> Extensively detailed excavation reports are not
> opinions. The are explicit reports about contents
> and structure. I kindly suggest the full catalogue
> of Reisner at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for
> a start. Perhaps you've already read them.
Reisner is a singularly interesting investigator. I certainly haven't read all of his material, but I have read his various reports from the 1920s (e.g., Boston Museum of Fine Arts) in which he decrees that the original "tomb of Heterpheres I" was in Dahshur before it was moved to Giza under clandestine circumstances. I've also read Lehner's excoriation of Reisner's decree in 1985 which clearly and neatly exposes Reisner's pure fabrication.
In an attempt to rationalize why Hetep-heres I's funerary gear was found at the bottom of a 90' vertical shaft through Giza bedrock (G7000x) rather than next to her husband, Sneferu, in Dahshur, Reiser completely fabricated a narrative which Lehner summarized almost 60 years later (1985) as follows:
- "[Hetep-heres I] outlived Sneferu and was buried by her son Cheops, probably beside her husband's pyramid at Dahshur. The tomb did not remain long undisturbed and the queen's body was destroyed by the robbers who broke into the chamber. A clever prime minister seems to have been able to convince Cheops that little damage had been done. He ordered the lid of the alabaster coffin replaced to hide the absence of the queen's body, and the greater part of the unharmed burial equipment was moved to a secret shaft in front of the Great Pyramid in the new cemetery at Giza. Cheops apparently never discovered the ruse practised upon him by his minister, for he made an offering to his mother's spirit before the shaft was finally closed."
Such fabrication was necessary for Reisner to be able to keep the Egyptological narrative self-consistent. Unfortunately, by today's standards, that kind of baseless hand waving would not be allowed in any scholarly venue.
Accordingly, Lehner corrects the record:
- "The hypothetical original tomb of Hetep-heres I at Dahshur has not been found (the only evidence for this queen's existence comes from G7000x). There is no textual evidence, contemporary with the 4th Dynasty or from later times, for the plundering of this tomb and the transfer of its contents to Giza...Nevertheless, [Reisner's] scenario was passed down in the literature, e.g. The Cambridge Ancient History (Smith 1971, 168), as historical fact."
I know of no attempt from Reisner to correct the record.
As a related scenario, I don't think Engelbach ever actually stated that he thought the "Khufu Stele" really was an artifact from Khufu's 4th Dynasty to mark the king's "hunting ground". But, similar to Reisner, I know of no attempt by Engelbach to restrain others from making such leaps in logic. And I think Reisner's is the bigger transgression since he clearly was all-in on driving the hoax right at the start, unlike Engelbach who seemed to take a more passive stand to simply allow such claims to be made about the stele. I don't believe that either claim would survive today's standards of proof.
Just as Lehner did in '85, we need to continue applying scrutiny to early investigators because when standards of proof change, there will be corresponding changes in the narrative, and those changes could be pretty significant.
How can any of us ever know, when all we can do is think?