From the Dominican Republic to Egypt: Kathleen Martínez, Archeologist

Earlier this year (May 2010), I found an interesting article about Dominican archeologist Kathleen Martínez’s discovery (with a Dominican-Egyptian team) of a large statue dated 300 BC, representing King Ptolemy IV, during excavations in the zone in which the team was searching for the tombs of Cleopatra and the Roman general Marc Anthony. A strong believer in the idea that adventure and learning go hand in hand I was fascinated by this piece of information. Here is a summary of the latest news about this archaeologist and expert in Ancient Egypt:

Kathleen Martínez, who earned a law degree in the Dominican Republic, is famous for her pioneering discoveries at Taposiris Magna, where she believes she has found the tomb of Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.  Martínez had always been fascinated from an early age with scholarly discussions about Cleopatra. Even as a child, she was unhappy with the way Cleopatra had been portrayed through the ages, and was determined to find her tomb: “They were speaking very badly about her and about her image. “I got very upset. I said I didn’t believe what they are saying, that I needed to study more about her.”

After ten years of research, Martínez was certain she had found the spot, in the ancient Alexandrian suburb of Taposiris Magna. She managed to convince Zahi Hawass, world-renowned archaeologist and director of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, to allow her to start excavating at Abusir. And following a permit from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, she began searching along with his team. After toiling for years, the group discovered numerous artifacts and sculptures, including an alabaster head of a beautiful woman (perhaps Cleopatra), which lead them to believe that this is where the tomb of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is located and not in palace grounds. At a press conference, Martínez explains, “I believe that it is impossible that Cleopatra was buried in her palace [now underwater in Alexandria’s harbor] because of Egypt’s political situation. It was not only the end of the Ptolemaic era but the end of Egypt as a free country.”

Throughout the years, Martínez has wanted to defy the negative stereotypes attached to queen’s name. In short, says Ben Wedeman (CNN), the archeologist believes that she [Cleopatra] was a woman way ahead of her times and insists that she wantsto be Cleopatra’s lawyer.” In Cleopatra’s defense, she says that the last queen of Ancient Egypt “spoke nine languages; she was a philosopher; she was a poet; she was a politician; she was a goddess; and she was a warrior.” And as Wedeman reminds us, “given that history is written by the victors—in Cleopatra’s case, the Romans—her press was somewhat less than complimentary. It was ‘bad propaganda,’ in Martínez’s words.” Martínez and Hawass are presently working on a book about Cleopatra to repair all that damage. And the search for Cleopatra still under way.

Information from http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/04/19/egypt.cleopatra.mystery/, http://heritage-key.com/kathleen-Martínez, http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2010/5/4/35599/Egyptians-find-statue-in-zone-where-Dominican-archaeologist-seeks, and http://jorgeamarante.obolog.com/dominican-archaeologist-kathleen-Martínez-believes-she-may-have-found-the-final-600310

Photo from http://www.holagente.com.do/hgweb/articles.php?art_id=478&start=1

18 thoughts on “From the Dominican Republic to Egypt: Kathleen Martínez, Archeologist

  1. I think she is right and on track. Hawass is an ego maniac who would never admit he was wrong or an error in judgement. Keep up the good work kathleen!

  2. hi katheen i hope you fine nowa day whith the problen in egypt please let me know how you are i m dominican and i always follow your work.please let me know

  3. Dear Miss Martinez
    I have been trying to find a way to contact you. I am a a photographer that specializes in 3D photography and Ultra High resolution documentation. I would like the opportunity to show you my work and see if it is compatible with your research.
    Here is a link to the gigapan imagery.
    http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/most_popular/?q=gehrig
    The 3D imagery, I can show you when I get your contact information.
    Regards
    Gehrig Fry

  4. I’ve been following your work for the past few years–I have had an interest in ancient history all my life–work as a historian for US/NPS–getting ready to retire–need volunteers? I’m ready!!

  5. Katheen,
    I have some thoughts that may be helpful to you that I do not want to share with
    anyone else.
    How can I get them to you ?
    Bandung Bill

  6. Kathleen,

    I am very interested in ancient history and I was wondering if you need any volunteers to help with your work.

  7. I wish you Godspeed – this is so exciting!!! I too would like to be able to contact you directly at some point and perhaps ultimately make a financial contribution to your quest. I have been fascinated by Egypt since a child as well and have done some adult studying of the pharoahs, gods, etc. myself.

    Regards,

    Jennifer S. Roth

  8. Dear Kathleen,
    could you answer a question for me, why do you think Cleopatra and anthony were buried together, She was an egyptian queen, and if she was buried with anthony, who as you know was a roman, surely she would not go to the afterlife if she was buried with him,she would have known this, do you really think she would have risked not going to the afterlife, which all egyptians believed in at the time, I just wondered what your thoughts were on this, kind regards G/C

      1. To Jennifer s, Roth,
        Hi I only became intrested in egypt because of Queen Cleopatra the V11, and if it wasn’t for Jean-Francois-Champollion, none of us would know half as much as we do about egypt, as you know he was the first person to read and understand the Hieroglyphs, and it was he that found the name, Cleopata, on the rosetta stone, although he thought at first is was spelt with a K, making it Kleopatra,until he realized it was a c and not a k, but i am so fascinated by Queen Cleopatra, everyone says she was this, and she was that, but from what i have read, i don’t think she was all bad, i think,in those days it must have been very very difficult for a woman, and more so a woman in power to survive, so i think she did what she had to do, and i believe the romans made her out to be a lot worse than she actually was, put your self in her shoes, the most powerful country in the world, at that time is trying to take over your country, and in the end they did, but she held on to it by any means she could for as long as she could, what a remarkable woman, and one i will admire for ever, sorry for going on, regards G/C

    1. I am not an expert myself, but according to research I have done, Marc Antony’s will requested that he be buried with Cleopatra. This was considered betrayal by Octavian and the Roman people. I have also read that Cleopatra herself buried Antony. I am also very excited by Kathleen Martinez’ work. I hope she is able to find their tomb so that we can learn more about them.

  9. It look’s like the history books about Cleopatra V11 will now need to be rewritten because the Roman’s had never really respected her when she was living? it’s very likely that she is buried at Taposiris Magna with Marc Antony Augustus would never of allowed her body to remain in Egypt when he became the Emperor!!

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