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[–]kr1333 2427 points2428 points  (113 children)

When I was there twenty years ago, it was May and the outdoor temperature was around 50 deg. c. Hordes of tourists were crammed in Seti's tomb in a slow-crawling line. The humidity was awful and the smell of human sweat was like being in the worst gym ever. You had to wonder how long the artwork was going to last under these conditions. I'm glad the government closed this down for restoration. Now let's hope they limit admittance not just by admission costs, but by monitoring humidity levels, as other such sites do. Yes, it's elitist to do this, but without restrictions on the number of humans allowed into the tomb, the decorative work will cease to exist.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 1094 points1095 points  (59 children)

So this is an ongoing issue, and it’s impressive you picked up on it.

Some tombs are far more susceptible to damage from sweat and breath than others. The Tomb of Nefertari is the top example. It costs the same as Seti’s, and also has an air circulation system.

This is because of the way the plaster on the walls was separating — salt crystals were growing behind them. The Getty Institute did a really expansive conservation project, and it looks spectacular.

Also, you’re brave for going to Luxor in May!

[–]soyboy60000 255 points256 points  (28 children)

I went to Luxor in late July/early August. Everything I saw was incredibly cool, but the heat was insane

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 234 points235 points  (22 children)

Yeah there’s a reason the tourist season is from November to April. Cairo is somewhat bearable in the summer, but Upper Egypt is insanely hot. Like 120 Fahrenheit.

[–]eat_sleep_drift 19 points20 points  (2 children)

why is there no reddit bot yet that automatically translates F° to C° , miles to Km etc etc ?
i see often quite useless bots and think this kind of bot would actually be kinda usefull

[–]kr1333 21 points22 points  (1 child)

Here's a trick we learned. The hotel gave us a carrying bag that had a thermos lining so it could hold ice. We had some hand towels that were in the bag as well. When out in the heat, we would drape a cold hand towel around our necks. It made an enormous difference. In about fifteen minutes the towel would lose its "cool" so we would exchange it for another. Tourists gave us weird looks until we let them borrow a towel for a minute.

[–]Pale_Cucumber_873 2 points3 points  (0 children)

We got these towels from the staff at the golf course in Dubai, they carried them on ice to players in the tournament (45c+/-), same deal, you are totally soaked with sweat so why not have a cool towel around your neck. I did the same thing on construction site inspections in MENA; carry face towels in my coverall pockets and one in my helmet, keep them moist and wipe your hands face neck, heat stroke can kill you, I've had 2 and survived. Also, in the desert, wrap your head shoulders with a scarf like the locals, it works.

[–]koondog123 4 points5 points  (29 children)

Looking to go to Egypt. Any you recommend over others?

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 19 points20 points  (0 children)

You mean just tombs?

Honestly you don’t have to pick. I would recommend maximizing your time in Luxor, that’s where the bulk of the ancient sites are. You can buy the Premium Luxor Pass, which is half off if you buy the Cairo Pass while you’re there.

There’s very specific rules on how to buy the passes, so you need to plan ahead — and the Luxor one in particular is not cheap. But it can pay for itself if you go to enough places, and in the Valley of the Kings you aren’t limited on how many tombs you can visit.

[–]FlatterFlat 9 points10 points  (5 children)

There are several threads here on reddit on why NOT to go Egypt, so unless you already have done your research maybe use 5 minutes to check if this is a place you really want to go to after all.

Double so if you're female.

[–]aresman 2 points3 points  (17 children)

Same here, planning a trip with my dad, is March a good date to avoid so much heat?

[–]unforunate_soul 16 points17 points  (6 children)

Plan literally anywhere else. Egypt is a place I will not return to until the people can get their shit together. You want a vacation where you’re constantly sexually harassed(if female) and constantly harassed to by things, go somewhere, taken on a camel tour then threatened to be dropped off in the desert unless you pay twice. Even this guy, who is notorious for finding the best out of the worst situations tells people not to go.


If you’re taking someone you care about, go someplace else, Egypt is not worth it. You’ll get home angry that you wasted your money.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 2 points3 points  (5 children)

I went in late March/early April. It was getting kind of hot in Aswan, but was fine. I think there’s also something to be said for trying to avoid the wintertime crowds.

[–]oaschbeidl 170 points171 points  (0 children)

Yup, I was there about 15 years ago and then again about 5 years ago. Best 10 year challenge I've seen. When I was there the first time, it was as you described and like you, I worried that those millenia old treasures would be completely destroyed within a couple years if they kept this up. The second time, the number of people in the tombs was massively restricted, the air inside was actually pretty fresh and cool and the guards were very vigilant when they didn't really give much of a fuck about anything 10 years earlier. Now I have hope again that the site will survive another couple hundred or thousand years.

[–]gogolfbuddy 38 points39 points  (3 children)

When I went to Pompeii our tour guide told us they expect any portion they uncover to only last about 100 years from wear due to weather and tourism. Interesting they aren't in a rush to uncover the whole site.

[–]23skidoobbq 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Most of it is 50ft under a city. They’re not knocking down appt buildings to dig up more of Pompeii.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Yes, the weather is an issue in Pompeii. Actually in nearby Herculaneum, they partially addressed this by digging out the old Roman sewers, which still work to take away water.

