Гроб и потерянный саркофаг Микерина.
Тронное имя (Throne name): Мен-кау-Ра (Men-Kau-Ra)
Хорово имя (Horus name): Хор Ка-хет (Ka-khet)
Небти-имя (Nebty name): Ка-небти (Ka-nebty)
Золотое имя (Golden Falcon name): Вик-небу-нечер (Netjeru-nub-netjery)
Личное имя: Менкаура (Menkaure)
Правление: 18 лет; 2414 - 2396 (Додсон)
Предшественник: Хефрен (Khafre)
Преемник: Шепсекаф (Shepseskaf)
Жена: царица Хамерернебти II (Khamerernebty II) и возможно царица Рехетре (Rekhetre) (?)
Микерин (или Men-Kau-Ra; Mycerinus на латыни; Μυκερινος, Mykerinos на греческом языке) был фараоном четвертой династии Египта (ок. 2620 до н.э.-2480 до н.э.), который приказал построить третью и самую маленькую из пирамид в Гизе. Его имя означает "Непоколебимы Души/Ка Ра". Он был преемником Хефрена. Микерин является сыном Хефрена и внуком Хеопса (IV династия). Он носил титулы Kakhet и Hornub.
Есть сомнения в том, что Микерин может быть сыном Хефрена, потому что в Туринском папирусе упоминается имя царя между Микерином и Хефреном, но это имя было стерто. Текст Среднего Царства записанный на скале в Wadi Hamamat включает имена царей: Хеопса (Khufu), Джедафра (Djedefre), Хафра (Khafre), Hordedef и Bauefre. Этот текст указывает, что некие Hordedef и Bauefre правили после Хефрена. Но кажется, что их имена не были написаны, как цари, потому что имя Микерина не было упомянуто. Предполагается, что имя Hordedef было упомянуто, поскольку он был мудрым и образованным человеком для того периода, а Bauefre, возможно, был визирем (vizier).
Микерин построил самую малую пирамиду на плато Гиза, которая называлась Netjer-er-Menkaure (Божественный Микерин). Пирамида Микерина - двухцветная: верхняя часть облицована ярко-белым известняка, в то время как для облицовки нижней части был использован красный асуанский гранит. Арабский историк El-Makrizi называл пирамиду Микерина цветной из-за красной гранитной облицовки.
Высота пирамиды составляет 66,5м, что намного меньше, чем двух других пирамид в Гизе. Пирамида замечательна тем, что это единственная пирамида IV династии, которая была облицована 16 рядами гранита. Изначально пирамиду планировалось облицевать гранитом полностью, но этого не получилось из-за внезапной смерти Микерина. Комплекс пирамиды Микерина был завершен его сыном и преемником Шепсекаф (Shepseskaf), кроме этого храмы имеют архитектурные дополнения, которые были сделаны во время династий V и VI. Это говорит о том, что культ Микерина было очень важен и, возможно, отличалась от культов Хеопса и Хефрена. Шепсекаф завершил комплекс пирамиды храмом из сырцового кирпича и оставил надпись в Долинном храме (Valley Temple) о том, что он построил храм в память своего отца. На стене у входа в пирамиды записано, что Микерин умер на двадцать третий день четвертого месяца лета, и что он построил пирамиду. Считается, что эта надпись относится к времени правления Khaemwas, сына Рамзеса II (Ramsses II). Имя Микерина найдено записанным в красной охрой на потолке погребальной камеры в одной из малых пирамид.
Когда пирамида была исследована в 1830-х годах, в погребальной камере был обнаружен базальтовый саркофаг без крышки. Внутри него был антропоморфный деревянный гроб, на котором было написано имя Микерина. Это любопытно, потому что антропоморфные гробы начали делать значительно позднее. Предположительно этот гроб был сделан при проведении восстановления во время 26-й династии (это 2000 лет спустя), когда возродился интерес к культуре Древнего Царства. Деревянный гроб и базальтовый саркофаг были направлены на отдельных судах в Англию для выставки в Британском музее, но судно, которое перевозило саркофаг, затонуло во время шторма. Он опустился на дно моря и не был найден. Саркофаг был якобы потерян в Средиземном море между портами Картахены и Мальты, где затонуло судно "Беатрис" после отправления в море 13 октября 1838 года. Деревянный антропоморфный гроб, который был найден внутри пирамиды Микерина, удалось спасти во время кораблекрушения.
