Tomb Robbery – Nigel Strudwick
Tuesday 13th June 2017
The mechanics and practice of Egyptian Tomb Robbery
A view from Ancient Thebes
Textual and archaeological evidence for the Indiana Joneses of the past
University of Cambridge
Tomb robbery is often said to be one of the oldest professions in the world. Everyone knew in Egypt that goods of varying amounts and values were buried with the dead, and sooner or later it is almost inevitable that people wanted to profit from it. My interest in tomb robbery started almost 30 years ago when I started excavating the tombs of Thebes (modern Luxor), and so I began to investigate the processes behind it. Probably the best information from Egypt comes from Thebes, from which we have a remarkable set of Tomb Robbery papyri which tell us about what happened at the end of the New Kingdom (c. 1100 BC). And we also have the evidence: smashed burials, ransacked tombs, with damage done at all period from the Second Millennium BC to the modern era. This talk will look at both the written and the archaeological sources, introduce us to some of the tomb robbers and what they were looking for, and also show us what the sources tell about the place of tomb robbery in the economic and social life of ancient Thebes.
Nigel Strudwick is an Egyptologist whose interests lie in the Old Kingdom and in the archaeology and history of Thebes. He has worked in universities and museums, and has excavated on the West Bank of Thebes since 1984. He has published many books and articles on these topics, including publications of Theban tombs as well as more popular works such as Thebes in Egypt with Helen Strudwick.
MUSEO EGIZIO, Conference Hall