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Monday, January 7, 2008

What a great opening shot! Today is our day, all day, at Giza, the unparalleled pyramid site of the Fourth Dynasty. With the great pyramid of Khufu in the background, Cassandra, Alexa, Shaina, and Harvey stand on a queen’s pyramid to have Will take their picture.
On a pyramid at Giza

Ashlyn and Ashley at Giza
Megan, Ashlyn and the Sphinx

Ashlyn and Ashley (this could get confusing) choose to pose with the second pyramid of Khephren in the background, while Megan and Ashlyn pick the great Sphinx. So many monuments; so little time.

Our first full group pic, with both the Sphinx and the Khephren pyramid as our setting. What could be bad, and now we are about to have a treat.

Group shot at Giza

Dr. Zahi Hawass
Shania, Dr. Bryan and Dr. Hawass

We are allowed down into the Sphinx amphitheatre between the great paws of the colossal beast where we are met by none other than Dr. Zahi Hawass, the best known Egyptologist in the world. Shaina nearly faints at the sight of the man she has dreamed of meeting for many years.

Dr. Hawass speaks to the students

Dr. Hawass speaks to the group

Dr. Hawass spoke to us for nearly half an hour about the excavation work being conducted at the Giza plateau area, and as ever his excitement enthralled all who listened. Tourists were leaning over the barricades above us to catch of glimpse of the great Egyptian celebrity, but we were the ones privileged to hear highly interesting and impressive archaeological information, much of it new and as yet unpublished.

Dr. Zahi Hawass

Group shot with Dr. Hawass at the Sphinx

Of course at the end of the talk we got another group shot – with Dr. Zahi. Then he kindly left us inside the Sphinx enclosure to look on our own and then be given the opportunity to visit monuments such as the Great Pyramid and the Workmen’s cemetery (excavated by Dr. Zahi himself).

Trudging back up the plateau by the Great Pyramid to the Khufu boat museum, where Sarah, Betsy, and Shaina share a little joke about a recent episode of “Digging for the Truth” (which Betsy particularly thinks you should avoid seeing if at all possible).

Walking by the Great Pyramid

In the Boat Museum

Waiting to enter the pyramid

One by one they all entered and climbed up to the burial chamber of Khufu, then returned triumphant. Megan, Hili, and Jen emerge from the visit as the truly initiated, and eventually they all happily resting after their visit to the ancient king’s resting place.

Resting after visiting the burial chamber

Skipping many elite tombs that we visited over the afternoon, we show only our last stop of the day, at the Workmen’s cemetery located just south and east of the pyramids. The tombs are tiny but emulate the larger ones of the Giza burial ground.

At the Workmen's Cemetery

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