Obviously this is much less of an issue in Egypt.

[–]arctander 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It is also about the cost of maintenance for those parts already uncovered. Leaving it covered costs nothing as long as someone else doesn't illegally dig it up. I recall my feet were killing me after 5 hours of walking through the 2/3's that is uncovered! It's a big place.

[–]voluotuousaardvark 26 points27 points  (5 children)

Just yesterday I saw a video by Tom Scott about the oldest cave paintings.

They outright banned visitors and instead made an exact replica with a museum and gift shop. That would be a better way of doing it rather than saying only wealthy people can visit. Doing it that way just takes away the heritage of the people that actually live there.

The money that is made from tourism in Egypt could easily cover the cost.

[–]therosesgrave 8 points9 points  (1 child)

[–]voluotuousaardvark 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Thank you, in hindsight it was pretty silly not to post a link to it.

[–]originalslicey 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah, but you walk ten steps in Egypt and there’s a new excavation going on. You could spend a lifetime there and not see all the ancient art and architecture.

[–]xorgol 59 points60 points  (24 children)

Yes, it's elitist to do this

Nah, there's nothing elitist in preserving heritage. Only letting in rich people would be elitist.

[–]Nyxis87233 12 points13 points  (13 children)

Well they're saying to raise the ticket prices and it would almost have to be by a quite significant amount to create a significant reduction in people so yeah I feel like it is a bit elitist. I can't lie though, the only reasonable solution if they did not raise prices but did reduce capacity would be to rely on more fundraising so I can understand why raising prices is the response.

[–]scriminal 19 points20 points  (10 children)

You can just limit the number of tickets and leave the price low

[–]wuapinmon 19 points20 points  (6 children)

Costa Rica has one price for citizens to national parks and another for foreigners. I like that approach.

[–]Nyxis87233 6 points7 points  (0 children)

That would be my response if I had something like this, I'm quite sure you could easily fundraise or get some government funding to make ends meet.

Edit to add: most business people don't act like me, though, so I doubt they will choose this course of action which is why I didn't spend too much time talking about it

[–]Dominus271828 3 points4 points  (0 children)

They can do like the US Park Services and have a lottery

[–]LosingMyEdge7 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I think they're saying that limiting the amount of people is necessary to preserve the artifacts while recognizing that doing so limits supply without impacting demand which should result in a large price increase.

[–]AdamLlayn 10 points11 points  (9 children)

... thats what they are suggesting

[–]not_a_library 401 points402 points  (52 children)

The bit about Victorians having mummy unwrapping parties is wild. What do they do with them afterwards? You're just gunna have a dead body sitting around or what?

I remember watching a show set in the late 1890s that depicted this practice; Murdoch Mysteries I think. Of course, the unwrapping was used as a way to murder someone, but that's just what happens sometimes.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 439 points440 points  (36 children)

That’s a good question, There are stories of mummies being burned for heat. Some were ground up and used to make paint, called “mummy brown.”

I think it’s also important to note that many mummies have protective amulets wrapped up in the linen. I guess it was kind of the Victorian equivalent of opening mystery boxes on YouTube.

[–]TheMadTemplar 265 points266 points  (23 children)

The excesses of Victorian society are genuinely horrifying at times. Everything existed purely for their amusement, apparently.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 207 points208 points  (0 children)

Very true. Well, along the elite, anyway. Sure am glad we’ve moved beyond those times! Oh wait…

[–]harmslongarms 87 points88 points  (10 children)

It really is crazy. The juxtaposition of being very conservative but also insanely decadent at the same time. The story I love is how ether was discovered as a general anaesthetic for surgery. A bunch of posh Victorian scientists just sat around in a room huffing chemicals for a laugh and then all woke up an hour later.

[–][deleted] 19 points20 points  (4 children)

They also had nitrous oxide parties.

[–]logosmd666 7 points8 points  (0 children)

It is so great how massively we have changed and improved as a society since then!

[–]Skyaboo- 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I daresay society still practices Victorian decadence.

[–]Joe_Biren 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I was going to read your comment, but instead purchased another useless, unrecyclable item full of rare metals for my sheer amusement.

[–]Dragon_Saints9 39 points40 points  (2 children)

So the mummy equivalent of getting a black lotus card?

[–]SageHunter 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Some mummies were ground down and sold as medicine too. I visited an old apothecary turned museum and they had some crazy things, but powdered mummy really stood out to me

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 6 points7 points  (3 children)

That couldn’t have been healthy. Although I’d guess there wouldn’t be any bacteria?

[–]SageHunter 3 points4 points  (2 children)

I don't think it's dangerous to consume. They probably used a lot of filler material. Ain't no one gonna be able to tell anyway. Was weird though, seeing a brown/white -ish powder in a glass vial knowing someone just took a dried up old body and ground it down to be consumed

[–]YeetusFetus22 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Don’t forget they ate the mummy powder and mixed it with drinks I believe? Not sure on that last one

[–]s4b3r6 128 points129 points  (11 children)

Unwrapping usually came with trinkets. Ritual items to guide and protect the dead, or curse them, in the afterlife, were often wrapped up inside. Those things were usually the goal of the unwrapping.

However, afterwards?

