Letter: The pyramid's relics go from one tomb to another

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Sir: I was delighted to read the letter from W. V. Davies (15 December) entitled 'Ancient Egypt in a cigar box'. At long last the lost relics from the Great Pyramid have surfaced, 121 years after John Dixon brought them to London in November 1872.

I was particularly interested to note that the relics are still, even after 21 years somewhere in the British Museum, in Dixon's original cigar box. Presumably they have now been unpacked. I understand from I. E. S. Edwards, who was Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities in 1972 at the time the relics were presented to the museum by Mrs Porteous, great-granddaughter of Dixon, that he was given the privilege of a first view last Thursday. I am delighted to hear this, as Dr Edwards has been closely involved over the last few months in tracing the missing cigar box and the relics.

The suggestion reported by David Keys ('Sacred Egyptian relics said to lie under the Needle', 6 December) that the cigar box and the relics might have been placed by Dixon under Cleopatra's Needle in 1878 was not a guess, but the logical result of an extensive investigation. Since the start of the investigation in early September this year, the British Museum has repeatedly stated that the relics were not in its keeping and had never been. Thus Mr Keys' article, nearly four months after the matter was first raised, went to the next logical possibility: that the box containing cigars that we know Dixon placed under Cleopatra's Needle in 1878 might have been the same cigar box containing the relics. Dixon's Masonic connection made this a high probability. It is this bold journalistic tour de force that, very likely, gave the necessary impetus for the relics to be brought finally to light.

I hope that now, after so long a time, the general public will be allowed soon to see the relics on display.

Yours sincerely,


Giza, Cairo

18 December

(Photograph omitted)