||Ahmed Mahmoud Hassan supervises the digging at KV 5. He is from the West Bank of Luxor, and feels a deep connection with the ancient Egyptians.|
As chief foreman, Ahmed was one of the first to explore the tomb. He remembers crawling through centuries of debris armed with only a flashlight: "It was very dark, completely black. It was hard to breathe. The humidity was very high. We crawled along the top of the debris, sometimes we could half stand up."
Ahmed attended law school and received his bachelor's degree before joining the Theban Mapping Project. His love of Egypt's ancient history and the prestige of working on such an important archeological discovery justified his change of profession. "You find a part of your roots in the tomb," he says. "It's hard but interesting work."
After a long day under the scorching desert sun and the stifling confines of the tomb, Ahmed retires for some much-needed rest. But his is a labor of love. Says Ahmed: "If you have a happy feeling in your work, you forget you're tired. These tombs are a part of our history. Working here gives me a nice feeling."
(Abridged and adapted from "Tales From the Tomb" by Deborah Doyle; first published in Egypt Today, November 1996. Republished with permission.)