Trasformò i suoi scavi in una caccia al tesoro.

Emile Amèlineau

L’uomo,infatti, non era un archeologo, ma uno studioso di lingua copta al qualche mancava totalmente ogni esperienza in materia di scavi.

Peggio ancora.

Era finanziato da mercanti di antichità che non avevano il minimo interesse per la ricerca scientifica ma cercavano solo pezzi da vendere al miglior offerente sul mercato antiquario.

Era lui a dirigere i gruppi di contadini-scavatori.

Possedeva una concessione regolare per svolgere degli scavi ad Abydos, la città sacra al dio Osiride che ospitava il grande tempio di Sethi I, il padre del famoso Ramses II. Iniziati gli scavi in quella località si spinse sempre più ad ovest nel deserto sino ad incontrare Umm el Qaab.

Amèlineau scoprì le tombe dei primi re dell’Egitto dinastico, i sovrani della I e II dinastia, che unificarono l’Egitto e ne fondarono le basi dello Stato, dell’arte e del pensiero.

Con questa scoperta Amèlineau assicurò il proprio nome alla storia dell’archeologia egizia ma al tempo stesso lo stampò a lettere di fuoco sul libro nero della scienza.

Per quattro anni Amèlineau non solo scavò senza alcun criterio e rispetto non prendendo alcun appunto sulla posizione dei ritrovamenti e non pubblicandone i resoconti.

Saccheggiava selvaggiamente le tombe, ne aveva scoperte e contate sedici.

Tuttavia, quando trovava reperti che avevano dei doppioni, ne conservava alcuni esemplari distruggendo gli altri per aumentare il valore.

Esagerazioni dovute alle polemiche che seguirono gli scavi?

E’ sufficiente leggere le parole dello stesso Amèlineau che, senza vergogna alcuna, parlando dei vasi di pietra riferisce:
“… quelli che erano rotti e che ho rotto in briciole … ” (relazione di scavo, “Fouilles”1897).

E ancora, riferendosi alle giare che avevano conservato per cinquemila anni gli unguenti, Amèlineau si vantava che “le materie grasse bruciavano per giorni interi: “come ne ho fatto l’esperienza io stesso”.

La devastazione finisce quando, soddisfatto della razzia e della distruzione perpetrate e nella certezza di non aver lasciato nulla per gli archeologi che avessero scavato il sito successivamente, l’uomo abbandonò gli scavi.

Amèlineau lasciò un campo di rovine tanto devastato da far rischiare di perdere ogni possibilità di conoscere meglio i sovrani delle due dinastie.

Eppure la prova dell’esistenza storica di questi faraoni era ben nota da tempo, dato che l’archeologo Quibell aveva scavato nel sito dell’antica Hyerakonpolis (vicino a Edfu) trovando importanti documenti con i nomi del re Selk, “Lo Scorpione” e di Narmer, di cui rinvenne la celebre “tavolozza” oggi al Museo del Cairo.

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