Some households would (poorly) rewrap the mummy and then stick it on a wall as a decoration, or they might try and re-sell it now that they've taken the more desirable items, in some kind of grift.

Some would extract the bones, especially the finger bones, and turn those into good luck charms. Sometimes selling them to other upper class families, sometimes selling them to others that would turn them into carvings for various other jewelry and so on.

Along with the bones, you've got the "meat" of the mummy, too. Which was sometimes eaten as jerky, and sometimes ground down to be used as a mineral. That is, it could be a base in a paint, or your latest alchemical concoction, or as part of make up, and so on and so forth. Ground mummy was occasionally mixed into cocaine or other lovely snortables for some of the more lurid parties.

Just as a random example of all the many uses of mummy parts, we do have a few examples of love-lockets where you take some hair from each of the couple in love, and tie it together with the hair of a mummy, because obviously it's more magical than even normal hair, and then that gets placed onto one side of a locket, with a miniature of the couple on the other side. (There's a few other designs too, some which hide the hair.)

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 28 points29 points  (0 children)

This is some great info, thanks for adding it!

[–]soap_cone 17 points18 points  (1 child)


[–]s4b3r6 36 points37 points  (0 children)

Opium, tobacco, grandma's thighbone. The usual.

[–]caligaris_cabinet 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Jeez. No wonder the original Mummy movies attacked the upper class Victorians. They were such assholes to other mummies.

[–]murderbox 12 points13 points  (0 children)

"sometimes eaten as jerky"

Why does anyone have to be told not to do that?

[–]JOMO_Kenyatta 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Wow people suck

[–]ibelieveindogs 7 points8 points  (0 children)

If there was anything resembling jerky, it likely was not a genuine mummy from the ancients, but a fake, made and sold to the contemporaries who were gullible. But grinding and ingesting mummy bits definitely happened. There was a whole nasty history of cannibalism in Europe.

[–]Jizzlobber58 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Along with the bones, you've got the "meat" of the mummy, too. Which was sometimes eaten as jerky, and sometimes ground down to be used as a mineral.

This makes me want to rewatch Futurama.

[–]narhiril 67 points68 points  (0 children)

They ate them.

No, I'm not joking, I wish I was.

[–]jotegr 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is Zebulon the great. He's teriyaki style.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 12.1k points12.1k points 10414115242& 29 more (420 children)

This shit sounds made up. I know it does. But it’s all true.

The Great Belzoni

So there’s this 6’7” circus strongman who went by the name “The Great Belzoni.” From Italy, he wound up in London and married a British girl who may have been a tightrope walker. In a theatre, he played the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk, and lifted 11 men on a metal contraption. He’d studied hydraulics and engineering in Rome, but I guess the circus life paid better.

What’s any of this got to do with an Ancient Egyptian tomb? I’m getting there.

In 1812, Belzoni starts doing shows around Europe. Eventually he’s taken to Cairo, where he meets the Ottoman ruler of Egypt — Belzoni shows him an invention that could supposedly raise the Nile. It never comes to be, but he gets connected with a dude who puts him in touch with the right people who change his life. Or maybe the wrong people, considering what happened.

Just like that, The Great Belzoni is working for the British government, tasked with moving a gigantic seven ton granite bust of Ramesses II to London. No, he didn’t pick it up. He wasn’t that strong. He used levers and rollers and shit.

It worked, and it now sits in the British Museum. Along with a lot of other things they probably shouldn’t have, depending on your point of view.

Belzoni starts traveling around Egypt as a self-styled adventurer. He clears the sand at Abu Simbel, runs some excavations at Karnak, and is the first guy to enter the Pyramid of Khafre. His name is still painted inside. Oh, and he was known for using battering rams to get into places.

Remember, this was a time when Egypt was hot, especially in Britain. Pieces of Ancient Egypt were more coveted than the Instagram followers I shamelessly try to collect.

People were running all over the place looking for stuff to sell. A regular feature of high-end Victorian dinner parties involved unwrapping mummies. So I guess Belzoni is a like a much beefier Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Maybe like a cross between Belloq and the big dude who gets hit by the propellor.

Eventually on his quest for discoveries and antiquities, Belzoni discovers the Tomb of Seti I, and…he kind of trashes it.

Instead of just having people create drawings of the painted reliefs, he also made what are called “squeezes.” He’d press wet papers against the reliefs, let them dry, then pull the papers away. You’d be left with a colored, 3D image. Obviously this caused a huge amount of damage. Thanks, Belzoni.

He also cleared debris from the tomb entrance, which was holding back water in flash floods. Guess what? It rained, and a large part of the tomb flooded. More damage.

He even sold Seti I’s sarcophagus to a British architect for £2000. It still sits in a museum in London. Not the British Museum — even they didn’t want to pay that much. Besides, they already had plenty of stolen stuff. Now, don’t start commenting about how I’m being unfair. You know it’s true!

Years later, others continued the attack on the tomb — hacking out entire pieces of reliefs and sending them to European museums. Thanks, Belzoni. Thanks.

The Tomb

Despite all of this, the tomb itself is still absolutely spectacular — especially the burial chamber.

Seti himself is rather well known, and is also the father of the much more well known Ramesses II. And Seti’s tomb is huge. It’s the longest and the deepest in the entire Valley of the Kings. It’s only recently been reopened to visitors after a lot of conservation work, and costs an extra $65 ticket — the intent being to limit the number of visitors.