Menkaure's main queen was Khamerernebty II, who is portrayed with him in a group statue found in the Valley Temple. It is believed that she is buried in Giza. Menkaure ruled for 18 years. There are two inscriptions found in his pyramid complex. The first was a decree bearing the Horus name of Merenre of Dynasty VI. The decree stated that the Valley Temple was in use until the end of the Old Kingdom. The objects found in some of the storage rooms of the temples show that the king's cult was maintained and that the temple had a dual function as a temple and a palace. The second decree of Pepi II was found on the lower temple vestibule, awarding privileges to the priests of the pyramid city. In the adjacent open court and in the area just east of the temple lie the remains of the Old Kingdom houses. Pepi II's decree indicates that these houses belonged to the pyramid city of Menkaure. Here lived the personnel responsible for maintaining the cult of the deceased king. The statuary program found inside the complex displays the superb quality of arts and crafts. The triads in Menkaure's valley temple suggest that his pyramid complex was dedicated to Re, Hathor, and Horus. In addition, they show the king's relationship with the gods and are essential to his kingship, indicating both a temple and palace function.The textual evidence indicates that the high officials had more privileges in his reign that in any other period.They had many statues in their tombs; the inscriptions and the scenes increased and were set on rock-cut tombs. In the tomb of Debhen an inscription was found describing the kindness of Menkaure. When Debhen came to visit the king's pyramid, he asked the king for permission to build his tomb near the pyramid. The king agreed and even ordered that stones from the royal quarry in Tura should be used in building his tomb. The text also mentions that the king stood on the road by the Hr pyramid inspecting the other pyramid. The name "Hr" was also found written in the tomb of Urkhuu at Giza, who was the keeper of a place belonging to the Hr pyramid. It is not clear what the Hr pyramid is. Is it a name of a subsidiary pyramid, or the name of the plateau? The Debhen texts is a revelation of how the king tried to inspire loyalty by his people giving them gifts. Menkaure also had a new policy - he opened his palace to the children of his high officials. They were educated and raised with the king's own children. Shepsesbah is one of those children. The textual and archaeological evidence of the Old Kingdom indicates that the palace of the king was located near his pyramid and not at Memphis. Menkaure explored granite from Aswan and he sent expeditions to Sinai. Excavations under the author revealed a pari of statues of Ramses II on the south side of Menkaure's pyramid. The statues were made of granite, and one represents Ramses as king while the other as Atum-Re. The name of Menkaure was found written on scarabs dated to the 26th Dynasty, which may imply that he was worshipped in this period.Herodotus mentioned that Menkaure died suddenly and added that there was an oracle from the Buto statue that foretold that he would live for 6 years. Menkaure started to drink, and enjoy every moment of his remaining years. However, Menkaure lived for 12 years, thus disproving the prophecy. Herodotus also said that his daughter committed suicide. The Greek historian also wrote that the Egyptians loved Menkaure more than his father and grandfather. The Late Period tales were based on Menkaure's reputation during the Old Kingdom. He ruled with justice, gave freedom to his officials to carve statues and make offerings, and stopped the firm rules.
The first modern explorers to enter the pyramid of Menkaura at Giza, in the early 1800s, found a damaged wooden coffin bearing the royal name and some human remains, but are they those of the king? Menkaura’s anthropoid coffin: a case of mistaken identity? Menkaura’s anthropoid coffin: a case of mistaken identity?
wooden anthropoid coffin once attributed to the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Menkaura (2532-2503 BC) was discovered in his pyramid at Giza in 1838.It is now on display at the British Museum. The coffin (EA 46647) was recovered during excavations led by the English adventurer and explorer Richard Howard Vyse. It was found along with the pharaoh’s magnificent basalt sarcophagus and some bone fragments. Not unsurprisingly perhaps, it was assumed that the bones were those of the pharaoh and that all the objects dated to the time of the original burial. Such a theory was, however, soon dismissed and it became apparent that the “evidence” was not quite as straightforward it might appear to be. Even today, when the coffin and bone fragments have been subjected to modern analysis and rigorous scientific testing, there is still a degree of confusion about just what is genuine and what is not.
Richard William Howard Vyse (1784-1853) was an English army officer who visited Egypt in 1835. Like many other explorers of his time, his interest in the pyramids stemmed from strong religious beliefs. He met fellow explorer Caviglia in Alexandria in 1836, and began excavating with him at Giza that same year. In 1837, he began collaboration with the engineer, John Shae Perring (1813-1869), with the aim of exploring and documenting the pyramids. The two established a camp in the tombs of the eastern cliff at Giza, and laboured night and day with workers on several sites at once.
The sarcophagus of Menkaura was found in what Vyse called the “sepulchral chamber”, now generally called the permanent burial chamber of the pyramid.
The sarcophagus “was entirely empty, and composed of basalt, which bore a fine polish of a shaded brown colour, but was blue where it had been chipped off or broken,” he wrote in his book Operations carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837 (James Fraser, London, 1840).
The stone sarcophagus was eight feet long and three feet one inches wide. Its height was two feet eleven inches. The internal dimensions were six feet five inches long, two feet and one half inch wide and two feet and one half inch deep. Vyse estimated its weight at nearly three tons. There were no inscriptions or hieroglyphs on the sarcophagus, but it had a finely-carved exterior in a design known to us as a the “palace-facade motif ”.
