It’s the most exciting project in Egypt, and one that’s captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world: could Kathleen Martinez have discovered the tomb of Cleopatra? The Dominican expert certainly thinks so, and tells Heritage Key all about it in this special video.
A Long Route to Egypt
It has taken Dr Martinez ten years to convince herself Taposiris Magna, just outside Alexandria, is the famous queen’s final resting place. And she knew from the off she had to get out in the field herself to have any chance of finding the tomb. “I needed to come to Egypt…to see the remains of this temple, to be sure that it has the possibility of being the lost tomb of Cleopatra.”
Yet Martinez thought she had no chance of securing a spot in the field until she got a letter from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, headed by Dr Zahi Hawass (watch the fascinating video about the project with Dr Hawass here) “They would give me two months only to prove my theory,” says Martinez. “In archaeology, two months is nothing.” The race was on: could Martinez capture her holy grail, and find the tomb of Egypt’s last queen?
Time Running Out
Almost two months in the project seemed doomed to failure. But just as things were coming to a close, Martinez’ team hit gold. Tunnels were found, which would eventually reach a depth of 35m. They’re still being cleaned today, after Dr Hawass granted Martinez another season to prove her claim. To date the team’s biggest find has been a cemetery outside the temple, “which is the proof that in this area there is a royal tomb,” Martinez says excitedly.
Martinez feels a sense of responsibility for finding Cleopatra, an ancient character long draped in romance and legend. “If there’s a one per cent chance that the last queen of Egypt could be buried there, it is my duty to search for her.” So far the team has unearthed a huge number of Greco-Roman artefacts, including coins with Cleopatra‘s head on them. Dr Hawass has already hailed the dig as a success, whatever its outcome: “If we discover the tomb…it will be the most important discovery of the 21st century. If we do not discover the tomb…we made major discoveries here, inside the temple and outside the temple.”
A World-changing Discovery?
Martinez is captivating, and her passion for the discovery is clear to see. She knows this could be one of the world’s greatest discoveries, and a smile beams across her face. “We have changed forever what they know about funerary temples. This is the perfect place for the tomb of Cleopatra.”
What do you think will happen at Taposiris Magna? Is it the perfect place to find Cleopatra? And what about Mark Antony – was he buried with his great love? Have your say, either via the , our contact page or by emailing me direct. You can watch a whole host of great videos here at Heritage Key – from the perils of Venice to the lost tombs of Thebes. Catch us here or on YouTube.