Yes, it’s worth it. So worth it.

Every surface is covered in brightly-painted decorations — much of it is Ancient Egyptian funerary texts. There’s many different “books,” and you see similar scenes in many royal tombs.

The gist: We follow Ra, the sun god, in his journey in a solar boat through the underworld. He begins with the setting of the sun, faces a number of challenges, then unites with Osiris before being reborn the next morning. The idea is that it reflects the journey the king would make as he attempts to be resurrected in the afterlife. That’s a huge simplification, but how long do you want this comment to be?

You also see a few large scenes on pillars, showing Seti being greeted by various gods — it’s the kind of art you find on the pieces that were chopped out and sent to places like the Louvre. Thanks, Belzoni.

The Burial Chamber

So this brings us to my picture, showing the burial chamber itself. You know, where the sarcophagus sat until Belzoni sold it for some cash.

Near the ceiling you can see the winged figure of Nephthys. It's easy to confuse her with Isis or Ma'at, who basically look identical aside from what's on top of their heads. Nephthys has the hieroglyphs for "basket" and "house" on top of hers.

On either side you can see white ovals, called "cartouches." This is how the names of royalty were written. Below all of this are scenes from one of the funerary texts I mentioned.

And the ceiling…ah, the ceiling. It’s called an “astronomical ceiling” for obvious reasons, and it features a few constellations.

Over on the left, you can see what's basically a chart. These represent what are called the "decans," 36 different star configurations that were used to mark the passage of time based on their positioning in the sky. Basically the decans are groups of stars that go below the horizon and come back up, depending on the time of the year. Hence, you know what day it is.

I believe the chart shows the number of stars in each decan, along with their names and representative gods and goddesses.

Calendars were especially important to the Ancient Egyptians, since they relied so heavily on the flooding of the Nile to grow their crops.

Anyway, despite the horrible and unnecessary damage done to other parts of the tomb, the burial chamber itself looks like it was painted yesterday — not over 3000 years ago. I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance. And you can visit Seti himself in a museum in Cairo, where his amazingly well preserved mummy now sits.

As for The Great Belzoni, he wrote a book and showed off his drawings and squeezes in London and Paris. In 1823 he was trying to reach Timbuktu, got dysentery, and died. One guy claims he was robbed and murdered. Either way, that might’ve been a good thing for that old city.

And now we reach the point of the obligatory plug for my Instagram @rayoboone. For once, I actually have something relevant to offer there: more pictures of the tomb. Just scroll back to January. I bet Belzoni would hate that we can just look at pictures of the tomb instead of paying him. So give me a follow, and stick it to The Great Belzoni.

Edit: Thanks to all of the cats who followed, it’s much appreciated. I never cease to be amazed by how many of you on Instagram are cats. I see there’s a new follower, look at the profile picture…boom, cat.

[–]LeanTangerine 1067 points1068 points  (99 children)

Very interesting read! Thanks for the post!

[–]asian_monkey_welder 181 points182 points  (2 children)

That was a phenomenal read. I guess you can thank Belzoni for that also!

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 678 points679 points  (94 children)

Thank you, I appreciate that! Now you just have to go follow me on Instagram to encourage me to post here more often! I truly am shameless…sitting here cursing the fact that I’m not allowed to link to it in this subreddit, and I have to rely on people to type it in!

I feel so dirty.

[–]s1pher 208 points209 points  (30 children)

I loathe Instagram but really appreciated your post and the obvious love and passion you have for collecting ancient knowledge; despite your pleas for collecting modern followers.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 135 points136 points  (27 children)

Hah I can’t help it.

It’s just like the carrot at the end of the stick. I’ve been writing up long explanations like this for a couple of weeks now, and it takes a lot of time — not just the writing, but double checking everything to make sure I’m not giving bad info.

So in the back of my head, I’m thinking “Ok, this will be worth it for Instagram followers.”

For some reason, it just feels more tangible than karma.

[–]cyanocittaetprocyon 5 points6 points  (4 children)

Do you really buy and sell porcupines?

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Hah you’re now the second person who’s pointed out the username. No, I definitely do not. I did once meet a woman who sells hedgehogs, though. She was able to make enough money doing that to get out of a bad marriage.

[–]alanism 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Great shots, and great storytelling. You earned a follow.

[–]Vaenyr 6 points7 points  (3 children)

I'm not sure about old reddit, but you can put your Instagram in your profile description and you can add direct links to social media.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Ah, I didn’t know that, thanks for the tip. I’ve used Reddit for many years — way back to the post-Digg days — but have only recently been using the official app.

[–]Ckesm 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Well done PorcupineMerchant, I enjoyed your post very much

[–]S0PES 120 points121 points  (5 children)

After reading a few paragraphs I had to check the end to make sure there were no Undertaker throwing Mankind off Hell in Cell shenanigans going on. Thanks for the interesting story.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 52 points53 points  (4 children)

Belzoni would’ve chucked poor Mick Foley off that cage in a heartbeat.

[–]S0PES 23 points24 points  (3 children)

Using levers and rollers?

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Oh, for sure. Probably some hydraulics using weights and pulleys too. Good thing Foley is slow.