The coffin pieces, bones and fragments of the sarcophagus lid were found among rubbish and debris near the entrance to the passage descending to the burial chamber. “Close by,” wrote Vyse, “fragments of the top of a mummy-case [inscribed with hieroglyphs, and amongst them, with the cartouche of Menkaura] were discovered upon a block of stone, together with part of a skeleton, consisting of the ribs and vertebrae, and the bones of the legs and the feet enveloped in a coarse woollen cloth of a yellow colour, to which a small quantity of resinous substance and gum attached. More of the board and cloth were afterwards taken out of the rubbish. It would seem that, as the sarcophagus could not be removed, the wooden case containing the body had been brought into the large apartment for examination.”
Vyse was not actually present when the remains of the wooden coffin were found, but his excavator Henry Raven was. In a letter, which is dated London, 11th July 1838, Raven, on Vyse’s instruction, confirmed the main elements of the discovery, saying, “Every place was minutely examined to make the coffin as complete as possible.”
Vyse ordered the sarcophagus to be removed from the pyramid, taken to Alexandria, and sent by sea to London. Unfortunately, the ship carrying the stone disappeared after leaving Malta on 13th October 1838. The coffin pieces, bone fragments and pieces of the sarcophagus lid were safety sent to the British Museum in London.
There was a plan to exhibit a piece of the stone sarcophagus lid (BM No. 6646) in the Museum’s new Egyptian Funerary Galleries, which opened 1999/2000, but this was dropped because “it has no distinguishing features”.
The fragments of the anthropoid coffin are, however, on display (carefully mounted so they appear in their original positions). The inscription on the front of the coffin does identify its owner as Menkaura or, rather, implies that it is so. Henrich Brugsch-Bey, in Egypt Under the Pharaohs (John Murray, London, 1902), translated the inscription as follows:
“O Osiris, King of the North and the South, Men-Kau-Ra, living for ever, the heavens have produced thee. Thou wast engendered by Nut; thou art the offspring of Seb. Thy mother Nut spreads herself over thee in her form as a divine mystery. She has granted thee to be a god; thou shalt never more have enemies, O King of the North and South, Men-Kau-Ra, living for ever.”
A more modern translation, although essentially the same, is provided by Joyce Tydlesley in Pyramids (Penguin Books, London, 2003):
“Osiris, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Menkaura, living for ever. Born of the sky conceived by Nut, heir of Geb, his beloved. Thy mother Nut spreads herself over you in her name of ‘Mystery and Heaven’. She caused you to be a god, in your name of ‘God’. O King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Menkaura, living for ever.”
The coffin is anthropoid in shape – anthropoid simply means “in human form”. As described in the British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (British Museum Press, 1996), coffins changed in design over the long course of Egyptian history, and we now know that some of the designs can safely be dated to specific periods of history.
The earliest coffins were rectangular and of very simple plank construction. By the Fourth Dynasty (2613-2494 BC), vaulted rectangular coffins were the norm. During the Old Kingdom and New Kingdom, eyes were often painted on one side of the coffin (the left) near the the head, allowing the deceased to “look” out.
By the First Intermediate Period (2181-2055 BC), coffins were increasingly decorated and by the Twelfth Dynasty (1985-1795 BC), anthropoid coffins were “serving as substitute bodies lest the original be destroyed”. In the Twenty-fifth Dynasty there was a “new repertoire of coffin types”. These “Late Period coffins were also characterised by archaism, involving reconstruction of earlier styles of coffin decoration, such as the eye panel”. Doubts over the validity of the context in which the coffin was found in Menkaura’s pyramid were soon being raised, for the design of the coffin did not appear to fit with other Old
Kingdom coffins; it was suggested that the bones may be from a later intrusive burial. Writing, in the 1890s, Sir Ernest A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934) demonstrated an awareness of these views, but was dismissive of them in his book The Mummy: Funeral Rites & Customs in Ancient Egypt (first published as The Mummy: Chapters on Egyptian Funerary Archaeology, University Press, Cambridge, 1893). Budge, using the Greek version of the king’s name, Mycerinus, rather than Menkaura, writes: “The fragments of a body, which were found by Colonel Howard Vyse in the pyramid of Mycerinus at Gizeh, are thought by some to belong to a much later period than that of this king; there appears to be, however, no evidence of this belief, and as they belong to a man, and not to a woman, as Vyse thought, they may quite easily be the remains of the mummy of Mycerinus. ” He accepted that the “venerable fragments” of the coffin were from the time of Menkaura. Furthermore: “The formula on it is one which is found upon coffins down to the latest period, but as the date of Mycerinus is known, it is possible to draw interesting and valuable conclusions from the fact that it is found upon his coffin. It proves that as far back as 3,600 years before Christ the Egyptian religion was established on a firm base, that the doctrine of immortality was already deeply rooted in the human mind. The art of preserving the human body by embalming was also well understood and generally practised at that early date.” Budge is now very much out of favour with modern Egyptologists. Even in his own time he is said, according to the British Museum’s biography of Budge on its website, to have “ignored major developments made in the fields of transcription, grammar and lexicography, and was neglectful in matters of archaeology and provenance”. However, his views and opinions are worth quoting in this context as they show how what could be seen as a sensible, logical interpretation of “facts” can turn out to be wrong.
