In 1924, the University of Chicago established the Oriental Institute in Luxor, Egypt. Better known as Chicago House, the institute performed architectural and epigraphic surveys of Medinet Habu, the mortuary temple of Ramesses III. Under the auspices of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, the epigraphic team and a small army of laborers set about unearthing the temple that had sat undisturbed for over 3,000 years.
Late summer, 1926: The team uncovers inscribed reliefs depicting Ramesses’ defeat of the Sea Peoples. Further excavation yields even greater finds of pottery, hieroglyphics, and more inscriptions. On August 18th, working late into the night, Professor Aaron Bollacher succeeds in translating the inscriptions that he believed would establish the Oriental Institute’s preeminence in the field of archaeology.
By Bollacher’s discovery, the staff redoubles their efforts, poring over inscriptions and ordering round-the-clock excavations. Bollacher calls in old friends and old favors, assembling a team of experts to be flown in from across the pond.
The mysteries of ancient Luxor are stirring.