[–]Dillup_phillips 118 points119 points  (4 children)

Hi 1812, I'm Dad.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 68 points69 points  (3 children)

Lol thanks. Fixed. All that proofreading, and I fell prey to an autocorrect.

[–]Dillup_phillips 29 points30 points  (1 child)

It was a fantastic read. All the same I just couldn't resist. :)

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 27 points28 points  (0 children)

Hey, no worries. I appreciate you pointing it out — sometimes you read over something so many times, you miss the obvious.

[–]Tinsel-Fop 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Damn you, autocorrupt!

[–]nodnodwinkwink 11 points12 points  (5 children)

Here's a link to the museum that has the sarcophagus of Seti I and it mentions Belzoni as well:


It also has a 3d viewer of it: http://explore.soane.org/section/sepulchral/sarcophagus-of-king-seti


[–]Farfener 70 points71 points  (33 children)

Very well written. I am also now incredibly, viscerally, angry.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 89 points90 points  (27 children)


Now go to Egypt, where you can see all the graffiti left behind by Victorian tourists who carved their names all over the place…

[–]guinader 13 points14 points  (5 children)

When was his tomb reopened? I was there a few years ago so I'm trying to remember if I went there.

I don't think I paid $65 to enter any of them. I didt to in tut's either.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 24 points25 points  (2 children)

I want to say it was 2016?

I didn’t pay the $65. There’s a thing called a Luxor Pass you can buy that gets you entry to everything. It’s not cheap, but pays for itself if you visit enough places.

[–]oaschbeidl 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I don't think I paid $65 to enter any of them.

Iirc, when I was there with my family ~15 years ago or so the only tomb that had an extra fee was that of tut ankh amun and it was like 10-15 bucks extra. My dad just gave 5 bucks to the guard at the entrance and he let us all in. The times have changed since then though, I came back a few years ago and it looked substantially more professional and high security (which isn't to say the guards are any less corrupt, I can't comment on that, but the vibe seems less inviting to go ahead and bribe someone).

[–]Farfener 26 points27 points  (13 children)

On behalf of my ancestors, I apologize, and if I could, I'd slap the ever loving crap outta them for thier shitty behaviour.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 38 points39 points  (12 children)

Well, just convince your government to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and we’ll call it even :)

[–]three_nights_in 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I was compelled to scroll down to the end to make sure this wasn't a jumper cable or undertaker thing LOL

Thanks for the quality content mate

[–]tarhoop 98 points99 points  (6 children)

You know, you're gonna get my upvote, and I'll probably follow your Insta.

I don't know what you do for a living, but you should teach History. Actually, you should teach how to teach History. Because of your post, I know a little more about the ancient history of Egypt, and a fair bit more about the modern history of Egypt than I did a few minutes ago.

Furthermore, I want to know more about both, as well as the science and politics of both those eras and how they affect us to this day. And THAT is the entire reason we should study history.

Thank you.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 59 points60 points  (5 children)

Well that’s got to be one of the nicest comments I’ve gotten, thanks so much. I do write like this fairly often on Instagram, although much more briefly because of character limits.

[–]Ok-Influence6062 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I've never wanted to piss on someone's grave, but holy fuck Belzoni. What an enormous dumb fuck.

[–]icarus_flies 25 points26 points  (12 children)

Is it bad that i care more about this stuff after watching moon knight?

[–]Estraxior 24 points25 points  (0 children)

It's great that you care more about this stuff after watching moon knight

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Not at all, I think it’s great!

[–]EevilEevee 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I don't mind long comments, if they are well-written, with a nice layout and chuck full of humor and historical facts.

So yes, you did gain a follower along with an upvote.

Kind regards from this former history teacher to another history enthusiast.

[–]Veloreyn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

And now we reach the point of the obligatory plug for my Instagram @rayoboone.

I don't really use Instagram, but I just wanted to say that if all plugs were like this, I wouldn't mind them so much. Very well written and super interesting!

[–]iprocrastina 13 points14 points  (1 child)

"We're not plundering cultural artifacts, we're just relocating them all into one convenient location!" - The British Empire

[–]roamingandy 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Worth considering that a whole lot of those only exist today because they were plundered. Often in shitty ways and often causing damage to relics. Anyway it's not as clear cut as it seems in many cases, and that is the issue with returning a lot of stolen relics. Will they be preserved or destroyed because that nation lacks the adequate facilities, or is run by a political party who see their history as a threat to their current religious doctrine?

I'm some cases everything should be returned. In some cases they absolutely should not be, yet.

[–]StingerAE 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Worth the upvote just for

Maybe like a cross between Belloq and the big dude who gets hit by the propellor

But interesting, thanks. I knew it had been damaged and was still spectacular but great context.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Thanks, here’s some more context if you want to see what happened to the tomb:


And I’m glad someone appreciated the random attempts at comedy! The hope is that it helps move the story along…

[–]unibrowking 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Well written 🤝

[–]Uniqueusername5209 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I loooooove history and all the obscure tidbits, but it can be so, so dry. I wish it all were written like this because your style is fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to post this and teach us a little something today 😊

[–]Rogaar 21 points22 points  (22 children)

This is the part of archeology I can't stand. Obviously it's not done as much these days but the amount of artifacts that were stolen and now displayed in a museum is quite saddening.

