Copyright 2001

[ December 28th 2001 ]

Tony Blair was warned that he faces the wrath of an ancient mummy after he witnessed the discovery of a 4,600-year-old skeleton near the great pyramids of Giza yesterday. The Prime Minister, who is on a five-day family holiday in Egypt, was told by a leading archaeologist that to avoid the curse of the long-dead pyramid artisan he would have to grow a stubbly beard or be devoured by animals.

Excavators uncovered the bones of the seven-year-old son of Pety, the chief artisan who helped to build some of Egypt’s ancient wonders, as the Blair entourage looked on. Hieroglyphic curses in Pety’s tomb warned: "The gods will not allow anything to happen to me. Anyone who does anything bad to my tomb, then the crocodile, the hippopotamus and the lion will eat him."

Dr Zahi Hawas, a leading Egyptologist who conducted the two-hour tour, said: "The Prime Minister and his wife took the warning in their stride but their children were highly amused by the idea of being eaten by a hippo. I warned the Prime Minister he must beware of the curse that anyone who breaks into a tomb must not shave for two days to protect against illness or even death."

Mr Blair, who arrived at midnight on Boxing Day, smiled and waved to tourists before moving on to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

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