In 1947, there was no doubt that the coffin was not that of Menkaura, although doubt still existed over the authenticity of the bones.
I.E.S. Edwards wrote in The Pyramids of Egypt (Pelican Books/Penguin Books, London/New York, 1947): “This lid, which is now in the British Museum, can hardly have been made in the time of Mycerinus, for it is of a pattern not used before the Saite Period. The identity of the bones is extremely problematical: there is certainly no proof that the belonged to the king.”
German Egyptologist and architect Ludwig Borchardt (18631938), says Edwards, believed it was the work of Saite restorers, who entered the pyramid, found it in disarray, and the body lying exposed.
“The Saites, it must be supposed, simply placed the body in the new inner coffin and restored it to its original sarcophagus, making no structural alterations of any kind,” wrote Edwards.
It now appears that during the Saite Period (664-525 BC), there was an artistic tendency to recreate the past. Joyce Tyldesely has an explanation for this “stylistic anachronism”. Menkaura, she says, was an “especial favourite” of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty restorers and it seems that in his case, restoration extended to providing the king with a new coffin and, perhaps, a new body.
That the Saite restorers also provided Menkaura with a “new” body has also been disproved. Radio-carbon dating shows that the remains probably date to the Coptic Christian period about two thousand years ago.
“Presumably,” says Bob Brier in Egyptian Mummies, “this tomb was later robbed but in the Christian era another body was placed in the tomb.”
The British Museum now cites artefact EA 46647 as an example of “robbery, reburial and re-cycling”:
“The style of the coffin, with its pedestal beneath the feet, and the wording of the inscription, date it to the Twenty-fifth to Twenty-sixth Dynasties and suggest the burial of Menkaura was restored during this time. A cult of the deceased king is known to have been re-established at this period. These activities can be related to the contemporary widespread interest in the greatness of Egypt’s past.
“Human remains found near the coffin and once thought to be those of the king have been shown by carbon-14 dating to belong to an intrusive burial of the medieval period.”
To summarise, the theory first postulated that the anthropoid coffin and bones belonged to that Menkaura proved to be incorrect. Research later showed that, stylistically, the carving on the lid could not be from the Fourth Dynasty but was from the Saite Period, almost two thousand years later.
Radio-carbon dating of the human remains later confirmed that the mummy was from the first centuries AD. Neither the lid nor the mummy is that of Menkaura. Current thinking is that Saite priests, with a reverence for Menkaura, found his burial chamber plundered and piously made a new coffin for the reburial. The pyramid was, presumably, again robbed, but in the Christian era another body was placed in the tomb.
The original coffins and the mortal remains of Menkaura probably no longer survive. However, his name lives on, preserved on many splendid statues of him found at Giza (some of
the greatest pieces of sculpture from ancient Egypt). His pyramid, his greatest monument, still survives and is visited by thousands who speak his name. The ancient Egyptians, and Menkaura in particular, would be happy with that.
The sarcophagus of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Menkaura is one of history’s vanished treasures, lost in 1838 when the ship transporting it to the British Museum sank, probably in a storm. After one hundred and sixty-eight years, questions are still being asked about the loss and where exactly the ship sank. Paul Boughton reports.
It was the autumn of 1838 when the English merchant ship Beatrice set sail from Malta bound for the port of Liverpool. She never arrived. The news of the loss of the ship was reported in Lloyd’s ‘Loss and Casualty Book’.
The entry for Thursday, 31st January 1839 reads: “Beatrice, Wichelo, [the skipper of the vessel], sailed from Alexandria 20th Sept. & from Malta, 13th October for Liverpool, & has not since been heard of”.
The vessel, it seems, had simply vanished, and along with it disappeared one of history’s priceless and unique relics – the sarcophagus of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Menkaura, builder of the third pyramid at Giza, who ruled more than four thousand years ago.
Today, the story of the Beatrice and the lost sarcophagus is only mentioned in passing, a footnote in the history books about ancient Egypt. Somewhere the sarcophagus, almost forgotten, rests on the seabed.
But in early June 2008 news broke that Dr Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had approached the National Geographic Society to fund a search from the sarcophagus off the Spanish coast near the port of Cartagena. The Egyptian Ambassador in Madrid had met Spanish officials this month to seek their co-operation in the search, it was claimed. It was further reported that American ocean explorer Robert Ballard, famous for his discovery of the sunken R.M.S. Titanic and who is president of the Institute for Exploration, scientist emeritus from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and director of Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, has been approached to lead the search. Both Dr Hawass and Dr Ballard are ‘explorers-in-residence’ with the National Geographic Society.
