Friday, 25 February 2011

Menkaure's Sarcophagus: a previous search and the mystery of 200 boxes

I have just discovered the briefest mention of a previous search for the sarcophagus of Menkaure carried out off the coast of Cartagena in Spain.

The details are found in an 'overview' of the Cartagena-based Museo Nacional de Arqueología Marítima y Centro de Investigaciones Arqueológicas Subacuáticas complied by the director Dr Iván Negueruela.

The search took place in early 1997 and involved the museum and Centro de Buceo de la Armada (the Centre for Navy Diving). The search took place in Cartagena Bay between Las Algamecas and Faro de Navidad (Christmas Lighthouse).

Nothing was found of the Beatrice, the ship that was carrying the sarcophagus back to the British Museum, although a previously unknown wreck of a ship dated to the second half of the 19th Century was found near the lighthouse.

On 6th June 2008, the Spanish newspaper La Verdad (see here ) interviewed Dr Negueruela who humorously highlighted the poor resources devoted to the 1997 expedition.  The search, said Dr Negueruela, was carried out using a boat which was about to be scrapped and 'a flashlight'. Modern technology would make the search much easier.

However, Dr Negueruela went on to say that he believes the sarcophagus lies somewhere between Murcian coastal towns of Cabo de Palos and Mazarrón.

A look at a map will show just big an area this is. The newspaper also quotes Spanish underwater archaeologist Daniel Alonso as saying any search would be "technically complex" and would have "a low probability of success."

In the another article in the edition of the newspaper (see here) Dr Negueruela, discusses the scientific importance of the sarcophagus but then adds that of "equal or greater value could be the objects that sank in over two hundred boxes" also on the Beatrice when it sank in October 1838. " Yes, there may be some surprises," he says.

Unfortunately, he does not explain where this information comes from. However, its seems that there are quite a few local legends about what other Egyptian anitiquities cpould have been onboard the Beatrice. The newspaper mentions "pink granite sphinxes and coveted gold pieces."

For more on the story of the Lost Sarcophagus see

The Lost Sarcophagus

Is there a map showing the whereabouts of Beatrice and the Lost Sarcophagus? 

Lost Sarcophagus: Search Update

Lost Sarcophagus of Menkaure

Or take this boat trip around Cartagena Harbour:

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