Lying as a testament to an age long gone, of Pharaohs and gods of legend, the Valley of the Kings is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Standing at the entrance, one has a view up to the high point of the Theban hills, al Qurn. The almost pyramidal shape view from this angle serves to explain the ancient name ta dehent, the peak. Over the centuries, the pharaohs gave way to tomb raiders who in turn gave way to the rich Europeans who scoured the valley for treasures to adorn their homes. Finally, the latest wave... archaeologists seeking knowledge of a past age that has captured the world's imagination.
A light breeze caused sand to swirl around the members of the Oxford university archaeology team as they worked on KV 14, the tomb of the nineteenth and twentieth dynasty rules, Tausert and Setnakht. The entrance located at the base of a sheer cliff saw a lot of foot traffic as students went to and fro with notepads tucked under their arms. There was a commotion arising from further up the hill where a small group had gathered, one student peeled away and started running towards the entrance of the tomb. When he pushed his way through the throng around the entrance, several people he passed made exclamations of annoyance when he shoved them aside. In his haste he just yelled a quick apology over his shoulder before disappearing into the entrance.
Kathy Rogers lifted her hand so it was just millimetres from the surface of the fragile hieroglyphs in the tomb's interior, amazingly preserved over the centuries but incredibly fragile and crumbling away in places. Despite the fact she was deep inside a tomb, a place of death, Kathy felt more alive than she did anywhere else. This was what she lived for, discovering the remnants that an ancient civilisation had left behind. Reconstructing the lives of people that had lived and died so many centuries ago.
This particular dig carried a special significance for Kathy. It was her first time as supervisor and she wanted everything to run smoothly.
So far so good, Kathy mused as she wandered past a group of students sketching the hieroglyphs on the wall. Her trained eye scanned the ancient pictograms with a chill of pleasure running though her body. Even though she had seen these murals many times, studied them for her thesis, they never failed to take her breath away every time she saw them firsthand. The decoration of the upper level consisted of images of the gates of the underworld and at the point where Kathy stood, the eighth division of the Book of Gates. She ran her eyes along the pictorial description describing the journey of the Sun god Ra through the twelve gates of the netherworld. The images of multi-headed snakes and human headed soul birds were definitely from another world altogether. Kathy translated a cartouche on the wall with ease,
King of upper and lower Egypt, Powerful of manifestations of Ra, beloved of Amen, Chosen of Ra; Son of Ra, Set is victorious, beloved of Amen-Ra.
Kathy was continuing down the ramp to the first burial chamber when she heard fast footsteps echoing down the corridor. She spun around to see an out of breath student tearing down the ramp to come to a sliding halt just in front of her. As he regained his breath, Kathy was torn between excitement and worry as she wondered whether it was good news or bad?
The young man sucked in a few deep breaths before gushing out an explanation for his haste, "We were digging a new access path... found something... weird, I don't know what it is exactly... some other kid keeps babbling something about outer space... you'd better come take a look."
Kathy followed him at a brisk pace back up the ramp and out into the bright Egyptian sunlight. There was quite a large group of people gathered up the hill a ways. She and her guide pushed their way through to the front of the throng and Kathy was greeted with a strange metallic object that had been uncovered beneath the layers of sand. She frowned at the strange sight for a few moments before she knelt down and touched the smooth metal. It was not blemished in any way, instead it was as new and shiny as the hood on any carefully polished automobile. There was no way to tell exactly how large it was at this point in time but, judging by the surface uncovered so far, it was of a considerable size. Getting to her feet again, Kathy looked down on all that they had uncovered and cocked her head to one side as she always did when she was thinking hard... so far it looked like a very large, strangely shaped wing. Her first thought was that it was some sort of aircraft... but made of metal? Kathy was at a loss...
"That's got absolutely nothing to do with ancient Egyptians," Kathy said, although that much was glaringly obvious to even the most untrained eye among them.
"It comes from outer space," someone announced behind her with certainty in his voice.
"Don't be ridiculous!" another team member snapped impatiently.
"Shut up everyone and get back to your work," Kathy was annoyed that this little interruption had managed to bring the dig to a halt, "I'll send a telegram back to Oxford, there are people who will want to know about this... whatever it is..."
"It's from space," the nerd whispered with a nod.