Dr Hawass told the Cairo-based newspaper Al-Ahram Weekly (29th May – 4th June) that old maps and newspaper reports have helped pinpoint the wreck off the Spanish city of Cartegana. And in The Times (14th June) quoted Dr Hawass as saying: “I will seek a formula for co-operation with the Spanish Government and we will agree to return the sarcophagus to Egypt.”
Salvage – even if technically possible given the logistical difficulties and cost – of the Beatrice and her cargo will present a legal minefield about ownership of the wreck and cargo. This was a British ship carrying Egyptian artefacts now lying in Spanish territorial waters. Hawass believes the sarcophagus was removed from Egypt illegally. “Stolen by the British in 1837,” he maintains (The Spectator, 17th May 2006).
Academics, Egyptologists and historians have put forward various locations for the loss of the Beatrice.
Ernest A. Wallis Budge (The Mummy, 1893) wrote: “The stone sarcophagus of Mycerinus, of which only a small fragment has been preserved (B.M. No. 6646), and parts of the coffin and mummy, were lost by the wreck of the ship in which they were being brought to England, on the Spanish coast, on the western side of the Straight of Gibraltar. ”
German Egyptologist Heinrich Brugsch-Bey (Egypt Under the Pharaohs, 1902), more or less agrees with Budge. This “valuable memorial of antiquity, ship and cargo sank to the bottom of the sea off Gibraltar.”
American Egyptologist Bob Brier (Egyptian Mummies, 1996) says: “The sarcophagus, a masterpiece of Old Kingdom workmanship, was sent to the British Museum in 1838 on the merchant ship Beatrice. The ship stopped at Malta for supplies and then left that port on October 30, 1838, and neither the ship nor its precious cargo were seen again. It sank in deep water somewhere near Cartagena.” And in a later book (The Encyclopedia of Mummies, Checkmark Books, 1998) he reaffirms this: “The Beatrice sank in deep waters somewhere near Cartagena. ”
Peter France (The Rape of Egypt, Barrie & Jenkins, 1991) suggests: “The sarcophagus “was lost off Carthagena in October 1837, and today remains on the seabed with its ancient cargo.”
Christine Hobson (Exploring the World of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994) opts for a wreck site even farther a field. Beatrice sank in the Bay of Biscay, north of Spain, she writes.
And then we come to the Italian scientific journalist and photographer Dr Alberto Siliotti (The Pyramids, George Weidenfeld, 1997), who tells us intriguingly: “The basalt sarcophagus was later lost when the ship taking it to England sank in the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain, in an area only recently identified.” Just one year later Dr Siliotti (Egypt Lost and Found, Thames and Hudson, 1998) writes that the sarcophagus “was sent to the British Museum, but never arrived because the ship that was carrying it sank in a storm off the Tuscan coast. ”
Peter A. Clayton (Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994, reprinted 1999): The “ship carrying the sarcophagus sank in a storm in 1838 shortly after leaving Leghorn. Efforts made in recent years using highly sophisticated technical equipment have failed to locate the ship.”
Nicholas Reeves (Ancient Egypt: The Great Discoveries, Thames and Hudson, 2000) says: The “exquisite” basalt sarcophagus was “subsequently lost at sea, either off Malta or close to Cartagena, when the ship carrying it to England sank.”
Salima Ikram and Aidan Dobson (The Mummy in Ancient Egypt, Thames and Hudson, 1998), describe the sarcophagus as “perhaps the finest of all sarcophagi with this decorative scheme”. They add: “Regrettably, we can only appreciate its quality from nineteenth-century engravings, for it was removed from the burial chamber under the Third Pyramid at Giza in 1837 and lost at sea off the Spanish coast. ”
Timothy R Roberts (Gift of the Nile, Metro Books, 1999) says: “The basalt sarcophagus bore designs on the outside that represented a temple.” And then he adds a twist: “Unfortunately, this magnificent container fell overboard off the coast of Spain while being transported to the British Museum. It was never recovered, and we only know what it looks like because some curious observer had made a sketch.”
So suggestions as to the wreck site include: somewhere off Gibraltar; between Malta and Spain; off the Spanish port of Cartagena; off the Tuscan coast of Italy; and the Bay of Biscay. They cannot all be right.
The story of the Beatrice and the lost sarcophagus needs to be placed in context of what was happening in Egypt and England in 1838. Queen Victoria had just succeeded to the English throne and Egypt, ruled by the Turks, was a land ravaged by plague and the plundering of its antiquities, as well as being of great strategic importance to the expansionist plans of competing European powers.
