So readeth the curse found inscribed in the tomb of Tutankhamun, the New Kingdom pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, who ruled Egypt between 1333 BC and 1323 BC. This curse resulted in the death of quite a number of the individuals who discovered and entered Tut’s tomb in the early 1920s.
I am reminded of this bit of Egyptology because with the crane out of the QVC, we were finally able to complete the plywood sarcophagus that encloses the quarry face and will protect the bones during the remaining demolition and construction. Details of the box structure have been given in an earlier post BOXING DINOSAURS (June 7, 2010) and need not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that this structure, supported by a large scaffolding system, provides the best protection the quarry can have against a wide range of threats. Now enclosed, the bones will remain unseen until the project is completed sometime in late summer of 2011. At that point the sarcophagus will be reopened, dismantled, and the quarry face will receive a thorough cleaning in preparation for its great unveiling in the new QVC. There will be no gold facemasks, ornate furniture, or elaborate jewelry on the face when it is reopened, just the tremendous and priceless display of 149,000,000 year old dinosaur bones frozen in time in the sandstone of an incredibly ancient and extinct river. However, I do suspect that more than a few amphora of wine might well be imbibed at that re-opening of the QVC.
In closing, I must admit to being somewhat less than honest about the Tut curse. Recent research (1) has shown that "There was no significant association between exposure to the mummy's curse and survival and thus no evidence to support the existence of a mummy's curse." I also plead guilty to being disingenuous about the very existence of the curse inscription. The curse appears to have been created by an overzealous newspaper reporter interested in boosting sales. Nevertheless, I have it on the most impeccable of authorities that the curse is, in fact, written on the inner surface of the walls of the plywood sarcophagus at Dinosaur National Monument. It is written, of course, in English --- nowadays few of us have any familiarity with either reading or writing hieroglyphs. You remain a doubting Thomas about this? Well there are two others who have seen and read this curse on the plywood sarcophagus. And they are still alive and in good health --- for now.
(1) Nelson, Mark R. "The mummy's curse: historical cohort study." British Medical Journal. 21 Dec. 2002, 325(7378): 1482-1485.
Photos courtesy of Dinosaur National Monument.