Tales From The Tomb
ROBBING THE DEAD
Monday 21 November at 9.30am EST/ NZ
This program has an obvious popular tone to it. It begins by using the term “tomb raiders” and describes various “heists” in ancient Egypt. This may appeal to students and does not detract a great deal from the description and discussion of the problems of ensuring an afterlife for Pharaoh.
While the program focuses on Paneb, a well-known offender from the New Kingdom village of Deir el-Medina, there are examples of the problem and attempts to thwart it from earlier and later periods as well. Experts and Egyptologists assist the narrator throughout.
There would be considerable interest in this program from both younger and older students. It would be useful in a Study in Depth of Ancient Egypt and in a study of New Kingdom burial customs. It would contribute an interesting perspective to a Case Study of Deir el-Medina.
Dr Denis Mootz
NBB: PREVIEWING ESSENTIAL:
Adult themes and references.
Includes a description of impaling.
Stop the video programs at the end of each section.
Allow students to share and discuss answers to the questions below.
Note the terms in which tomb robbing is described.
Note the protagonists in this ancient “cat and mouse game “.
Note the tactics of both parties involved.
Note the “crime wave” occurring in 1200 BCE.
Note details of Paneb the “notorious” tomb robber.
How has Paneb avoided being disturbed as he works? Implications?
What was the punishment for tomb robbery?
What were the potential rewards?
Why was the desert of Egypt “filled with treasure”?
Why did the living “stock up on staples” before their death? Result?
How secret were these tombs?
Why did Pharaohs guard against tomb robbery?
Note the location of Meidum.
Note details of the pyramid built there.
Note the description of the break-in from Salima Ikram. Implications? Result?
What was the “big pay off” in the tomb?
Note the “frozen moment in time”. Significance?
In what sense were pyramids “ancient billboards”? Result?
What solution did the Pharaohs adopt in 1400 BCE?
Note the location of the Valley of the Kings.
How were the tombs made safe?
What was the “problem” now? Result?
What was Paneb’s actual job?
Note Paneb’s background. Result?
Note the role of the village of Deir el-Medina?
In what sense were the men of Deir el-Medina trusted?
Note Dr Sally Katary’s description of the village and its surrounds.
Why do we know so much about this village?
Note details of the life of the workers at Deir el-Medina. Result? Implications?
What was Paneb’s ambition? Implications? Result?
Who kept a detailed record of these events?
How did Paneb plan to “cash in” now? Result?
How did Paneb set up the ultimate “inside job”? Result?
Note the items usually stolen.
Where were these things sold? Implications?
How were silver and gold “moved”?
Note details of the “heist of a lifetime”.
What obstacles had tomb architects devised previously? Result?
Note how the granite portcullis or blocking stone was “lowered”. Result?
How were tomb walls turned into “threats”? Result?
Note Dr Robert Ritner’s explanation of the “goose curse”. Implications?
Note the other curses quoted. Result? Implications?
Why did tomb robbers “hack-out” the faces of tomb owners?
How would successful tomb robbers consider curses?
How did Paneb “define brazen”? Result?
Note Paneb’s new target.
How do we know all these details?
Note Paneb’s preparations? Results?
Note what Paneb stole from Seti 11 Result? Implications?
Who was the chief witness against Paneb?
Why did tomb robbing become “more popular” after 1150 BCE? Result?
Why was the reign of Rameses111 a difficult time?
What caused the uprising at Deir el-Medina? Implications? Result?
Note events in the Valley of the Kings in 1070 BCE. Result?
Why were the robbed mummies “broken” and hacked?
Why were the royal priests “horrified”? Result?
Where was the new capital of Egypt?
What radical new technology was used now in tombs? Result?
Note details of “sand hydraulics”. Result?
How did these shaft tombs “fight back”? Result?
When was the mummy “cache” discovered? How?
How did Ahmed el-Rasul find the crevasse that hid the cache? Result?
Note what was in the cache with the mummies. Result?
Note the location of Qurna.
How were tombs found “by accident” by the villagers? Result?
Why was there a “demand”? Result?
What was a “chimney tomb”?
How did the Rasul brothers identify the location of these tombs? Result?
How was their find eventually uncovered? Result?
Note events of 1881. Result?
Why was it necessary to keep this discovery “quiet”? Result?
Note the reaction of the local Egyptians to the relocation of the Pharaohs.
Why was there now controversy? Result?
Why was the cache reopened in 1998? Result?
Note the fate of Paneb.
What were his “crimes”? Result?
Note details of the tomb Paneb built for himself.
What did “justice” mean for the ancient Egyptians? Result?
Why were criminal’s “names” eradicated? Result?
Why has tomb robbery continued in Egypt today? Result? Implications?
Note the reference to the irony of the immortality of the displaced Pharaohs.
Useful, interesting, challenging, materials can be found at the websites below.
These sites are not recommended as definitive sources.
They need to be read critically and evaluated before being used for note making.
The evidence collected here should supplement and complement the notes made during the video program. Both should be used in the notemaking exercise that follows.
New Kingdom Egypt:
Valley of the Kings:
Mummy cache (TT320):
Antiquities “black market”:
This is the collation stage of the activity.
Encourage students to compose the suggested summaries and to organise the field of information and begin to explore its context.
This activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.
1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.
2. Note details of the evolution of Egyptian tombs.
3. Note details of the precautions taken against tomb robbers.
4. Note details of the Valley of the Kings.
5. Note details of the village of Deir el-Medina.
6. Note details of the work of the villagers of Deir el-Medina.
7. Note details of the life and career of the overseer Paneb.
8. Note details of tomb robbery both ancient and modern
9. Note details of the discovery and recovery of the mummies from TT320 (DB320).
ISSUES & INQUIRY.
Address and discuss the key issues and questions that have been raised by the video at this stage.
Some are suggested below. Students will probably raise others.
1. How were tombs usually protected against robbery?
2. When were most tombs robbed?
PROBLEMS of EVIDENCE.
It is necessary always to address questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the documentary and other sources. These need to be considered, tested and researched. Some are suggested below. Students will probably raise others.
1. What evidence is there of curses to protect tombs and punish robbers?
2. How do we know so much about the “crimes” of Paneb?
Use the key issues and inquiry questions as topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical recount and explanation.
Be imaginative. A report, or debate notes, could be a digital “essay” of slides and text…or any other IT application available.
1. Write a REPORT on “chimney tombs” and “sand hydraulics”.
2. Prepare notes (both sides) for a DEBATE of the proposition that Tomb robbery reflects the wretched life that ordinary Egyptians must have lived.
3. How did tomb builders attempt to overcome the problems of tomb robbery?