Swansea University Home - 2010 - 2011

Egyptian antiquities crime to be solved 3,700 years later?

How did a band of villains manage to break into and rob an Egyptian pyramid 3,700 years ago without being caught?  This is the question Dr Kasia Szpakowska, Department of History and Classics, will be trying to address as one of the two Egyptologists to be featured on the television special, The Egyptian Job.  She has been chosen to feature on this programme due to her expertise on the area of daily life in Late Middle Kingdom Egypt (the time when Amenemhat III built his pyramid and when it was originally looted).

The topic of the show is particularly germaine today. The Egyptian Revolution that began in January gave rise to a wave of increased looting and stealing of antiquities, bringing increased attention to the ongoing problems of tomb and monument security. Clearly this is an issue that dates back to the time of Ancient Egypt. Whilst the television special is presented as a fun romp in the past, the social issues addressed are ones that continue to play a major role in our understanding of the past and in the creation of public policy for heritage protection.

The programme will be aired on Sunday 19 June at 8pm on the National Geographic Channel (repeated on Monday 20 June at 12 pm and Tuesday 21 June at 7 pm).  Below is the information on the programme issued by the television programmers.

The audacious raid on King Amenemhat III's tomb was one of the biggest heists in ancient history. Now, a crack team of Egypt experts attempts to crack the ancient pyramid busters' methods.

In a theft so slick it went unnoticed until 1888, robbers made off with untold riches taken from the wealthy monarch's burial chamber - dodging guards, sand traps and treacherous dead ends along the way.

Applying historical evidence and forensic testing to the millennia-old crime, sand-searching super-sleuths paint a picture of the clever gang behind the heist, delving into the ancient underworld to find their cast of crooks.

With the robbers facing certain death had they been caught, the key criminal personalities needed for a successful raid are explored in full along with the social factors that may have driven them to undertake their risky plan.

Join the modern-day detectives investigating this dastardly ancient case in the premiere of The Egyptian Job.

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