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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Wednesday's Connector: Zahi Hawass

July 14th, 2010
05:28 PM ET

Famed archaeologist and Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass is the real life Indiana Jones.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/14/zahi.art.jpg
caption="Zahi Hawass is your Connector of the Day."]

Ranked as one of "Time Magazine's" 100 most influential people, Dr. Hawass has uncovered some of civilization's most important and influential historical relics.

In 2006, Hawass and a group of archaeologists uncovered the sealed tomb of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Kings.

Archaeologists and historians alike described the finding as "one of the most important events in the Valley of the Kings for almost a hundred years."

In addition to his discovery, Hawass has worked on a number of digs at sites in the Nile Delta, the Western Desert, and the Upper Nile Valley.

Today, Hawass is at the center of a new discovery that promises to be one of the region's biggest.

Hawass and a team of experts have just discovered two 4,300 year old tombs which were carved out of stone.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Khen Khem

    Hello Dr. Hawass, from Memphis, TN.

    I have been reading about a theory about how the Great Pyramid was built using an internal ramp. This makes sense to me because I don't see how there was enough room for any other kind of ramp. There is an architect named Jean-Pierre Houdin who has done research on this theory which seems to have a lot of support from people like Robert Brier and Mark Rose, who are both very well respected individuals.

    Mr. Rose has said that allowing Mr. Houdin to test his theories would be an easy matter which would do no harm to the pyramid, but that you will not allow him to do so. Why not? What is there to lose? If he is wrong, what is the harm? If he is right, this would be the greatet discovery in Egypt in centuries, would you not support that?

    Thank you for all that you do to bring Egypt alive, you are a real hero, Dr. Jones, er, Dr. Hawass!!

    July 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  2. carolyn rose goyda

    It is an honor to reach Mr Hawass

    i was wondering if there had been advances in locating any of the remains of he incredile library at Alexandria

    and whether

    they have found any DNA surprises in the various grains and textiles discovered in any of the earliest tombs ?

    And thank you to Mr Hawass for his efforts restoring the wealth of his homeland and in bringing many of the lost items home

    July 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  3. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Zahi Hawass (Arabic: زاهي حواس‎) and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Zahi Hawass on the following questions:
    – How do you deal with Evil Egyptian Spirits, especially the Egyptian Female mummy Spirits, who do Not like to be Touch and Examine by your hands?
    – What is your opinion on the current situation between Abraham’s sons Palestine(Ishmael) and Israel (Jacob)?
    – What can we expect from you in 2010?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Zahi Hawass’ replies.

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    July 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  4. Sean Ryan

    Hi Mr Hawass, do you agree with any of the theories of Zecharia Sitchin?

    Thanks, Sean.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  5. Tom

    Hi there!

    Do you ever have nightmares where you're being chased by a huge boulder? 🙂

    Cya!
    Tom

    July 15, 2010 at 12:38 am | Reply
  6. Tom Kang

    Dr. Hawass, can I watch just ONE documentary about ancient Egypt without you being on it?

    July 15, 2010 at 1:36 am | Reply
  7. Chris De Jong

    Dr. Hawass,

    You have made repeated calls for Egyptian antiquities housed in museums in both Europe and North America to be returned to Egypt. Given the uncertain future regarding the fate of Egypt after President Mubarak, and the rise of violence by the Muslim Brotherhood, does it not make sense to keep many of these antiquities where they are? Would it not be wise to learn from the events following Iraq's museum looting after the fall of Saddam?

    Awaiting your reply. Peace be with you.

    July 15, 2010 at 2:48 am | Reply
  8. Andrew Bellisari

    Writing from Plainfield, New Jersey, USA

    Dr. Hawass,

    I recently wrote a thesis on the link between nineteenth-century archaeology and European imperialism. From 1798 onwards, archaeology in Egypt has been dominated by the West, in particular the French and the British. You have repeatedly called for the repatriation of certain artifacts that reside in the British Museum and the Louvre, accusing them of having been stolen. Last October the SCA briefly shut down the Louvre's long-term dig at Saqqara over the acquisition of several frescoes from Thebes.

    There are many that say your claims are the product of realpolitik and are merely a way for Egypt to vindicate its colonial past by playing on European guilt. Others, like yourself, claim that Egyptian antiquities are rightly the possession of the Egyptian nation (I believe you once used the phrase "icons of our Egyptian heritage"), whether they were discovered in the eighteenth century or this one. The conclusion that archaeology was once a tool European imperialism seems evident, but a larger question looms.

