Monday, November 9, 2009

Persian Army Found After Missing for 2500 years

The year was 525BC and Cambyses II, ruler of Persian was looking to expand his empire into the recently weakened country of Egypt. Pharaoh Psamtik II had assumed the reign of Egypt from his father however Psamtik II was inexperienced and not prepared to lead his country against an invading force, especially one as strong as the Persians. The Persians were successful in defeating the Egyptians at Pelusium and expanding their empire.

The priests at the temple of the Oracle of Amun were refusing to legitimize the claim of Cambyses II as ruler of Egypt. Cambyses II did not tolerate this behavior so he sent a 50,000 man army to Siwa Oasis in order to kill the priests and destroy the temple. The problem is the army never made to the temple. The army was lost in what was believed to have been a massive sandstorm which instantly buried everywhere. Herodotus wrote of this account and what happened to the army. Without any evidence however many historians believed this account to by simply a myth. Numerous archaeologists have attempted to search for this lost army in the deserts of Egypt with no luck.

After numerous expeditions and exhaustive research and analysis famous twin archaeologists Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni believe that have discovered the remains of this lost army. What started out as an expedition to locate the presence of iron meteorites the brothers and their research team came across a half-buried pot and some human remains. From their they came across a large rock which the brothers believed was possibly used as a shield against the sandstorm. Further digging at the time revealed a bronze dagger and several arrow tips, all dating to the Persian era.

Further expeditions allowed the brothers to find elements of a necklace, dated in the Acheamenid period, an earring, as well as graveyard of bones which a few decades ago had been uncovered by a sandstorm. They had learned that grave robbers and tourists had taken many priceless artifacts from the area however the team was able to uncover more Persian arrow heads and a horse bit which matches that of images of a Persian horse bit. Further analysis of the bones and digging in the area will hopefully answer more questions about what happened to this army. This has the potential to be a very significant find in terms of the validity of Herodotus' account.

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