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Questions about Egypt

Who robbed the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. How did they do this, and why?
   Jamie, Web Post

Dr. dig responds:
The ancient Egyptians were buried with precious objects because they believed that they would use them in the afterlife. Poor people were buried with very little; rich people, including kings, were buried with a great deal. As a result, the rich graves and tombs were targeted by the thieves. However, only the burial of King Tutankhamen has survived more or less intact; that is because the royal burials attracted thieves from almost the day after the funeral. How the robbers gained entrance depended on the type of tomb. The Old Kingdom kings were buried in pyramids; the New Kingdom kings in rock-cut tombs. Robbers would attempt to locate the sealed entrance and then tunnel their way along the passage that led toward the burial chamber and that had been blocked by the tomb builders. In many cases, the tomb builders were the robbers. They were experienced stoneworkers using stoneworkers' tools, and they knew exactly what they were doing. They took goods that could be dragged through the narrow hole out of the tomb and that could be re-cycled and sold without raising too many questions. Those who were caught robbing the royal tombs faced a nasty death by impaling on a stake.


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