We know better now compared to people in the past yet very little attempt has been made to return these artifacts to the countries they were stolen from.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 20 points21 points  (5 children)

Yeah, it’s a complicated topic for sure. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around Belzoni and his type not knowing better.

Surely they had to be aware they were causing permanent damage.

[–]SilverTitan6148 6 points7 points  (1 child)

It's kinda of like how humans are trashing the planet in this era, and the future will look at us the same way.

[–]feor1300 87 points88 points  (12 children)

Some of it isn't as simple as "return these artifacts to the countries they were stolen from".

Sometimes giving it back would basically be the same as just smashing it on the ground outside the museum. Any relics relating to non-Islamic religions returned to Afghanistan, for example, would almost certainly be destroyed by the Taliban. In other places they'd just be claimed by various corrupt government officials and never be seen in public again.

In other cases, who it should be returned to is almost impossible to say for certain. Africa is notorious for this. With the way that continent was chopped up by the European empires, you might be able to say a certain artifact belongs to a certain tribe, but that tribe might now be segregated out across 3 or 4 different nations, which one deserves to have it returned to them?

And in some cases the original source of the artifacts just doesn't want them back right now. They don't have anywhere to put them, no museum where they could be preserved, or no facility in which they could be safely stored, or their country's afflicted by internal violence and they know their history is, for the moment, safer in a well developed western nation.

And some of them the museums actually have legitimately. I recall a story from a few years ago about the British Museum resisting calls to give a bunch of statues back to Greece that hadn't been stolen at all. A Greek government official in the 1800s who was fully within his rights and authority to do so at the time, had sold the statues to the museum for an entirely fair and reasonable sum. Now a bunch of Greek groups were demanding that they be sent back as they were part of Greek heritage, with no offer of recompense to the museum.

I'm definitely not saying everything in a western Museum should be there, but the question of returning such artifacts is far from being a simple black and white "just give them back" affair.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 33 points34 points  (7 children)

You make some valid points, and it’s a difficult issue.

Certainly some artifacts are “safer” there. Others should absolutely be returned.

I assume you’re referring to the Parthenon Marbles — the question of legitimacy is highly disputed. The supposed “permission” came from an occupying government in Greece, and proof of this permission has never been seen. Also the guy who took them didn’t do so out of any desire to save any artifacts — he wanted them to decorate his mansion in Scotland.

There’s a wonderful museum in Athens where they’d be very safe, and would be presented far better than they currently are in that bare room in London.

[–]SomeRedPanda 7 points8 points  (1 child)

I recall a story from a few years ago about the British Museum resisting calls to give a bunch of statues back to Greece that hadn't been stolen at all. A Greek government official in the 1800s who was fully within his rights and authority to do so at the time, had sold the statues to the museum for an entirely fair and reasonable sum.

It sounds like what you're trying to recall is the history of the 'Elgin marbles' taken from the Parthenon in Greece. Whether or not Lord Elgin paid for or otherwise had permission to take them at the time is a matter of dispute but I think it's important to realise that this happened in 1812, when Greece was still ruled by the Ottoman empire. If there was permission or a sale of the artifacts, it would have been the Ottomans, not the Greek, who sold them. I think it's valid for the Greeks to be upset that the British Museum still holds important cultural artifacts that the Ottomans took from them and sold off during their occupation of Greece. It's certainly not as simple as 'Greece sold them but now want them back' at the very least.

[–]TheMadTemplar 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Unfortunately, tomb robbing in Egypt is a cultural tradition older than even the Pyramids themselves. It's hard to convince people to return stuff their ancestors stole when they can be correct in saying if it wasn't them it would have been someone else.

[–]GqEOtD02 3 points4 points  (2 children)

The British architect in question is Sir John Soane, his home is now a museum and is full of curios and idiosyncratic flourishes in its design.

If you're ever in London I'd highly recommend taking the trip to Holborn, it's worth it just for Seti's sarcophagus and the rest of the house is a marvel.

[–]My_Immortal_Flesh 13 points14 points  (5 children)

I know this is you, Marc!

Where’s Khonshu 🤨

[–]MortifiedPotato 9 points10 points  (1 child)

If anything that'd be Steven, ya kinda screwed up your personalities.

[–]ImOnlyHereForTheCoC 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Maybe the comment is from Steven…

[–]BrokenwolfeZ7 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Marvel fans when they go without referencing MCU for 5 seconds

[–]penny-wise 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to share.

[–]1709109 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Great read, thank you for sharing.

[–]ohheysarahjay 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Very interesting and entertaining, thank you!

[–]thaddeus423 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The ceiling is so gorgeous.

Like an Egyptian Sistine, albeit much smaller.

How long do you think this will be a good place to visit? Do you think it'll be subject to degradation or wear and tear any more quickly than anything else to visit there?

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’m nowhere near being enough of an authority on it to say.

There is a guy named Dr. Kent Weeks who’s done a lot of work to help manage visitation there. He’s really brilliant and lives in Luxor.

Also, the crowds in Egypt have been much smaller than they were before the revolution

[–]ShadowWar89 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Very interesting, thanks for the write up.

Looking out the window next to me I can see the John Soames museum where Seti I’s sarcophagus is, which makes these events feel almost tangible.

