It seems you can’t throw a stone in Egypt without hitting some ancient artifact, and the odds are favorable that the artifact is somehow connected to a pharaoh or pyramid. It also seems that a favorite game to play there – since the country finally got serious about protecting these artifacts from looters and black marketeers – is “Guess what’s in the pyramid?” If you had bet on both happening in the same week, you’re a winner.
In one of the strangest headlines about Egyptology, local media outlets were shouting in big letters that “Granite Feet Belonging to Pharaoh Discovered in Parking Lot!” According to Egypt Independent, which had a more subtle headline, the parking lot was in Akhmim in the Sohag governorate where construction workers were digging it up for new development. Instead, they found an old development – part of a black granite statue that appeared to be two feet with the left foot pointing forward (seen here). That points to the feet belonging to a statue of an Egyptian king who were traditionally represented in this way.
But whose kingly feet are these? That was explained by the right one which was covered with hieroglyphics (seen here) showing the coronation and birth names of King Amenhotep III. This comes as no surprise to Egyptologists – over 250 statues of Amenhotep III have been discovered, the most of any pharaoh. Perhaps that was his plan in case he didn’t get a pyramid … which he didn’t. Amenhotep III was buried in a royal tomb in the Western Valley of the Valley of the Kings. His granite feet, on the other hand, now reside at the Sohag Museum where they’re getting a restorative pedicure.
Meanwhile, back at the pyramids …
Speculation has been running rampant among experts about what could be in the newly-discovered mysterious void in the Great Pyramid of Giza. One of the first and certainly most interesting comes from Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. He writes in his new paper on the subject:
“A possible explanation of this space, interpreted as a chamber connected to the lower north channel and aimed to contain a specific funerary equipment is tentatively proposed. According to the Pyramid Texts, this equipment might consist of a “Iron throne”, actually a wooden throne endowed with meteoritic Iron sheets.”
That’s right. The Pyramid Texts -- carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom – say that "the pharaoh, before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the gates of the sky and sit on his throne of iron.” Magli believes that the only way ancient Egyptians could imagine an iron throne -- actually a wooden throne covered with metal -- reaching the stars was if it were covered with star material itself … metals collected from meteorites. Farfetched? We recently found out that King Tutankhamun's dagger was made from meteor matter. Could Cheops have rested his royal tush on a star seat?
Of course, the only way to find out is to look inside the void inside the pyramid. That may happen If the folks at ScanPyramid can get permission to drill a tiny shaft and insert a micro-blimp drone to explore it. How will it know if the throne is covered with meteor metal? Have you ever heard of accidental bumps?