A lost artifact, one of the three objects that were recovered from the Great Pyramid of Giza, has been found at Scotland's University of Aberdeen. These three items are known as the 'Dixon Relics.'
Curatorial assistant Abeer Eladany was reviewing items at the university when she noticed a cigar box marked with Egypt's former flag. When she opened the box, she found several wooden splinters, which were then identified as the fragment of wood from the Giza pyramid that has been missing for more than 70 years.
Eladany, who is originally from Egypt, said that the collection is vast, as it includes hundreds of thousands of ancient items. "So looking for it has been like finding a needle in a haystack. I couldn't believe it when I realized what was inside this innocuous-looking cigar tin," she added.
The wooden item was one of the objects that were found by the structural engineer Waynman Dixon inside the Gaza pyramid's Queen's Chamber in 1872. Two of the items from the 'Dixon Relics,' one ball and a hook, are stored in the British Museum. Some experts have speculated that the missing item was part of a measuring rule that could reveal the details about the pyramid's construction.
The carbon dating of the lost piece has revealed that the wood can be dated back to the period between 3341 and 3094 BC, which is almost 500 years earlier that than historical records that date the pyramid to the reign of Egypt's second emperor of the Fourth Dynasty, Pharaoh Khufu in 2580-2560 BC.
According to Neil Curtis, head of museums and special collections at the University of Aberdeen, while the finding of the missing 'Dixon Relics' was a surprise, the carbon dating has also been quite a revelation as the wooden item is quite older than what they thought.
"This may be because the date relates to the age of the wood, maybe from the center of a long-lived tree. 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.
Curtis explained that the experts will now find out the use of the lost item 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."
Eladany who discovered the ancient artifact said that she never imagined finding something belonging to the heritage of Egypt in the north-east of Scotland. According to her, it may be a small fragment of wood, which is now in several pieces, but the artifact is highly significant given that it is one of the 'Dixon Relics' ever to be recovered from the Great Pyramid of Giza.