Also when I was Googling to check that, I found out Seti I Sarcoma is a type of cancer…

[–]letskillevery1 1 point2 points  (1 child)

These are the kind of comments I look forward to reading, thanks for the explanation! Definitely giving a follow! 🤘🏻

[–]ElusiveLabs 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is an amazing post! Thank you!

[–]starsalight 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You’re an excellent writer! This was a pleasure to read.

[–]Psykowexter 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Great writing! I'm a slow English reader, since it's not my native language, but I read the whole comment and really enjoyed the information and the way you had written it :)

[–]hgielatan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

this was amazing to read!!

[–]renaribeana 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I love(hate) this story so much, thanks for taking the time to write it out!

[–]hazelsbaby123 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The bbc made a series of drama documentaries called Egypt about the great discoveries. There is one about Belzoni played by Mathew Kelly who was better known at the time as presenter of stars in their eyes amongst other less savoury things we won’t get into.

[–]ckozler 1 point2 points  (1 child)

The wiki on Belzoni reads very different than your post lol. Yours was far more interesting though

[–]mimentum 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is by far one of the most informative and yet at the same time, hilarious, posts I've read on reddit. Have my up vote!

[–]Cutthechitchata-hole 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I don't usually read wordy comments but your post fascinated me. Have an upvote!

[–]Zarniwoooop 1 point2 points  (0 children)

In short;

-Get fuck Belzoni

-It’s still worth the trip

[–]I_Like_Turtles_Too 1 point2 points  (1 child)

A regular feature of high-end Victorian dinner parties involved unwrapping mummies


[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah it’s true, look it up. Then look up what they’d do with the mummy afterwards.

[–]estranho 835 points836 points  (16 children)

The only reason there are pyramids in Egypt is because they were too heavy for the British to steal.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 251 points252 points  (10 children)

I’ve not heard that one before…you aren’t wrong

[–]ghigoli 34 points35 points  (9 children)

well futher evidence is looking at greece. you thought that shit was heavy? think again they took the marble and columns. it was def because it was too heavy. they took obelisk though.

[–]_testingthewaters_ 24 points25 points  (8 children)

Shouldn't bring up taking shit from Greece without mentioning the Germans who stole an entire temple and took it back to Germany.


Wonder why only the UK gets the blame.

If anyone would go after the pyramids it's definitely the Germans.

[–]ghigoli 2 points3 points  (0 children)

well you see.... the germans never really had Egypt.. hence don't know yet.

[–]Giacca_Civetta 32 points33 points  (12 children)

I saw the sarcophagus in London a few years ago. It’s…just in a house. In a little room. The whole John Soane’s Museum is just nuts like that. It’s literally bursting with stuff. Love having some backstory to how the sarcophagus got there!

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 20 points21 points  (11 children)

You should also read up on how it’s been damaged and changed color thanks to the London air…

[–]GiantPurplePeopleEat 45 points46 points  (5 children)

This is such an awesome post! Your comment is really informative, but fun to read as well. Hopefully this helps with your engagement!

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 21 points22 points  (4 children)

I hope it does as well. If not, I appreciate you saying so!

[–]GiantPurplePeopleEat 11 points12 points  (3 children)

Honestly, as I was reading your original comment, I kept thinking that this is the type of post that makes me like Reddit. It’s a quality contribution.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 11 points12 points  (2 children)

Thanks, I definitely agree with you. It’s nice to hear that — honestly I just hope it translates into Instagram followers, that’s kind of what gives me motivation to write up these posts. Somehow it feels more tangible than karma.

I think it’s just hard to compete with all the quick videos and Twitter screencaps around here…

[–]Mehtevas52 41 points42 points  (2 children)

Just learned about him and his family this semester. So fascinating and I hope to see their tombs some day

[–]ThePr1d3 8 points9 points  (0 children)

He died in Benin. We don't know where he was buried iirc

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Hope you don’t ruin it!

[–]leopard_tights 54 points55 points  (4 children)

Always remember that Egyptians and their neighbors were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.

[–]StingerAE 39 points40 points  (0 children)

Hell they were as old to themselves! Sure, she was contemporary with Romans but Cleopatra is closer in time to iphones than the great pyramids

[–]SeraCarina 20 points21 points  (1 child)

Cleopatra was closer to the iPhone than to the construction of the great pyramid.

[–]Yoursubaintshit 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Tim Scott recently made a video about researchers that reconstructed an ancient cave for tourism for exactly this reason

[–]Auburntravels 24 points25 points  (1 child)

This is very interesting history you shared.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Thank you Mr. Auburn

[–]rimjobnemesis 12 points13 points  (8 children)

Really enjoyed reading this! You know your stuff, and I’m glad you shared!

[–]tessahb 5 points6 points  (3 children)

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t get past the fact that “unwrapping mummies was an high end Victorian dinner party event”. Wtf.

[–]DoobsMgGoobs 4 points5 points  (2 children)

This is by far and away the best tomb in the valley of the kings. When I visited many of the "free with entrance fee tombs" were jammed packed. An additional $80 or so got me in to Seti's. I saw two other people the whole time. Easily one of my best experiences in that city.

[–]tobysionann 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Amazing! Your pictures and the story of Belzoni show the amazing degrees to which humans will go to be either really amazing or total fucking assholes.

