Remains of the missing pharaoh may be discovered near Abydos
Egypt, History, 11/9/2000
German archaeologists, digging at an ancient burial ground in southern Egypt, are within weeks of discovering whether the desert site contains the remains of a missing pharaoh, excavation campaign head said on Monday.
A team of about 10 archaeologists, Egyptologists and scholars is sifting through the sands near Abydos, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Cairo, at Egypt's oldest royal tombs.
If their suspicions hold true, the ruins could contain the grave of a pharaoh known as Scorpion ii who died about five thousand years ago, according to Guenter Dreyer, head of the German institute of archaeology in Cairo.
At the royal necropolis of Abydos, the team has already discovered the world's oldest royal grave and the most ancient evidence of writing, but Dreyer thinks more secrets lie beneath the dunes.
"We've found two of Scorpion's predecessors - including Scorpion I-- and two of his successors. There's still one king missing, namely Scorpion II, and I think he could only be there," he told Reuters.
The archaeologists are removing layer after layer of sand deposits above the presumed gravesite, some of which date back to the time of the first excavations many years ago.
Back then; Egyptians were searching the site for the grave of the god-king Osiris.
During the ancient excavations and others conducted about 100 years ago, workers shoveled huge piles of sand onto the site where Dreyer believes Scorpion II could be found.
The German team has already unearthed countless pieces of pots and tablets dating back to the lost pharaoh's time around 3100 BC.
But the only clear evidence that Scorpion II might be there is an ivory tablet bearing his symbol of a scorpion, which was found about a century ago.
"Once we've removed the sand deposits, we should be able to tell from the desert surface whether a grave site lies beneath,"
Dreyer said. "That will take us another few weeks." He cautioned that even if the pharaoh lies beneath the sands, his burial site was probably pillaged by grave robbers thousands of years ago.
"But the grave-robbers weren't interested in the kinds of things we care about too, such as tablets and examples of writing. So even if they stole many exciting artifacts should other things still be there ,"Dreyer said.
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