On the evening of Wednesday 28 October, the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Washington, DC hosted renowned archaeologist and Egypt’s former Antiquities Minister Dr. Zahi Hawass for a reception and lecture. As one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field, Dr. Zahi Hawass’ distinguished career includes the discovery of the tombs of the Great Pyramid builders, the DNA reconstruction of King Tut’s family tree and extensive explorations of previously unknown chambers and structures built in ancient Giza.
Egypt’s Ambassador to the United States Yasser Reda introduced and welcomed Dr. Hawass with remarks highlighting his groundbreaking scholarship in archaeology and antiquities. He discussed the global imperative for the international community to protect and preserve all archaeological treasures, noting the conference Egypt recently hosted in Cairo with regional and international partners to explore coordinated efforts and forge solutions for protecting antiquities. Ambassador Reda also thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the recent recovery and repatriation of dozens of stolen artifacts as well as National Geographic for its decades of support and contributions to the preservation and promotion of Egypt’s cultural heritage. Ambassador Reda concluded by asserting that Egypt’s ancient civilization is a shared gift to us all and a collective treasure we must protect for all humanity and eternity.
Dr. Zahi Hawass then captivated the audience with an entertaining and authoritative lecture, punctuated by numerous photos derived from his recent excavations in Egypt. He discussed the discovery of King Tut’s family, highlighting ways in which robots, cameras and other forms of modern technology are helping archaeologists in Egypt and across the world to uncover ancient secrets buried deep underground. He told a story about excavating another tomb as Minister of Antiquities, an endeavor in which he had to climb down 460 feet underground and spend nine hours inside a tunnel. He also talked about his team’s attempt to discover whether anything unknown lies below the Sphinx, and told the audience about the time when his team reached a never-before-seen door using a small camera deep inside one of the pyramids. Dr. Hawass also showed pictures from tours that he gave to high-profile visitors, including celebrities Ben Stiller, Hugh Jackman and Megan Fox, as well as former President Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama.
To close the reception, Dr. Hawass awarded three of his signed books to grateful audience members. He also thanked the Embassy and the reception attendees for joining him for his discussion of the “magic of Egypt”—adding that “there is no other country with magic like this!”