Who believes in immortality? Not I. Not Phineas. But the maker of this thing apparently did. And do you want to hear something really cool? On the back of this thing, there is a promise that a second marker can be found, with precise coordinates for its location. The second marker promises to verify the immortality of its subject. I’ll explain.
Phineas and I got into Luxor yesterday afternoon and crashed hard for several hours before striking out for Gebel Ghueita in the beautiful Kharga Oasis. A little history here. The Yale team has been hitting this site hard for years. There are archeological excavations happening all over the area. The one we visited was from the Second Intermediate Period. It’s mostly the remains of a mud-brick settlement which served as a supply center, they think, for military forces fighting off invaders from Asia. It’s a period of Egyptian history that has always been mysterious, because several rival factions were contending for control over the region (3,500ish years ago) with the weakest of them winning in the end.
(A word from Phineas: Asiatic invaders seized control of the Nile Delta to the north; the Nubian kingdom of Kerma had the south, and what remained of the Pharaoh’s power was struggling to survive in the region around modern Luxor.)
Ok. Immortality. What makes this interesting is, as Phineas always likes to say, the context of the find. The remarkably preserved snakey-snake thingie pictured above was found in a temple to an evil Egyptian deity named Set. (Hence all the snakes.) That’s weird in itself, since Set was thought of as pretty much the opposite of everything good. He was the night that chased away the day, every day. Seriously. The Egyptians were sun worshippers — not evil spirit worshippers. But stranger still was the discovery of this inside Set’s temple.
The Ankh, also known as “the key of life” is an ancient Egyptian glyph used to represent eternal life. It’s the doo-hicky you see all the Pharaohs carrying for their schlep to the underworld or whatever. So what’s it doing inside in a 3,500-year-old devil worshipper temple?
Well, Phineas isn’t impressed. He says evil beings were also considered immortal, same as the sun-god Ra. Else, how is he supposed to chase the day away, day in and day out, forever? Ok. Makes sense. But we are still going to check out the second site mentioned on the back of snakey-snake’s rock thingie. In fact, we’re going today. Who knows? Maybe Set will be there. Hiding beneath a rock. Bet he’ll be excited we’ve got WiFi now.