The treasures of the pharoah Tutankhamun are returning to London after more than 30 years, the BBC reports. And they're going to be on show in the Millennium Dome.
This is extremely good news. The horde is a priceless array of death-trappings that is as rich in symbolism and cultural and ceremonial complexity as it is in precious metals. It was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, and remains perhaps archaeology's most spectacular achievement, making Egypt, Egyptology, and the business of kneeling in a ditch, scraping at bits of pottery, suddenly fashionable worldwide. Upon opening the tomb, Carter was asked if he could see anything inside. His reply was: "Yes, wonderful things." And they are wonderful indeed.
But the decision to host the treasure in the Greenwich tent is a bit of a headscratcher. After all, these treasures are literally priceless, and the dome has a bit of a bad track record when it comes to guarding treasure - remember the diamond heist? Perhaps this is a subtle marketing ploy; monumental expense to honour the boy king, resulting in enormous constructions that are useless almost at the point of inception? Could be both the pyramids and the dome, frankly.
Similarly, there's the whole business of the curse. Since the unearthing of the tomb, rumours have flown that the horde is cursed. The dome has also been mentioned in the same sentence as the word "curse", and often in sentences involving curse words.
Thank heavens, though, that the dome will at least be used for something valuable, even if only for a short time. To have built it can be excused; to have built it and left it to rot is inexcusable. And the Tutankhamun treasures are a fitting installation; perhaps some of their shine can rub off on the grimy bubble of tarpaulin on a muddy spit in the Thames, and help us come to love it.
We will, however, have to wait - the exhibition will only reach London in 2007.