The catacombs beneath Gheita Temple did not disappoint. You’ll recall, on Friday, I wrote about the mass graves beneath Gheita Temple. This is odd, but not unheard of. In the earliest times, poor Egyptians were buried beneath a pile of rocks. The Yale team believes the nearby site was a supply center for the Pharaoh’s armies fighting off Asiatic invaders from the North, and the Nubian kingdom from the South. The mass graves could well be the remains of those laborers. But beneath those graves are these catacombs, with bones piled upon bones. And that’s just not the way the Egyptians disposed of their dead. Poor or otherwise. Which means things just got freaky.
We headed out to the site early Saturday morning after Phineas finished doing his laundry in the sink and hanging it all around the hotel room. I told him we didn’t have to do laundry in the sink; that’s one of the perks of staying in a nice hotel. They’ll even pick up your laundry for you. But it just doesn’t take with Phineas. And seriously? If it weren’t for me, he’d never remember to tie his shoes. The man is a genius, but I swear to God he’d lose his head if it weren’t attached.
Anyway, we set out early Saturday morning and met the team after a two-hour trip to the site. It was a bit tough for Phineas, as we had to crawl through on our bellies to enter. I’m always impressed with him at times like this, but I also feel a bit guilty for being an enabler. I mean, he’s got to retire sometime, and his research doesn’t have to include crawling into several thousand year-old underground caves himself, right?
The catacombs start very narrow, and we had to squeeze through on our bellies, then inch
our way along a crammed corridor until it opened up into this antechamber. In case you’re wondering, yes: Those are human bones.
Now, remember when I was telling you Phineas is always harping on me about context? Put this into context. The ancient Egyptians were fanatically ceremonial about death rituals. For them to stack up bones in this way would be a display of an horrific evil, and disrespectful to the souls of those entering the afterlife.
So what is going on?
Ground Penetrating radar revealed a second chamber beyond this one, but the team had to excavate through the wall of bones. As you might imagine, it’s taken them quite some time to remove carefully, but as I write this, Phineas tells me they’ve just finished. We’re going back tomorrow and will see what is on the other side.