    My question is this: how can one claim to own the past? Can the past even be "owned?" It seems to me that this question of "who owns the past" is one that may never be answered as long as antiquities continue to be appropriated for broader political agendas, and as long as artifacts remain the ammunition with which the cultural struggles of postmodernism are fought.

    Your comments?

    Best regards.

    July 15, 2010 at 2:58 am | Reply
  9. Paulina

    Hi i'm writing from Mexico & these are my questions:

    – The importance and influence of your work is remarkably big. Have you ever felt pressure when you do your work?

    – A lot of people compare your life to Indiana jones' life, calling you the real Indiana Jones, do you see yourself living that life?

    – What do you say to the children and young people who wish to be you when they grow up, to be archeologists just like yourself?

    Thank you!

    July 15, 2010 at 3:58 am | Reply
  10. Jose Vera

    Hi, ive seen your work on discovery channel, quite impressive, do you have faith that those missed pyramis would ever be found (i once heard there where 3 o 4 still there), is there any clue of them, thanks 😀

    July 15, 2010 at 4:01 am | Reply
  11. Jose Vera

    Sorry, forgot to add, im from mexico, another land of pyramids

    July 15, 2010 at 4:02 am | Reply
  12. Gundur Streymoy

    Hey

    Got any jobs available? I´m great with a shovel since I´ve been cleaning my grandmothers driveway for snow ever since I´ve been a boy.
    Apart from that I am also fascinated with history and have good observations skills. Oh, and ehm, any luck finding Alexanders tomb?

    With regards.

    Gundur Streymoy
    Vestmanna
    Faroe Islands.

    July 15, 2010 at 4:42 am | Reply
  13. Valerie Short

    What I've learned in history classes is that Egypt's history goes back some 3,000 to 3,500 years. This discovery of a tomb 4,300 years old leaves a huge chunk of time missing. Perhaps the findings of this tomb will enlighten us on what happened in earlier times?

    July 15, 2010 at 4:51 am | Reply
  14. Valerie Short

    I left an earlier comment. I live in San Marcos, Texas.

    July 15, 2010 at 4:53 am | Reply
  15. Alec De Wieuw

    Salaamaleikum from Hurghada Dr. Zahi,

    through various media I have been reading many of your incredibly exiting stories about uncovering the secrets of the ages.

    As a hotelier in Hurghada I would very much like to publish some of these stories in our hotel magazine for the benefit of the thousands of international tourists that visit us every year.

    Whom to contact?

    Thank you very much for your consideration and for your undying effort in unearthing and preserving Egypt's treasures.

    Alec De Wieuw
    Hurghada
    Egypt

    July 15, 2010 at 5:14 am | Reply
  16. Alberto Ayala

    Sir,

    First of all, you are a living testament of importance of history to mankind. My question is very simple.

    Do you believe in God? If so, do you see it in the traditional way in which you have seen it on the field? Or do you have a more scientific approach, in where God is a something of a creator of the laws of physics of our Universe?

    Cheers,
    Prof. Alberto A. Ayala
    Assistant Director
    Howard Academy
    Hometown: Panama City, Rep. of Panama

    July 15, 2010 at 6:14 am | Reply
  17. Samuel Mostert

    How can one get involved?

    Cape Town
    South Africa

    July 15, 2010 at 7:45 am | Reply
  18. Eric Smith

    Hello Dr. Hawass,

    I am a great admirer of your work and yea it's true, you are the face of modern Egyptology.

    My question concerns the Sphinx. There have been many controversial opinions and theories about it's real age and original shape. Also whether or not there is really a chamber beneath that may hide some secrets pertaining to extra-terrestrial visitors. What are your opinions or "gut feelings" about the sphinx?

    Best regards,
    Eric PL Smith

    July 15, 2010 at 7:54 am | Reply
  19. Eric Smith

    Hello Dr. Hawass,

    I am a great admirer of your work and yea it's true, you are the face of modern Egyptology.

    My question concerns the Sphinx. There have been many controversial opinions and theories about it's real age and original shape. Also whether or not there is really a chamber beneath that may hide some secrets pertaining to extra-terrestrial visitors. What are your opinions or "gut feelings" about the sphinx?

    Best regards,
    Eric Smith
    Salt Lake City, Utah USA

    July 15, 2010 at 7:55 am | Reply
  20. Omer Chaudhry

    Would you consider the building of the pyramids an act of love by its builders or an act of oppression by the pharaohs and why.

    July 15, 2010 at 7:56 am | Reply
  21. Joshua Gottlieb

    Dear Dr. Hawass,

    Firstly I would like to thank you for such a special opportunity.

