- March 3, 2006 -

LUXOR - Journalists are always looking for scoops. When they have nothing to say (for them, an adaptation of an Egyptian saying: "Whom god loves more is the man of few words"), they have the tendency to create them. Especially in archaeology.
An Italian journalist, who more than one time crossed my path and always pretends to know something more than others, reported that we have discovered a previously unknown tomb. In his article he was also stating that I had given the news of the sensational discovery during a press conference in Rome that, according him, would have had taken place the same day I was in my home town, more than one hundred miles north of Rome. Did he dream this? I do not know. I only can assume that he distorted the reality of the facts for his own purposes. That was at the beginning of January. Nothing happened at first. Then that same news was reported by an Italian pseudo-egyptological internet site and, from there, it reached every corner of the world. At this point, I started to receive congratulations for the sensational discovery from friends and acquaintances. I believe they were confusing the discovery of KV 63 with me because of the fact that I taught at the University of Memphis last year. But when the messages of congratulations became too conspicuous to be ignored, I made some researches and I found the article of the Italian journalist. I called him and he agreed to write a letter of retraction. But the news continues to spread all over the world and I am now forced to write something at this regard.
The journalist took the inspiration for his "scoop" from a page (December 1st, 2005) of the diary that I have been writing since 2000 on internet. In that page I wrote that we had entered "a new tomb". The Tomb is that of Uahibre-neb-pehty (TT 191: since when did undiscovered tombs have already a number?). We had been required to dismantle the wall blocking the tomb because it opens onto the entrance portico of the Tomb of Harwa which we were excavating. We entered the tomb and subsequently walled it up again the same day. It should be noted that the Tomb of Uahibra-neb-pehty has always been accessible from the courtyard of the Tomb of Kheruef through a break in the wall. The plan of the tomb of Uahibre-neb-pehty can be found in the 1st Edition of Porter and Moss and in the book by Dieter Eigner on the Tombs of the 26th Dynasty. It did not seem to me to be an undiscovered tomb. But what I had considered to be a necessary act had been transformed into a sensational news story by the careless pen (or computer) of a journalist. That is, the story that I had discovered an already discovered tomb. And, if I may speak the truth, I am not really interested in discovering an undiscovered tomb. I am more than satisfied with the task of excavating, studying and recovering the Tomb of Harwa. If I will be able to accomplish that task, I think I will be ten thousands times better rewarded by that than by the discovery of ten undiscovered tombs.