired under circumstances at least as shadey as Nefertiti.

And regarding the fragility argument for not returning Nefertiti, I have to say that I am unconvinced. Maybe someone here with more expertise can set me straight, but it just doesn’t add up that an artifact that could be discovered in such pristine condition after being exposed to the elements for millenia could become so fragile after less than a century of preservation in a controlled environment.

If the museum is such a toxic environment, then maybe the Altes should attenmpt to replicate the environment in which she was found!

Wasn’t it Petrie who once quipped “Museums are dangerous places”?

September 27th, 2009 at 11:10 am
Jan Bailey

I would like to remind you of the other proclamations made by Hawass that all turned out to be smoke and mirrors.
KV63 is the tomb of Kiya. No proof found!
The tomb of Ramesses VIII found. Not yet!
An unknown Queen Weret revealed. No!
part of a title only, not even in a cartouche.
A Mummy Prison found. !!!!!!!! cemetery.
He hints that only one of the female babies
is the daughter of Tutankhamun, so that would be news. Have the results been verified independently though? As for KV64, has it indeed already been found, or is it just hopes of a find, resulting from the scans done by the Americans and the information provided to Hawass by the Englishman? An all Egyptian find!!!!! Ha.
To be fully excavated this season, before Hawass moves on, would mean a very, very rushed job. Jan

October 2nd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Hey Jan!

Now I know why you thought this post was missing.. You originally posted it to Dra Abu el-Naga: Ray Stole My Tomb, where I already responded to it!

A most worthy list, no doubt! But take heart, we are only on day 2 of October!

October 2nd, 2009 at 8:09 pm
sean stenzel

do you know what the hieroglifics are yet? or what they say.

October 15th, 2009 at 10:12 am

Hi again, Sean!

If you mean, Do we understand hieroglyphics in general, the answer is yes! There are Egytpologists who specialize in just that very thing. Sometimes there is disagreement on how to interpret what we are reading, and a lot of times we are trying to read fragments, so we can’t be 100% sure what the person who wrote it was originally trying to say. But yes, we do have a very good understanding of hieroglyphics now.

If you want to know how we learned how to read hieroglyphics, here is a great article from the British Museum’s website: The Rosetta Stone. It is written for young students such as yourself.

If you are asking about specific hieroglyphics you will need to give me a few more details! Which hieroglyphics are you talking about?

I hope this helps!

October 16th, 2009 at 6:19 pm

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