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Why are the Smithsonian denying a 1909 excavation ever happened?
On April 5th, 1909, the Phoenix Gazette carried a front page spread about an extraordinary archaeological expedition in the Grand Canyon. The story went into great detail about the mission and explained that a Professor S.A. Jordan from the Smithsonian had recovered objects of Egyptian origin in a remote cave in the canyon.
When asked about the article regarding a Smithsonian excavation in the Grand Canyon where Egyptian artifacts had been found—and whether they could offer more information—a representative of the institution said:
THE FIRST THING I CAN TELL YOU BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, IS THAT NO EGYPTIAN ARTIFACT OF ANY KIND HAVE EVER BEEN FOUND IN NORTH OR SOUTH AMERICA. THEREFORE, I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE HAS NEVER BEEN INVOLVED IN ANY SUCH EXCAVATIONS.”
When asked for comment on the intriguing newspaper story, a representative from the Smithsonian was adamant in their rejection of the entire narrative. “The first think I can tell you before we go any further is that no Egyptian artifact of any kind has ever been found in North or South America, ” they said, “Therefore, I can tell you that the Smithsonian Institute has never been involved in any such excavations.” Further to that, the Institute also denied any knowledge of Professor Jordan or his colleague G.E. Kinkaid who was also referenced at length in the article.
Given the unequivocal denial of the Smithsonian Institute about the expedition, it could easily be assumed that the article was nothing more than an early twentieth-century example of fake news and the story was nothing more than a very intricate hoax. After all, this was an era when newspapers thrived on sensationalist stories, and journalistic oversight was negligible.
But one many thought there was far more to the story than that. Carl Hart, the editor of World Explorer, found a map of the Grand Canyon and was intrigued to discover that a huge number of the sites on the north side of the canyon had Egyptian names. A cursory examination of the map turned up sites called the Tower of Ra, the Tower of Set, the Osiris Temple, the Horus Temple and the Isis Temple. The Haunted Canyon also had a site named the Cheops Pyramid, as well as various names which appeared to refer to Eastern religions such as the Buddha Cloister, Buddha Temple, Shiva Temple and Manu Temple.
Could it be possible that this was nothing more than a coincidence? The World Explorers Club decided that it was certainly compelling enough to investigate and sent an archaeologist to the site to determine whether there was any connection between this region of North America and the ancient Egyptians. After a brief investigation, the archaeologist was certainly of the opinion that the names were just coincidence and it is likely that the early adventurers who explored this area simply had a fondness for Egyptian and Far Eastern names.
However, this exploration of the region was incomplete as most of the area was restricted owning to the dangerous caves and unstable rocks. This means that the truth may still be out there to be discovered.