Into that world came Richard William Howard Vyse (1784-1853), soldier, politician and explorer. It was he who led the expedition to enter the pyramids of Giza, including that of Menkaura. His use of gunpowder as an excavation tool on the pyramids has earned him much condemnation by modern scholars.
In 1840, Vyse’s book Operations Carried on at the Pyramids of Gizeh in 1837 (James Fraser, London) was published. In it Vyse describes finding the sarcophagus of Menkaura in what he called the “sepulchral chamber”, now generally referred to as the permanent burial chamber. The container “was entirely empty, and composed of basalt, which bore a fine polish of a shaded brown colour, but was blue where it had been chipped off or broken,” he wrote.
Besides sand, stones, rubbish and assorted débris, Vyse noted that there was a “black dust” in the chamber, which he put down to insect and bat droppings. The dung of large birds – probably vultures, thought Vyse – “appeared in many places, particularly on the sarcophagus, and seemed to have been there for many years.” (It is hard to imagine vultures inside the pyramids, so ornithology might not have been one of Vyse’s skills.)
Vyse thought that “some sharp substance”, such as emery powder, had been used in constructing the sarcophagus, and it appeared to have been sawn. This, he thought, was “remarkable, as the art of sawing marble was not known as Roman till a late period.”
The sarcophagus lid had been originally fixed in place by two pins, and also by a dovetail. Vyse said that a plate of metal seemed to have been applied “so carefully underneath it, that in order to insert a lever for its removal, it had been found necessary to cut a groove across the rim of the sarcophagus.”
The stone sarcophagus was eight feet long and three feet one inch wide. Its height was two feet eleven inches. The inside dimensions were six feet five inches long, two feet and one half an inch wide and two feet and one half inch deep. Vyse estimated its weight at nearly three tons.
There was no inscription or hieroglyphs, but it had finely carved decoration in a style Egyptologists refer to as ‘palace-façade motif ’. The lid was broken and pieces of it were found in the burial chamber and elsewhere in the pyramid.
The burial chamber was twenty feet eight inches in length on it north-south axis with an east-west breadth of eight feet seven inches. The height was eight feet nine inches at the sides, rising to eleven feet three inches at the centre. Originally placed in the centre of the chamber, Vyse thought that at some stage in antiquity the sarcophagus had been moved, for, as can be seen in the illustration below, it was found against one wall of the burial chamber. Perhaps it was moved by robbers who thought that it might have concealed treasures buried beneath it?
“As the sarcophagus would have been destroyed, had it remained in the pyramid, I resolved to send it to the British Museum,” wrote Vyse. Just why he thought it would have been destroyed remains a mystery, but this was often a convenient (and sometimes valid) excuse at this period to remove objects.
By 9th August, Vyse was in Alexandria preparing forhis return voyage to England. He sent a message to colleague Henry Raven, still working at the pyramids, ordering him remove the sarcophagus, a task which Vyse later admitted, was “not trifling”. On 27th August, Vyse sailed for Malta on the first leg of his journey home to England.
Meanwhile, inside the pyramid one of the ramps in the inclined passage had to be removed in order to getthe sarcophagus into a larger space, where it was placed upon wheeled trucks. Blocks in the anteroom were also removed in order to get the sarcophagus to the bottom of the entrance passage.
Using sheer muscle power and a ‘crab’ erected at the mouth of the pyramid, the stone casket was hauled up the passage, but the going was not easy. Half way up, the truck on one side of the sarcophagus gave way. Space was too tight to allow any repairs. Now the sweating labourers resorted to using levers to lift the sarcophagus up the passage. At last this “arduous undertaking” was over and the sarcophagus was safely hauled out of the pyramid into daylight for the first time in over four thousand three hundred years. It was then placed on a carriage and with planks of wood positioned beneath the carriage wheels, the sarcophagus was pulled over the rocks and sands to the expedition’s tents. Later the sarcophagus was “cased with strong timbers” and sent to Alexandria, presumably by boat along the Nile, although Vyse gives no details of this operation.
Vyse made only one reference to the loss of the sarcophagus. “It was embarked at Alexandria,” he wrote,“in the autumn of 1838 on board a merchant-ship, which was supposed to have been lost off Carthagena, as she was never heard of after her departure from Leghorn on the 12th October in that year, and some parts of the wreck were picked up near the former port.”
The loss of the sarcophagus was not exactly a loss to everyone, for in June 1839 the British Museum received a payment of £148 10s. 0d. from an insurance claim on the transport of the sarcophagus. At today’s prices that would be around £10,000.
At the time Vyse was in Egypt, everything found at the Pyramids, and indeed at any other site, was acknowledged to be the property of the ruling Pasha, and it is not clear what permission Vyse had for the removal of items; but there was an established routine for obtaining the requisite permissions, which one must assume that Vyse might havefollowed. Two lists exist (published in Vyse’s book), one naming items to be sent to England (mostly bits and pieces, historically interesting and valuable, but not spectacular),and the other of items to remain in Egypt (again mostly bits and pieces, historically interesting and valuable, but not spectacular). Interestingly the sarcophagus does not appear on either list.
