Celebrated Professor Adjusts to Spotlight

From Associated Press

It's 1:30 in the morning and the phone is ringing again at Kent Weeks' home. Someone has gotten his number and wants to ask about archeology or chat about ancient Egypt or give unwanted advice.

It's been that way since his announcement in May that he had discovered Egypt's biggest Pharaonic tomb, believed to contain the sons of Ramses the Great. A year ago, Weeks was an obscure professor, but articles in magazines and television interviews changed that.

He appreciates some--but by no means all--of the attention.

"I have received two phone calls so far from a guy in California and another man in New York, both of whom claim to be reincarnations of Ramses," Weeks said.

He is thinking "of putting them both in the same locked room for an hour and see what happens."

Weeks, 54, has gotten used to the limelight, however. He has hired a public relations firm, the William Morris Agency. For a television interview in his Cairo office, he quickly takes off light-sensitive glasses and puts on another pair. The first pair makes him look "like a Mafia don," he said.

He got interested in ancient Egypt when he was 8. He doesn't remember exactly how, but he gratefully recalls teachers nurturing his interest by lending books and assigning papers on archeology. It all led to a Ph.D. at Yale, a job as a curator at New York's Metropolitan Museum and eventually to Egypt.

Now he wants to repay the favor, and he thinks that his discovery will help. He is trying to generate interest in a CD-ROM on the tomb of Ramses' sons and the surrounding Valley of the Kings, the burial place of the pharaohs who ruled Egypt 3,000 to 3,500 years ago.

Weeks has been working for years on an atlas with maps of the valley's tombs. The CD-ROM would be an "up-to-date, high-tech" version of this.

"You do a walk-through of a royal tomb," he said. "You stop in one chamber, look at a wall and see a representation of a god. Who is he? What do we know about him? . . . Where else does he occur in other tombs in the valley?

"It could be a terrific teaching tool, not only for Egyptologists but even for school kids who are interested in learning more about ancient Egypt."

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