World's Leading Egyptologist Visits Baylor Campus

Oct. 10, 2001

by Judy Long

Dr. Zahi Hawass, director of the Giza Pyramids and Saqqara in Egypt, spoke to Baylor students and faculty Oct. 10 about his latest archaeological discoveries, including one not yet talked about in the national news.

The world's leading Egyptologist was at Baylor as a guest of the university's Middle East studies program.

Hawass told the standing-room-only audience in Bennett Auditorium that as recently as last week, he discovered the tomb of the chief physician of a pharaonic palace who had been buried along with his surgical tools, the first find of ancient medical tools ever among Egyptian artifacts. Hawass mentioned that this find is so recent that it has not yet been announced to any media.

In 1999, Hawass excavated the Valley of the Golden Mummies, a site that resulted in the most significant discovery since the unearthing of King Tut's tomb in 1917. The September 2001 issue of National Geographic spotlighted this find with an article written by Hawass.

Some archaeological discoveries can contribute to an understanding of modern medical questions, Hawass said. Citing the case of the mummies in the Valley of the Golden Mummies, he said the preserved bodies were x-rayed, and eight of the 22 people were found to have died of cancer.

Hawass also brought condolences from Egypt for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in America. He talked about his own country, which has been subjected to many terrorist attacks including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981, and the suffering that terrorism brings.

Hawass is a Fulbright scholar and received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in Egyptology in 1987. He has written extensively, and his latest book, The Valley of the Golden Mummies, has been published in five languages.

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