Tomb Robbery – Nigel Strudwick
Nigel’s lecture covered robbery in ancient times although you could say that recent ‘exports’ like those of of the 18th and 19th century were a form of robbery. He showed an example of an export certificate.
In fact there are very few totally intact tombs examples are
· Khai 1906
· Ramoses and Hatnofer 1936
Tomb robbery started 3500BC in fact almost as soon as the occupant was buried. In TT253 why are there so many mummies not in their original resting place. TT99 was rob twice and there are many Third Intermediate Period burials in existing ‘holy’ places.
The tomb robbery papyri EA10221 talks about robberies and it would appear everyone on the west bank was in on it which is why it was reported to an east bank official.
Butehamun, one of the scribes who recorded events currently has his house at Medinet Habu restored. The book Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt by Pascal Vernus talks about “The first chapter deals with the tomb robberies in the Theban necropolis during the Twentieth Dynasty. The second outlines the economic context and events associated with strikes carried out by the workmen of the royal necropolis. The third chapter uses a certain Paneb as an exemplar of corruption in the area of Thebes. Chapter 4 considers the theft of government property and attempted cover-ups in the Aswan region.”
The robberies of Tutankhamun has opportunistic robberies in the late 18/19 dynasty where objects easily disposed of and carried were taken.
The video on YouTube Tomb Robberys in Ancient Egypt is surprisingly accurate https://youtu.be/mW-WMY25-qQ?t=11m16s
In the Valley of Kings Nigel believes the existing burials were dismantled by the priests Butehamun to raise money. The hacking off of the gold from coffins was probably stolen by funeral directors.
Popular items that were stolen Glass vessels, copper and linen. When you compare the quantities in unspoiled tombs with those in partial rob ones you can see the quantities of those goods are strikingly different.
55-70% of coffins were recycled, tombs were more accessible post Amarna
There were various groups responsible
And the wives seem to have acted as fences with lots of bribes given to senior officials. The mayor of the east bank knew the mayor of the west bank was covering things up
How long was your eternity?
Nigel talked about although the texts tell us millions of years the reality was totally different and nobody worried about robbing a tomb almost before the body was cold