    As an Archaeology student there are two questions that I have particularly wanted to ask you.

    1)Where else in the World, apart from Egypt, would you most like to study and partake in an excavation?

    2) How relevent will Archaeology's role be in the future considering the ever changing attitudes around the Globe?

    Yours Faithfully,

    Joshua Gottlieb
    University of Nottingham

    July 15, 2010 at 8:15 am | Reply
  22. David Chagall

    Greetings Zahi Hawass زاهي حواس‎), and CNN friends,

    I have been curiously following your research on ancient Egypt and its sorrounding people and nations.

    n January 2009, you wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that "the only thing that the Jews have learned from history is methods of tyranny and torment – so much so that they have become artists in this field." What have the Egyptians learned?

    It would be interesting to hear you elaborate on that view especially given the enslavement of Jews in ancient Egypt. Does your work uncovering the secrets of ancient Egypt make you long for a time where the Jews were slaves instead of an independent nation with capability to defend themselves?

    And perhaps, might I ask for you to relate that to current history, where you 'politely' said no to an invitation in March 2010 to join the re-opening of the ancient Maimonides Synagogue in Egypt by stating said that canceling the ceremony was a "strong slap in the face" to "the Zionist enemy"?

    I suppose, in that regard, it would also be interesting to hear your view of the return of the Jewish people to Israel and the historical relationship between ancient/modern Egypt and the people of Israel?

    David

    July 15, 2010 at 8:27 am | Reply
  23. Johnson Ugoji . Port Harcourt City, Nigeria. West Africa

    These indeed are great discoveries. For anyone and indeed Egyptologists it is milestone. Ancient Egypt was the seat of civilization. Africa indeed was a beacon of hope and advancement. This is contrary to the present corruption ,wars , death, disease,misrule and underdevelopment. How do we reconcile all these?

    July 15, 2010 at 9:29 am | Reply
  24. B. Schneiders

    I'm sorry, but this little piece is full with errors:

    Hawass has certainly nót "uncovered some of civilization's most
    important and influential historical relics" (name even one!) nor is he
    "today at the center of a new discovery that promises to be one
    of the region's biggest" (name it!; if you are refering to his search for
    Cleopatra's tomb - all scholars label it as a dud and a mere
    media hype.

    The 2006 discovery that was "one of the most important events
    in the Valley of the Kings for almost a hundred years" was the
    discovery of KV63 by Otto Schaden; it had nothing to do with
    Hatshepsut, and Hawass had nóthing to do with finding it
    whatsoever! See http://www.KV-63.com

    For a good portrait about the real face of Hawass, and about
    his real accomplishments (which are not in the field of discovery),
    see
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,697174,00.html

    July 15, 2010 at 9:31 am | Reply
  25. Keira

    Hello,

    My question is, is there anything we have yet to discover from this ancient civilization? What has been your most exciting discovery??

    Thanks much!

    Keira
    NY

    July 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  26. Valeri Ozol

    Zahi Hawass is introduced as having
    " uncovered some of civilization's most important and influential historical relics" and that "in 2006, Hawass and a group of archaeologists uncovered the sealed tomb of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Kings."
    Fact: The tomb of Hatshepsut in the Valley of the Kings is KV20, and was mapped by Napoleon's expedition in 1799, excavated by Belzoni
    in 1817 and finally cleared by Howard Carter in 1903.
    In 1989 Donald Ryan discovered her mummy in KV60.
    Hawass did not uncover Hatshepsut's 'unsealed tomb'.

    Can you name any of the modern day Egyptian or Foreign Egyptologists who are in charge of digs and who have found tombs or made discoveries? With your incorrect information above, the answer will be no. The 2006 discovery was in fact made by Prof Otto Schaden,
    and was a cache of tomb goods, nothing to do with Hatshepsut at all!

    ANY finds made in Egypt today are not announced by the real discoverer who has spent years of toil and foreign money, but by Zahi Hawass as 'his team' and seemingly 'his discovery'. Rarely are they named or shown.

    Did you know that the Hawass 'signature' cowboy hat that he now wears, is the same as Egyptologist Mark Lehner has worn in Egypt for many years?
    Did you know that the announcement by Hawass of the discovery of tombs KV64 and KV65 in the Valley of the Kings, was done without any tombs actually being found?

    It is the unsung heroes of Egyptology, who unravel many of ancient Egypt's mysteries.
    Alas, Hawass!!!!!!!

    July 18, 2010 at 3:30 am | Reply

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