Before Mr. Hawass took the stage, the DMA’s Bonnie Pittman, the Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA, spoke briefly and showed a short video about Dr. Hawass and thanked the underwriters and donors. She then introduced Laura Bush, who introduced Mr. Hawass. I had no idea that Mrs. Bush would be there until I arrived and received my program. This was her first public appearance since leaving the White House and moving to Dallas.
McFarlin Auditorium was packed. People had come from all over to hear Dr. Hawass. The lady next to me had just flown in from Orlando, Florida, and barely made it to her seat before the lights went down. She has been to Egypt and tries to see Dr. Hawass speak when he comes to the United States. Dr. Hawass had to cancel a previous appearance in Atlanta, Georgia, that this woman was going to attend. She said he recognizes her now at book signings. She also says she just cries when she gets something signed and cannot even speak. Some young ladies on my row were anthropology buffs and had read every book he had written. Personally, I like to see Egyptian art (the DMA has very small—extremely small—collection) and I have been to the King Tut exhibition twice (it ends May 17th). I also enjoy the programs on the Discovery Channel that feature Dr. Hawass. So I was pleased to attend and see this man in person.
He did not disappoint. He presented a slide show filled with tons of pictures of what is going on in the Valley of the Kings, Karnak, and near the Pyramids. I even took notes because I didn’t want to forget anything. The first few slides were of a step pyramid and a new discovery of a queen’s sarcophagus (Seshestet, mother of Teti). Another sarcophagus found recently had been broken and then sealed “in situ” at the time it was hidden. Dr. Hawass had many slides of him and his workers in the small tunnels transported by ropes that they use when first finding something. He showed a slide of the first mummification bed found. This bed was used by the ones who prepared the dead bodies for the afterlife. Dr. Hawass wants to find Nefertiti’s tomb and may have an idea of where it might be (under the Director of Antiquities’ office—his—in the Valley of the Kings). They think they might have found Tut’s wife’s tomb. He showed how they had mistaken one mummy of Hatshepsut for the real one and how a tooth was the key. He told of how they have cleaned up and cleared the area around the Pyramids of cars, vendors, and others to make it more enticing for visitors. It is his dream to find Antony and Cleopatra’s tomb in Alexandria. Lastly, he said there would be big announcements in August about the latest findings.