By Alexandra Lilly
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – A professor who’s been excavating the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh spoke about his experiences on April 25 at Camden County College.
Dr. Josef Wegner, associate professor and assistant curator, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Egyptian Section, presented a lecture titled “Excavations at South Abydos, Egypt: Searching for the Tombs of the Last Pharaohs of Egypt’s 12th Dynasty” at 7 p.m. in Civic Hall on the Blackwood campus.
Wegner used a series of slides of pictures taken at the excavation site to give the audience a visual perspective of his work. There are two tombs where Pharaoh Senwosret III was believed to be buried but by extensive research and evidence from each tomb, Wegner and his team were able to determine the ancient king of the 12th Dynasty was buried under Anubis-Mountain at South Abydos, Egypt.
Wegner showed pictures of statues made of Senwosret III and jested, “He is the most depressing looking pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. I don’t know why I chose to study him.”
The supposed site of Senwosret III’s royal tomb was at Dahshur under the pyramid he had built during his reign; this pyramid was the largest of all but was destroyed by robbers many years ago. The tomb at South Abydos was robbed as well, and the remains of Senwosret III are gone.
When beginning the work to excavate the site of Senwosret III’s royal tomb, Wegner stated, “It took us six months just to find the entrance to the tomb.” Once the entrance was discovered, Wegner and his team were under way. The tomb is 100 feet deep and was covered by mountains of sand. “The passageways inside the tomb extend over 800 feet,” Wegner stated.
Wegner hopes someday the site of Senwosret III’s royal tomb will become visible to the public. He said he and his team have already begun creating this monument by “constructing beautiful vaulted ceilings and iron stairways leading down into the bowels of the tomb.”
The lecture garnered an audience of about 100 people who were extremely engaged in Wegner’s presentation and was followed by a question and answer session that lasted about 30 minutes.