Dr. Zahi Hawass - a world-renowned archaeologist and Egyptologist and a former minister of Antiquities affairs of Egypt, speaks to OFFNews.bg about new archaelogical findings at the site ot Saqqara. More than 30 years he has been working to raise the awareness and to preserve Egypt's priceless archaeological heritage.
He leads the excavations in Giza, Saqqara, Bahariya Oasis, and the Valley of the Kings. Dr. Hawass has made significant discoveries such as the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis.
He is the author of a number of books and publications in his native Arabic, many of which have been translated into English, French and Italian.
Dr. Hawass has been honored numerous awards for his contribution to science and is at Top 100 of the most influential people of Time magazine for 2006.
He discovered his love for archaeology during his student years. He enrolled in the discipline after he wasn’t admitted to study law.
'Now archaeology is my life. But when I was younger I wasn’t interested in it. When I went to the faculty of arts and chose the archaeology department, I wasn’t a good student. When I graduated I got a government job as a inspector of antiquities. Anyone can have this job if you have graduated from archaeology. One day during excavations in the middle of a tomb I found a statue. And while I was cleaning it I told myself, 'I found love and passion for archaeology’, Dr. Hawass says.
He has no words to describe the feeling of discovering something so big, significant and with such great value for history. "The feeling is just earth-shattering when you open the sarcophagus for the first time and see the mummy covered in gold," the archaeologist says.
Egypt tombs are full with unsolved mysteries and buried treasures are waiting to be found. Tombs of Egypt: The Ultimate Mission, with a premiere on march 7th, 9 pm, on Viasat History, follows a 3-month excavation led by Dr. Zahi Howas that uncovers an intact tomb complex at Saqqara.
With exclussive access to this expedition, CGI, 2D computer graphics, 2D and 3D cartography, X-Ray analyse, pictures and interviews with international experts, both in the lab and on the field, this documentary shows how the team managed to open each sarcophagus to explore the mysteries of the necropolis and find out who was buried there more than 3,000 years ago.
'Excavations were near to Teti’s pyramid - the first king from the sixth dynasty worshipped as a God of the New Kingdom. Most of the people were buried beside him. When we started the excavations we found a pyramid of a queen. After that we found a temple built for her. Her name was Neit. We also found a lot of beautifully decorated sarcophaguses. In them there were mummies, Dr. Hawass explains.
"The excavations at Sakkara solved many mysteries," he says.
Nearly 13 years ago, Hawass led the the discovery of Mark Antony’s and Cleopatra’s sarcophaguses. Then with his team he worked about 35 kilometres from Alexandria. But they haven’t found anything so far.
Hawass, however, does succeed in other discoveries, which contributed to the history of Egypt. Now he has turned his efforts to promote the country's historical heritage with his on-screen appearances and also through lectures, which he gives around the world, about "the magic of Egypt and the safety of the country as a tourist destination."
Tombs of Egypt: The Ultimate Mission will air its episodes on 7 march at 9 pm, and on 20 march at 7.50 pm on Viasat History.