One of the things that has always fascinated me during my visits to Egypt is the astonishing wall reliefs in the underground and rock cut tombs. These days, they are lit with the help of electric bulbs. But surely in ancient times these subterranean sepulchres were DARK !
But of course I should have realised this would present no difficulty whatsoever for the enterprising ancient Egyptians. Let’s face it, they thought nothing of hauling enormous blocks of granite from one end of the country to the other, building gigantic pyramids that are still standing four-and-a-half thousand years later, and mummifying their dead to preserve them, quite literally, forever.
Even so, to carve and paint chambers hundreds of metres underground ? How did they do it ? Well, here’s how …
Here is a short video clip showing yours truly with wonderful Waleed Mostafa, guide on my most recent trip to Egypt. We’re in the tomb of Rekhmire, one of the Tombs of the Nobles.
Sadly, my modern video camera does rather too good of brightening the darkness to really give a good impression of how the ancients turned night to day underground. But hopefully you get the basic idea !
If you’ve been to Egypt, you’ll know how blinding the sunlight is. Apparently the kohl the ancient Egyptians wore around their eyes wasn’t just cosmetic. It was an ancient form of sunglasses to reduce the fierce glare of the sun !
Fiona Deal, Author of Meredith Pink’s Adventures in Egypt, all available on Amazon. To join Merry on her adventures please click on each picture for the link.