Great Pyramid relic found in Scottish museum

Great Pyramid relic found in Scottish museum
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Great Pyramid relic found in Scottish museum
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Updated 16 December 2020

Great Pyramid relic found in Scottish museum

Great Pyramid relic found in Scottish museum
  • The fragment, lost for over a century, is one of just three items retrieved from the Egyptian pyramid

LONDON: An ancient wooden relic, lost for over a century and one of just three items retrieved from the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, has been discovered in the archives of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

The wooden fragment, part of a collection known as the Dixon Relics after the man who discovered them, is thought to have been from a cedar measuring ruler, and could shed new light on the construction of the pyramid.

It was found by Abeer Eladany, a curatorial assistant at the university, in a cigar box with an old Egyptian flag on it.

“The university’s collections are vast — running to hundreds of thousands of items — so looking for it has been like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Eladany, who is originally from Egypt.

“I couldn’t believe it when I realized what was inside this innocuous-looking cigar tin. I’m an archaeologist and have worked on digs in Egypt, but I never imagined it would be here in northeast Scotland that I’d find something so important to the heritage of my own country,” she added.

“It may be just a small fragment of wood, which is now in several pieces, but it’s hugely significant given that it’s one of only three items ever to be recovered from inside the Great Pyramid.”




Abeer Eladany with the discovery. (University of Aberdeen)

The fragment was originally discovered by Waynman Dixon in 1872 as he was exploring the Queens Chamber of the pyramid.

It is thought to have been bequeathed to the university by Dixon’s friend James Grant, the noted Victorian Egyptologist, but was misplaced as it was not properly classified. The other two Dixon Relics, a ball and a hook, are housed at the British Museum in London.
The chamber is now inaccessible, but images of the larger piece of wood that the fragment is thought to have been taken from were captured via a remote camera in 1993.




The wooden fragment, part of a collection known as the Dixon Relics after the man who discovered them, is thought to have been from a cedar measuring ruler. (University of Aberdeen)

Carbon dating of the fragments has cast new light on the building of the pyramid, with the wood dated to 3341-3094 BC.

Most historical records place the construction of the pyramid to 2580-2560 BC, during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu.

“It’s even older than we’d imagined. This may be because the date relates to the age of the wood, maybe from the center of a long-lived tree,” said Neil Curtis, head of the university’s museums and special collections.




The fragments were found in a cigar box with an old Egyptian flag on it. (University of Aberdeen)

“Alternatively, it could be because of the rarity of trees in ancient Egypt, which meant that wood was scarce, treasured and recycled or cared for over many years,” he added.

“It will now be for scholars to debate its use and whether it was deliberately deposited, as happened later during the New Kingdom, when pharaohs tried to emphasize continuity with the past by having antiquities buried with them.”


US gun lobby NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas

US gun lobby NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas
Updated 4 min 31 sec ago

US gun lobby NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas

US gun lobby NRA declares bankruptcy, plans to incorporate in Texas
  • NRA execs are facing charges of illegally diverting funds for lavish personal trips and other questionable expenditures
  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said she would not allow the NRA to “evade accountability” or oversight
AUSTIN, Texas: The National Rifle Association announced Friday it has filed for bankruptcy protection and will seek to incorporate the nation’s most politically influential gun-rights group in Texas instead of New York.
The announcement came months after New York’s attorney general sued the organization over claims that top executives illegally diverted tens of millions of dollars for lavish personal trips, no-show contracts for associates and other questionable expenditures.
The coronavirus pandemic has also upended the NRA, which last year laid off dozens of employees. The group canceled its national convention and scuttled fundraising. The NRA’s bankruptcy filing listed between $100 million and $500 million in assets and between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities. Still, the NRA claimed in announcing the move that the organization was “in its strongest financial condition in years.”
The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court in Dallas and said it planned to incorporate in Texas, where records show it formed a limited liability corporation, Sea Girt LLC, in November 2020. Sea Girt LLC made a separate bankruptcy filing Friday, listing fewer than $100,000 in liabilities.
In its filing, the NRA said its longtime leader, Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, made the decision to file for bankruptcy protection in consultation with a “special litigation committee” comprised of three NRA officials that was formed in September to oversee its legal strategies. The NRA board voted Jan. 7 to clarify LaPierre’s employment agreement, giving him the power to “reorganize or restructure the affairs” of the organization.
“The move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York,” the NRA said in a statement.
A message seeking comment was left with a Dallas lawyer who made the bankruptcy filings on behalf of the NRA and Sea Girt LLC.
Shortly after the announcement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she would not allow the NRA to “evade accountability” or oversight. Her office’s lawsuit last year highlighted misspending and self-dealing claims that have roiled the NRA and LaPierre in recent years— from hair and makeup for his wife to a $17 million post-employment contract for himself.
“The NRA’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,” James said.
The gun-rights group boasts about 5 million members. Though headquartered in Virginia, the NRA was chartered as a nonprofit in New York in 1871 and is incorporated in the state. Going forward, the NRA said a committee will study opportunities to relocate segments of its operations to Texas and elsewhere.
The NRA’s largest creditor, owed $1.2 million, is Ackerman McQueen, which is the group’s former advertising agency that was behind the now-shuttered NRA TV service. The NRA sued the Oklahoma-based company in 2019, alleging it was being overbilled and said in Friday’s bankruptcy filing that the debt it is owed is disputed. The lawsuit is pending. A message seeking comment was left with Ackerman McQueen.
In the New York lawsuit, Ackerman McQueen was accused of aiding lavish spending by LaPierre and other NRA executives by picking up the tab and then sending a lump sum bill to the organization for “out-of-pocket expenses.”
“No financial filing can ever shroud the moral bankruptcy of Wayne LaPierre and his wife and their lap dogs on the NRA board,” said Bill Powers, an Ackerman McQueen spokesperson and former public affairs director for the NRA.
Court records also show more than $960,000 owed to Membership Marketing Partners LLC, a firm that lists its headquarters at the same address as the NRA. Another $200,000 is owed to Speedway Motorsports, the North Carolina-based company that owns and operates NASCAR tracks, according to the records.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott quickly welcomed the news, tweeting: “Welcome to Texas — a state that safeguards the 2nd Amendment.” The NRA said it has more than 400,000 members in Texas and plans to hold its annual convention in Houston later this year.
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Sisak reported from New York. Associated Press reporter Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.