The sarcophagus was clearly a well known and important object and its arrival in Britain was eagerly awaited. The British Museum’s Egyptian collection was growing impressively at this time.
In 1824, Rev. Josiah Forshall (1795-1863) was appointed Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum. In a letter to Forshall from British Consul Patrick Campbell, written in Alexandria and dated 2nd July 1838, the following, passage occurs: “I beg to inform you that the sarcophagus taken by Colonel Vyse out of the 3d. Pyramid at Ghizeh, and which in your letter to Viscount Palmerston of 7th February last you requested His Lordship to instruct me to send to England, has this day been embarked on board of the English ship the Beatrice, bound forLiverpool and London ... .”
The Beatrice was a type of vessel known as a snow. These were two-masted European merchant ships used between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. As well as having large square sails on both masts, a snow carried a small triangular sail behind the mainmast. The term snow is derived, apparently, from the Dutch word snaauw, meaning snout, a reference to the bluff shape of the ship’s bows.
These sturdy vessels had U-shaped hulls which maximised their cargo carrying capacity. The largest snows could be up to one thousand tons, although the Beatrice was small, at 224 tons. Built in Quebec in 1827, her overall length was 87 feet 9 inches and her breadth 24 feet 2 inches. The hold had a depth of 15 feet 1 inch. Carvel-built (the planks of the hull fitted to the ship’s frames with no overlap, giving the ship smooth sides), she was square-rigged, squaresterned, had a standing bowsprit, sham quarter galleries and the bust of a woman for a figurehead. In 1830, she had been registered to the Port of London. Lloyd’s Register for 1838 and records show her stated voyage was between Liverpool and Alexandria.
Her master and co-owner was Richard Mayle Whichelo, or according some sources, Wichelo. Born in Brighton, Sussex, on the south coast of England, he was about fifty-two in 1838. In 1805, he had served on the hundred-gun First Rate ship, H.M.S. Britannia, as a clerk at the Battle of Trafalgar and had been awarded the Trafalgar Medal.
From copies of Lloyd’s List between 1830 and 1838, it is possible to chart the Beatrice’s voyages between England and Egypt. Her route was always between Liverpool and Alexandria. Regular ports of call included Gibraltar, Leghorn, Genoa, Civita Vecchia and Malta.
From Lloyd’s List we know that on 20th September 1838, Beatrice left Alexandria’s harbour, ultimately bound for Liverpool. If she sailed with a full complement of crew, there were about twenty men and boys aboard, on a journey and route they should all have known well. From this point the vessel’s movementsbecome hard to track with any degree of certainty.
Vyse says the Beatrice visited the Italian port of Leghorn and departed on 12th October, and that wreckage was later spotted off the Spanish port of Cartagena. Lloyd’s List, on the other hand, records the Beatrice as being hundreds of miles to the south of Leghorn, leaving Malta on 13th October. Clearly it is impossible for Beatrice to have left Leghorn on the 12th, to arrive in Malta on the 13th and sail back to the Spanish coast in a day or so.
It is in this confusion of ‘facts’ that the Beatrice and Menkaura’s sarcophagus disappear, the victim, perhaps, of a sudden storm. It is often assumed that the Beatrice vanished along with her crew, but this may not be true. The Beatrice’s skipper definitely survived.
Despite, Lloyd’s List stating that the Beatrice and Whichelo sailed from Alexandria on its last, fateful journey on 20th September 1838, the truth is that Whichelo was not on board. We know that he died in 1858; so why was he not on board his own vessel when it sailed? This question will probably never be answered. We do know that twenty days after Beatrice sailed, on 10th October, Whichelo boarded H.M. Steamer Blazer as a passenger in Alexandria bound for Malta.
This nugget of information was reported in the Malta-based newspaper Il Mediterraneo. On 14th October, the Blazer and Whichelo docked in Malta – just one day after the Beatrice had sailed. Presumably, if Whichelo remained on board the Blazer, he would have arrived home in England in late October or early November.
There the story would end, were it not for the fact that in recent years many people have said that they believe they have solved the ‘mystery’ of the lost sarcophagus, or at least think they know where the vessel might be found.
Spanish Egyptologist Esteban Llagostera Cuenca is convinced that he knows where the Beatrice sank. In an interview with the Spanish magazine La Clave (10-16th Jan. 2003) he says the Beatrice sank off the Spanish coast near Cartagena and that he has researched the loss of the vessel in Italy, Egypt, Cartagena and in London.
Among the claims he makes are that the Beatrice sailed under an Italian flag, but cites no source for this statement. He further claims a movement of the ship’s cargo caused the vessel to sink and that Lloyd’s sent inspectors to Cartagena. He says the crew survived and swam ashore and, because they were able to do this, he estimates the wreck could be no more than a mile offshore.
