Home > 2011 Posts > What’s Under Memphis?

What’s Under Memphis?

And will we ever find it?

Part of a 50' Statue Unearthed in Memphis

Suburbs south of Cairo now lie atop the Pharaohs’ old capital: Memphis. The heart of that ancient city is a cluster of mud-brick mounds separated by modern villages and canals. Many of the mounds are supposed to be protected by the government, but people have built over most of the area regardless. And farmers dig out the sides because Nile mud-brick makes great fertilizer. And there are always the midnight diggers who bore in to swipe goodies.

The government has even offered residents brand new homes, just as close to Cairo, as an incentive to move. Few take the offer, even when the new homes would be bigger and better. Somehow human nature stays the same. And more so it seems in places where corruption is built into the bedrock of a culture.

Archaeologists and the world must wait – perhaps for a very long time – to get at the buried riches and historical insights. So, it’s probably a good idea to appreciate what has been found when you can.

I was in Memphis not too long ago to do just that. The experience proved to me that ‘treasures untold’ do remain buried there. But what I saw on the streets of modern Egypt worried me a lot. What appears to be modern or somewhat Western there, and many things do, may well only be skin deep and embraced by too few of the people to really matter.

An Archaeological Display Park in Memphis

We’ll see soon enough, but if more than 80 million Egyptian Arabs revert culturally by 1,300 years, it won’t be fun for anyone. Back then, they burned the Great Library of Alexandria to eradicate infidel blasphemy, like Taliban defacing the Buddhas in Afghanistan only a few years ago. Unlike in the West, where British school kids don’t know who Winston Churchill was, 1,300 years ago is like yesterday to many Muslims. Maybe to most.

Hopefully Egyptians won’t go that far, though. Like the Turks, a significant percentage of Egyptians seem to identify with a cultural past back beyond the 7th century.


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