Epigraphic Saturday, Cambridge, February 16th, 2008.
Dorothy Thompson gave a witty and intriguing paper about the history of two Greek inscriptions found in 1995 in Al-Maroqui, in the far west of the oasis of Siwa.
The two inscriptions, originally believed to be three, received immense press and ended up being published in Hello! magazine in February 1995 together with some glossy, but not especially useful, photographs. At the time of publication, the archaeologist Liana Souvaltzi claimed that they revealed the location of the tomb of Alexander. This reading was already refuted by R.S. Bianchi in the article, “Alexander’s Tomb…Not”, Archaeology May/June 1995 and by A. Spawforth in “The quest for Alexander’s tomb” Ad Familiares 11 1996, II-III.
Thompson and Joyce Reynolds have been re-examining the readings in these early publications.
By looking at these photographs, and others supplied by an Egyptian journalist:
- nothing can be made out of the first inscription
- the second text is broken into many pieces, at least twenty-two. Once reconstructed, it forms a large block with a border that presumably framed the text. The lettering is quite clear and visible on the pictures, which allowed appropriate supplements to be made and new readings suggested