Lost Army Found

Sometimes, submerged beneath the mountain of Celebricrap™, a genuine news story can startle and amaze.

Recently it’s been revealed that a pair of Italian of archaeologists has uncovered what may be the remains of a 50,000 strong army sent by Persian King Cambyses II to attack the Temple of Amun in the 6th Century B.C. The Greek historian Herodotus, sometimes called “The Father of History” wrote in The Histories about the doomed campaign which was launched in order to silence the Oracle at the temple who was getting a bit uppity and claiming that Cambyses II had no right to rule a conquered Egypt.

According to Herodotus, as the army made its way across the desert to attack the temple…

A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear

The passage was often regarded as a myth until Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni, intrigued by Bedouin tales of “a field of bones” near the oasis of Siwa, spotted a large rock formation that could have acted as a shelter during a sandstorm. A search with metal detectors revealed some tantalising clues, a bronze dagger and arrowtips dating to the period

We are talking of small items, but they are extremely important as they are the first Achaemenid objects, thus dating to Cambyses’ time, which have emerged from the desert sands in a location quite close to Siwa

The brothers then hypothesised the route taken by the army was different to that supposed by many previous explorers and surveyed the area finding desiccated water sources and artificial wells made of hundreds of water pots buried in the sand. Then, following the Bedouin stories that certain wind conditions revealed the “field of bones” they searched once the Khamsin, the hot, strong and unpredictable Saharan south-easterly wind, was blowing and found thousands of bleached skeletal remains.

We learned that the remains had been exposed by tomb robbers and that a beautiful sword which was found among the bones was sold to American tourists

Piero Pruneti, editor of Archeologia Viva, Italy’s most important archaeology magazine, found the discovery of major importance.

Judging from their documentary, their hypothesis of an alternative route is very plausible. Indeed, the Castiglioni’s expeditions are all based on a careful study of the landscape…An in-depth exploration of the area is certainly needed.

We await the results of further expeditions with keen anticipation

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3 Responses

  1. I love that there’s still stuff to discover.

  2. […] by DrThrottling Given our recent interest in archaeology here at The Notes after we reported on Lost Army Found I felt I had to post this video of the Pyramids at […]

  3. […] Further Reading at The Notes: We’re keen on a bit of archaeology here. Here’s a link to another interesting story – Lost Army Found […]

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