Monday 19 September 2011

Verbal Diarrhoea #7

"Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."
Claims 58-year-old Hong Kong dentist Ng Tze-chuen on Kathleen Martinez, a lawyer turned archaeologist from the Dominican Republic

Great caption … not. Pic from SCMP

It is always discomforting and sometimes hilarious when older men talk about younger women … (e.g. see here for 71-year-old Frederick Forsyth on "winner" Anna Chapman)

In this case, it is a 58-year-old dentist who appears to be sugar-coating his co-researcher who is, it has to be said, dressed rather provocatively for an archaeologist (not that I am knowledgeable about how archaeologists are typically attired).

Related Posts on Verbal Diarrhoea


Dentist's quest for Cleopatra's tomb (SCMP; paywall)
Hongkonger with a record of scientific missions works with Dominican on ancient Egyptian mystery
Adrian Wan
Aug 24, 2011

A Hong Kong dentist known for his love of science exploration is about to embark on a mission to find the lost tomb of doomed Egyptian lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

Ng Tze-chuen, 58, said he would work with Kathleen Martinez, a lawyer turned archaeologist from the Dominican Republic, on delivering "the most important discovery of the 21st century".

They would visit Egypt together next month to meet Zahi Hawass, Egypt's controversial former minister of state for antiquities, Ng said.

Hawass was appointed to the ministerial post in January by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shortly before the latter stepped down in February. Hawass was in turn dismissed by the new government but reappointed; he resigned last month amid reports of widespread looting at Egypt's museums.

Ng said the changes in Hawass' official status would not affect their mission. "He still oversees all these projects, and we're going to see him next month to discuss the next stage of the search for the tombs. He is irreplaceable - nobody does it better than him," Ng said.

The dentist, who has operated in Causeway Bay for 30 years, is known for his involvements in world-class science projects, including an unsuccessful Mars effort by Britain's Beagle 2 spacecraft in 2003. He said he was chosen for the Egyptian mission because he impressed Hawass by establishing a team of international scientists for a third attempt at investigating a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for the Pharaoh Khufu.

He will design a robotic probe fitted with LED lights and a wide-angle camera to locate a tomb thought to contain the remains of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, at Abusir, a Mediterranean town on the western edge of the Nile delta that used to be called Taposiris Magna.

"This will be the most important and interesting exploration I have been involved in," he said. Of his working partner Martinez, he said: "Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."

Martinez said they were chasing their dreams because "he's a dentist dedicated to the invention of robots and research devices and I'm a lawyer with a passion for archaeology".

Martinez, who stopped work as a lawyer five years ago to look for Cleopatra's tomb, pioneered the theory that she could be buried at Taposiris Magna. Martinez was part of a team that in 2009 found a mask said to represent Antony, 22 coins with Cleopatra's face and 10 noble tombs. They also discovered a series of deep shafts where the lovers might be buried.

Of the expedition, Martinez said: "If there's a 1 per cent chance that the last queen of Egypt could be buried there, it is my duty to search for her."

Two years ago, Hawass and Martinez identified three underground sites ripe for excavation.

"If we discover the tomb ... it will be the most important discovery of the 21st century. If we do not discover the tomb ... we made major discoveries here, inside the temple and outside the temple," she said.

Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30BC after losing the Battle of Actium.


  1. She should take care of her figure going so often in the media...but, together they portray the image of two-of-a-kind; as we say in Portuguese: Only one home is ruined...

  2. Thanks Paula. Yes, she should take care of her health and figure.

    Perhaps these academic-explorers should take a leaf out of Indiana Jones' book and become fitter and funnier!?

  3. aimlesswanderer18 March 2012 at 16:05

    Or maybe they should have a film crew stalking them?

  4. Thanks AW. Yes, that would make for "reality entertainment that crosses two cultures and is set in Egypt". What more do TV executives and the masses want?

  5. aimlesswanderer22 March 2012 at 15:22

    I bet he would really like to go into a dark room and, ahem, 'explore' the good professor's, umm, landscape.

  6. It is too easy, so I won't bother to associate 'dentist' with 'cavities', 'drills' and exploration. Ahem!