The Professor hints that the wreck now lies within the sea-access routes of a Spanish submarine base, and that any search in a military zone has been vetoed.
I have tried to contact Señor Llagostera for furtherinformation about his theories, but have not, as yet, had any reply to my letters.
Another Spanish magazine, La Aventura de la Historia (No. 25, Nov. 2000), published an article by AlejandroAnca Alamillo and Francisca Navarro Taravila on the fate of the Beatrice and the sarcophagus.
The writers say Vyse chartered two ships to return his ‘booty’ to England, the sarcophagus being loaded on the Beatrice. After leaving Alexandria, the ship visited Cyprus where she experienced problems with moving cargo. The authors add that there was another rumour that the sarcophagus was disembarked on the island, but dismiss this as unlikely.
On 13th October, a sudden and violent storm hit the Beatrice as she neared the Spanish coast. The captain decided to maintain a course for Cartagena but hit rocks that ripped open the wooden hull. The crew were saved, but the cargo was lost. Despite the survival of the crew, it seems no one was able to know the exact location of the wreck. However, it is rumoured that a local diver in Cartagena has discovered the location of the wreck in the entrance to the harbour. He has even recovered a small bell from the vessel. The precise location of the ship remains his jealously guarded secret.
There is also another intriguing question about the Beatrice: what else was in its hold. It is surely unlikely that the sarcophagus was the only antiquity onboard.
Dr Ivan Negueruela of Spain’s National Museum for Maritime Archaeology in Cartagena, told the Spanish newspaper Laverdad (6th June): “The sarcophagus is somewhere on the coast between Cabo de Palos and Mazarrón.”
It is, he said “very important”, but then he adds intriguingly: “so are other objects that are at the bottom of the sea with it. Yes, there may be some surprises.”
The “surprises”, suggests the article, include 200 boxes of antiquities, containing funerary, pink granite sphinxes and gold pieces.
Whether there is any truth in any of these stories, or whether they are the fanciful tales that inevitably get attached to rumours of lost treasure, remains unknown.
If a search is indeed made, it will certainly not be easy, even using the latest technology. International maritime courts might be needed to determine who legally ‘owns’ the sarcophagus: Britain, Spain, Egypt or the insurance company.
Time has wrapped the story of the lost sarcophagus in romance, rumour and conjecture, fuelled by the prospect of recovering an amazing treasure. It is clear, from the few images that have survived, that the sarcophagus is a splendid item and of course historically important too. Will it ever be recovered from its watery grave? Only time will tell.
[править] Последние новости (2011 год)
Политические потрясения в Египте могут привести к задержке официального подводного поиска потерянного саркофага Микерина, начало которого предварительно запланировано на март 2011 года.
Летом 2008 года в прессе можно было прочитать слухи, что Высший совет по древностям Египта пытается собрать средства для поиска саркофага. С проектом были предварительно связаны имена подводного исследователя Роберта Балларда (Robert Ballard), обнаружившего место крушения Титаника, и французского морского археолога Франка Годдио (Franck Goddio). Существовало также предположение, что в поиск будет вовлечено National Geographic.
1 октября 2010 года Государственная информационной служба Египта (Egyptian State Information Service) выпустила довольно сдержанное заявление о том, что министр культуры Фарук Хосни (Farouk Hosni) объявил о формировании совместной египетско-испанской миссии для поиска саркофага.
В заявлении министр сообщил, что он "договорился сформировать с его испанским коллегой совместную миссию, под председательством Генерального секретаря Высшего совета по древностям Египта д-ра Захи Хавасса (Dr. Zahi Hawass), для поиска затонувшего гроба Микерина с помощью подводного робота в начале марта 2011 года". Заявление продолжается тем, что д-р Хавасс "оценил испанскую роль в этой миссии, которая отражает его увлечение поддержки человеческого наследия в целом и египетского в частности".
Другие участники, которые будут привлечены к миссии, в заявлении не отмечаются.
31 января 2011 года тогдашний президент Египта Хосни Мубарак привел к присяге новый кабинет министров в попытке восстановить порядок в стране после массовых антиправительственных протестов. Фарук Хосни был заменен Габером Асфуром (Gaber Asfour). Однако уже через девять дней после вступления в должность, Асфур подал в отставку, сославшись на "опасения связанные с состоянием здоровья".
13 февраля 2011 года военное командование объявило, что парламент Египта в полном составе был распущен. Парламентские выборы запланированы на сентябрь.
В случае успеха морской операции саркофаг Микерина в будущем будет центральной частью выставки в Великом Египетском музее в отделе четвертой династии, который планируется открыть в 2013 году. Также возможно будут найдены множество артефактов, которые находились в 200 ящиках корабля Беатрис (Beatrice).
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/s ... earch.aspx
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/ ... story.html