The annals of early archaeology include the tale of an Egyptian sarcophagus lost at sea. It begins with a British adventurer named Howard Vyse, who in 1837 blasted holes into the Pyramids at Giza to better explore what was inside. In the main burial chamber of the pyramid built by King Menkaure (who ruled from 2490 to 2472 B.C.), he discovered an empty basalt sarcophagus. Vyse decided to ship the three-ton artifact to the British Museum in London, but the vessel sank somewhere in the Mediterranean in the fall of 1838. In the Loss and Casualty Book of the Lloyd's insurance company, the entry for Thursday, January 31, 1839, records that the vessel "sailed from Alexandria 20th Sept. & from Malta, 13th October for Liverpool, & has not been heard of." In 2008 Egyptian authorities made preliminary plans to search for the vessel and its precious cargo, but the country's ongoing political troubles cut the effort short.
To this day the finely carved sarcophagus awaits discovery—along with countless other relics and wrecks from antiquity still consigned to the watery deep.
Kemo D. 7