THE GREAT BEL­ZONI’S GREAT­EST FINDS

History Revealed - - TOMB RAIDER THE GREAT BELZONI -

SAR­COPH­A­GUS LID OF RAMESSES III

Lo­ca­tion: Val­ley of the Kings Today: Fitzwilliam Mu­seum, Cam­bridge Bel­zoni may not have dis­cov­ered the tomb of Ramesses III, but he ex­tri­cated the three-me­tre-high, seven-ton lid of the sar­coph­a­gus. It had been of­fered to him as a meek peace of­fer­ing by his ri­val, Drovetti, who could not have known – with it buried in sand and lay­ing up­side down – how mag­nif­i­cent it would be. Carved from red gran­ite, the car­touche de­picts Ramesses III as Osiris, god of the after­life, with god­desses Isis and Nephtys on each side.

HEAD AND ARM OF AMENHOTEP III

Lo­ca­tion: Kar­nak Today: Bri­tish Mu­seum, Lon­don Among Bel­zoni’s many finds at Kar­nak were the gran­ite head and arm of a colos­sal statue of 18th­dy­nasty pharaoh Amenhotep III, which he un­earthed with his friend Henry Beechey at the Mut tem­ple en­clo­sure in 1817. It took eight days to move the 2.9-me­tre head just a mile.

STAT­UES OF SEKHMET

Lo­ca­tion: Kar­nak Today: World Mu­seum, Liverpool Al­though sev­eral stat­ues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet were dis­cov­ered in near-per­fect con­di­tion, that did not stop the Great Bel­zoni carv­ing his name into them.

PHILAE OBELISK

Lo­ca­tion: Is­land of Philae Today: Kingston Lacy, Dorset Find­ing the red gran­ite obelisk in 1815 was the easy part. Mov­ing it on be­half of English ex­plorer Wil­liam John Bankes, who wanted it for his coun­try es­tate, proved tor­tur­ous.

EN­TRANCE TO PYRA­MID OF KHAFRE

Lo­ca­tion: Giza Find­ing a way into the sec­ond­largest of the pyra­mids of Giza had proven such a fu­tile task that gen­eral be­lief held that it was solid through­out. Even Bel­zoni’s own work­ers called him ‘mag­noon’ (mad­man) for look­ing for an en­trance, yet it only took him a mat­ter of weeks of ex­am­in­ing the stones to un­lock the mys­tery. He found the lost en­trance on the north­ern face in 1818.

EN­TRANCE TO ABU SIMBEL

Lo­ca­tion: Aswan Today: Re­lo­cated to Lake Nasser When Bel­zoni first reached the Great Tem­ple of Abu Simbel, only the head of one of the four gi­ant stat­ues of Ramesses II re­mained vis­i­ble. It took two digs, plenty of lo­cal help and the in­ge­nious use of pal­isades to find the en­trance. Un­for­tu­nately, it con­tained few trea­sures.

SAR­COPH­A­GUS OF SETI I

Lo­ca­tion: Val­ley of the Kings Today: Sir John Soane’s Mu­seum, Lon­don In the heart of Seti I’s cav­ernous and in­tri­cately dec­o­rated tomb, Bel­zoni saw some­thing on 17 Oc­to­ber 1817 he de­clared to have no equal in the world. It was a three-me­tre sar­coph­a­gus, cut from a sin­gle piece of alabaster and dec­o­rated with in­scrip­tions and hun­dreds of fig­ures.

THE YOUNGER MEM­NON

Lo­ca­tion: Rames­seum mor­tu­ary tem­ple, Thebes Today: Bri­tish Mu­seum, Lon­don Bel­zoni suc­ceeded where no one else could – trans­port­ing the much-de­sired carved head from a statue of Ramesses II to the Nile. Drag­ging the gran­ite gi­ant, weigh­ing over seven tons, re­quired 80 men, days of toil in swel­ter­ing heat and Bel­zoni’s tire­less de­ter­mi­na­tion. It would be sent on to the Bri­tish Mu­seum, but un­der the name of Henry Salt.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.