Thursday, April 1, 2010

MUMMY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT FOUND IN ALEXANDRIA


[Our 2010 April Fools Post]


Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, today announced the discovery of what is “most probably” the mummy of Alexander the Great. “I know this is Alexander,” said Hawass. “I can feel it in my heart.”


Alexander, who drank himself to death at a young age, was preserved for 2 years after his death in Babylon, where he died. His body was then paraded through the eastern part of his empire to Alexandria, the city he founded in Egypt. Egyptian embalmers there mummified their king’s body as a traditional Egyptian pharaoh. Ptolemy I is reported to have kept Alexander’s mummy in Egypt, although the funeral procession was supposed to have continued throughout the empire on its way to Alexander’s homeland in Macedonia.


In 1995, a Greek team discovered what they thought was Alexander’s tomb in the Siwah oasis in Lybia. They had hoped to discover his mummy as well, but searches proved fruitless. “They were looking in the wrong place,” explains Hawass. “He was obviously buried in the city that bears his name – Alexandria.


While analysis of the mummy and further excavations are still underway, Hawass briefly presented the evidence that identified it as belonging to Alexander. “Alexander was famous for his upward gazing expression. And as you can see in these low-res pictures, the mummy’s eyes look like they might have been looking upward. So, we can say, this is most probably Alexander.”


Some experts are not convinced that the mummy is actually Alexander, though. “We need to be very careful that we do not jump to conclusions,” said one Hellenistic scholar who wished to remain unnamed. “While I have great respect for the Supreme Council of Antiquities, I think they may have gotten a little ahead of themselves here.” He pointed out that none of the artifacts discovered with the mummy had yet been dated to Alexander’s era. 


“We can only hope that this is a poorly executed April Fools joke,” he added.

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