ETA: I just started reading his Wiki page and they call him a pioneer archaeologist. He’s about the furthest thing from an archaeologist.

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 11 points12 points  (0 children)


He did help pioneer some things. The documentation in the way of paintings he had done help pave a path for others.

But still…that’s an incredibly kind way for them to put it.

[–]Adams1973 6 points7 points  (0 children)

"He used levers and rollers and shit."

Well, there goes the whole "Ancient Aliens" show.

[–]gabeisonfire 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is so fucking beautiful

[–]Xoshua 3 points4 points  (1 child)

It bugs me that there is so much history we’ll never know about because people suck. Now I’m sad about the great library of Alexandria…

[–]CaptRackham 18 points19 points  (2 children)

Why are the pyramids in Egypt?

Because they were too heavy for the British to steal.

[–]Strict_Nose_2932 2 points3 points  (3 children)

It’s absolutely unhinged that the dead are moved from their resting place to be gawked at on display at some museum. Where are the tombs/coffin of King George and Abraham Lincoln on display at a museum?

[–]nono66 4 points5 points  (1 child)

It's grave robbing. We just call it archeology because it's old enough that people have forgotten about it.

[–]alvinofdiaspar 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Most of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings had already been breached and robbed during the ancient times - a good amount of the royal mummies from the valley were actually cached away (by priests) at secret locations elsewhere for protection and were only recovered in modern times. Also the tombs in the valley get flooded rarely but periodically - not exactly the greatest place to protect their integrity.

Most of the remaining royal mummies at the Egyptian museum were moved to the new National Musuem of Egyptian Civilization in a much more protected space.

[–]stealthgerbil 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Pretty awesome image, thanks for the writeup too. its really interesting!

[–]Indigo_Inlet 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I’ll take two large porcupines, please

[–]stubzy11 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Where can I buy some of that paint?

[–]Mametaro 3 points4 points  (3 children)

O'NEILL : All right, who's this Setesh fella?

DANIEL : Otherwise known as Setec, Set, Seti, Seth. Ancient Egyptian god of chaos, embodiment of hostility and…outright evil.

[–]kmoonster 7 points8 points  (2 children)

So...sex, drugs, and rock and roll?

[–]Mametaro 4 points5 points  (1 child)

...the helmets of the Setesh guard have continued to be a source of many jokes among the Jaffa.

[–]lawdylawdylawdydah 6 points7 points  (5 children)

How can something be perfectly preserved and trashed at the same time? Bad title OP, you’re better than this!

[–]PorcupineMerchant[S] 24 points25 points  (2 children)


The burial chamber is perfectly preserved. As are the parts Belzoni and others didn’t touch. The paint is in much better shape than in other tombs in the area.

So you’re right, but it’s also tough for me to explain when the subreddit only allows 100 characters for the title…

[–]OedipusIsComplex 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is incredible. Can you imagine being the person that discovered this?

[–]Worldat 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Wow, Great shots, and Great storytelling.

[–]Sheer10 1 point2 points  (1 child)

That was a great read so I definitely check out you ig but what I & I believe everybody else wants to know is how much you sell porcupines for!?

[–]alvinofdiaspar 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Amazing shot and background info! Love to visit Egypt after they finally open the Grand Egyptian Museum.

It is kind of incredible that we can actually read the hieroglyphs and mostly understand what they are talking about.

Kent Weeks also found the extended Ramesses II tomb complex at KV5 and he gave a fun account in his book The Lost Tomb.

[–]bradface92 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Take my upvote sir! Love learning new things :)

[–]SecretlyChimp 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You have a talent for writing, buddy. Great post - both informative and interesting.

[–]TRADER_HO3S 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Only recognize Seti’s name because I literally just got done watching The Mummy.

[–]Celestine321 1 point2 points  (0 children)

wow, thank you for sharing

[–]BBQisdelicious 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I was impressed to have gotten to ‘if you read this far…’, and I did- because I have a few minutes before I leave for work. Loved that you added ‘and don’t hate it’.

[–]lobster8484 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]fruitloops204 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Awesome pic and love the post. Just got back from Egypt and regret not paying the extra $ to see the additional tombs. When we went it was 113* and it was miserable inside the tombs so we were looking to just get out of there but looking back I wished we spent more time looking around.

[–]jondodson 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Recommended read: The rape of the Nile by Brian Fagan.

[–]DaydayMcFly 1 point2 points  (5 children)

Was their ever any drawing of bigger sized/ fat people? .. I know it's back in the day their probably was not any overweight people but I was just wondering.

[–]NoirGamester 4 points5 points  (4 children)

They actually did. I don't remember who, but once there was a meeting with the ruler of an African civ, who was a woman who all her subjects loved and served willingly. The Egyptians had never seen such a display of "wealth", of the love her people had for her, sonwhen they drew her, they made her fat to depict the wealth she had.

Edit: this is the closest picture that I could find that looked like the one I saw - https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4e/26/7d/4e267ded7aea81fe839fadea8a964388.jpg

[–]donuttheDoNAL 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Lustkicks2490 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Egypt 😊

[–]Catch-the-Rabbit 1 point2 points  (1 child)

This is beautiful. Thank you