Again we have our old friend Colonel Howard Vyse at the center of this story.
Ok i will make no bones of what i am going to imply about the disappearance of one of the most finely carved basalt sarcophaguses , and that is that it was sent to a private collector of Egyptian antiquities .
Im going to post some clips of an article of some years ago that mentions some anomalies of the events of that period when Vyse took the sarcophagus .
The news of the loss of the ship was reported in Lloyd’s ‘Loss and Casualty Book.
The entry for Thursday, 31st January 1839 reads: “Beatrice, Wichelo, [the skipper of the vessel], sailed from Alexandria 20th Sept. & from Malta, 13th October for Liverpool, & has not since been heard of”.
Me, one wonders why three weeks passed before this sailing ship set sail for Liverpool.
The vessel, it seems, had simply vanished, and along with it disappeared one of history’s priceless and unique relics – the sarcophagus of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Menkaura,
Me, yes the quality of this sarcophagus was exceptional by all accounts , and as the article says , it was unique and priceless , or maybe someone did put a price on it ?.
Hawass believes the sarcophagus was removed from Egypt illegally. “Stolen by the British in 1837,” he maintains (The Spectator, 17th May 2006).
So did this ship really go down, ?
Peter A. Clayton (Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson, 1994, reprinted 1999): The “ship carrying the sarcophagus sank in a storm in 1838 shortly after leaving Leghorn. Efforts made in recent years using highly sophisticated technical equipment have failed to locate the ship.”
Me, Vyse gives us an excuse in his book as to why he took the sarcophagus.
He says , "“As the sarcophagus would have been destroyed, had it remained in the pyramid, I resolved to send it to the British Museum,” wrote Vyse. Just why he thought it would have been destroyed remains a mystery, but this was often a convenient (and sometimes valid) excuse at this period to remove objects.
Me Yes it would have been sensible to remove FRAGILE objects , but to say the sarcophagus would have been destroyed seems far fetched , and if he felt that was the case , then why leave Khufu's in its chamber, or was it because Khufus sarcophagus did not look decorative .
By 9th August, Vyse was in Alexandria preparing for his return voyage to England. He sent a message to colleague Henry Raven, still working at the pyramids, ordering him remove the sarcophagus, a task which Vyse later admitted, was “not trifling”. On 27th August, Vyse sailed for Malta on the first leg of his journey home to England.
Later the sarcophagus was “cased with strong timbers” and sent to Alexandria, presumably by boat along the Nile, although Vyse gives no details of this operation.
Me, Why the lack of information on its movements from Giza.
At the time Vyse was in Egypt, everything found at the Pyramids, and indeed at any other site, was acknowledged to be the property of the ruling Pasha, and it is not clear what permission Vyse had for the removal of items
Me , Apparently Vyse made Two lists in his book as to what was going to be sent to England and what was staying in Egypt,
The sarcophagus was not on any of those lists, Why Not , ?
So was Vyse taking it out to protect it , or was it taken out by request.
In a letter to Forshall from British Consul Patrick Campbell, written in Alexandria and dated 2nd July 1838, the following, passage occurs: “I beg to inform you that the sarcophagus taken by Colonel Vyse out of the 3d. Pyramid at Ghizeh, and which in your letter to Viscount Palmerston of 7th February last you requested His Lordship to instruct me to send to England, has this day been embarked on board of the English ship the Beatrice, bound forLiverpool and London ... .”
Me, Another mystery that needs some explanation, is that the Captain of the Beatrice did not sail with the ship, i wonder why.
Despite, Lloyd’s List stating that the Beatrice and Whichelo sailed from Alexandria on its last, fateful journey on 20th September 1838, the truth is that Whichelo was not on board. We know that he died in 1858; so why was he not on board his own vessel when it sailed? This question will probably never be answered. We do know that twenty days after Beatrice sailed, on 10th October, Whichelo boarded H.M. Steamer Blazer as a passenger in Alexandria bound for Malta.
So did the sarcophagus sink to the bottom of the sea, with even more UNLISTED items, or did they survive by some alternative route and now resides in someones private collection in England.