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Field Notes
Photograph by TBD
Kenneth Garrett

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

It was exciting to listen to scientists Matt Adams and David O'Connor speculate on a theory about human sacrifice in Egypt's first dynasty and then go out and prove it. They dug through layers of sand to get to Aha's funerary enclosure, and then bingo: Matt found six subsidiary graves surrounding the ceremonial structure. And this added new insights to a little known practice in Early Dynastic times.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

I'm always sad when they start closing down an archaeology site, and it's time to leave. For five months archaeologists had cleaned and studied these 14 huge boats they'd unearthed. And the last day I was on site, a hundred extra workers came in and covered up the boats with sand to protect them from looters and natural accidents. I just remember watching that and thinking, What a shame we can't restore one, but for now this is the best solution.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

In Old Kingdom tombs there are murals or glyphs that symbolically represent the offerings the dead would need in the afterlife. But 2nd-dynasty King Khasekhemwy brought in the real thing. He had an underground tomb the size of a football field with chambers filled to the ceiling with wine vessels, wheat grain, and jars that once held beer. He even had cows in some rooms. I've never seen anything like it. I guess he had everything he ever needed for eternity.