Mystery Boysand the hidden artefacts - Part 1
The sun was hot as Jeremy and Kelvin climbed out of the clear, blue water and on to the pier. A few hours of snorkelling had left them tired but exhilarated. Being their first trip to El Gouna, or anywhere on the Red Sea for that matter, the underwater sights had hypnotised them making them feel like they were in a different world. The Red Sea was a welcome change from the cold, murky waters of England where the only place to see anything remotely interesting was in Cornwall.
The boys, still in primary school, had called themselves ‘The mystery Boys’ had a special way of attracting mischief and mystery to themselves. When a mystery presented itself before the boys, they were excellent at thinking their way through or around any questions and eventualities. This came from years of getting themselves out of trouble when being mischievous, but more importantly, staying under the radar.
“It was the flute fish that I loved the most. ” said 11 year old Kelvin with a tremor in his voice that excitement brings. “It’s almost like a see-through tube that swims.”
“For me,” said his younger brother Jeremy, “it was the first time I had seen tuna outside of a tin can”.
“You saw a tuna fish?”
“Yeah! Quick swimmers they are. It was out of sight before I could show you.”
They dried themselves in the sun as they watched the other snorkellers climb in and out of the water.
“Did you hear that?” Jeremy asked Kelvin with a wide-eyed grin.
“What?” Said Kelvin
“Those 2 men over there, the ones who just got out the water” he shifted his eyeballs to indicate the direction, “they said there's been a new discovery not far from here.”
“A discovery of what?”
“I don't know. listen in and see if we can get some more information.”
They listened and heard all about a recently discovered gold deposit in the Roman Ruin just outside El Gouna. At first they wondered how gold was discovered where there are no gold deposits for hundreds of miles. But it became evident that the gold had been pillaged by the Romans from an ancient Egyptian tomb somewhere on the Nile.
“Like pirates treasure...” whispered Kelvin.
They had heard enough. They had to go and see. Today. They were clever enough to realise that they would not be able to go into the site, but they wanted to get as close as possible to the action. When anything was found in Egypt, it's historical value was priceless and therefore the authorities called their most trusted and skilled excavators to analyse the site.
Whoever it was that found gold had obviously had alerted the authorities straight away, knowing that keeping such things concealed can lead to serious penalties if you're found out.
Jeremy and Kelvin had dubbed themselves The Mystery Boys because, in times like these, they just could not resist the pull of mystery and adventure.
The boys had seen the Roman ruin from hills when they had been walking there so they had an idea of where to go. Located on the shore, they thought it might be a good idea to kayak there and increase their chances of getting as close as possible. They hired a double kayak from The Clubhouse and took the hour's journey to edge of El Gouna and beyond.
They arrived to find a rather large workforce and a buzz of activity. Workmen were running to and fro while specialists were dusting off parts of the ruin. It was all very delicate work as they still wanted to protect the ruin and keep it as intact as possible. It seemed that there were bits of gold buried all over the site. The loot was probably shared out amongst soldiers who, for some reason, had all left without collecting their stolen items.
As they approached, they got some disapproving glances from the officials and it looked like they were going to be turned away quickly. But, just then, they heard their names. "Jeremy! Kelvin!". It was Nathan, a boy they had met at their hotel.
"What are you doing here?" Kelvin asked excitedly.
"I was going to ask you guys the same thing. My dad is working on the site and said I could come along - as long as I behaved myself...".
"So far, so good?" Jeremy asked with a wink.
"I only got here 15 minutes ago." laughed Nathan. "But don't make it harder for me! Come, Let's find my dad before you get thrown out."
Nathan's dad, Andrew, had a warm and friendly voice and greeted the boys with a smile. He was the go-to historian when it came to Romans. He had spent a lot of time in Egypt studying the transition between the Egyptian empire and the Roman empire.
The boys heard the raised voices that were becoming louder and more aggravated by the minute. Glancing over to where the argument was starting to form, they saw a man with a wheelbarrow, full of sand, trying to exit the perimeter fence.
“What's going on?” Kelvin asked Andrew, his curiosity overpowering his concern.
Andrew had been listening in, straining to translate the Arabic as quickly as it was being spoken.
“It seems that the man with the wheelbarrow is stealing gold, hiding it in the sand. At least that's what he's being accused of.” He paused to listen a bit more. “The man with the wheelbarrow is denying it. I guess there is only one way to find out”.
As if on cue, the guards took the wheelbarrow straight to a sifting and analysis machine to check for gold. The results came back negative. Proven innocent, they had no choice but to let the man pass.
Jeremy and Kelvin observed the guards, their frustration evident on their faces. The guards, like Andrew and the two boys were watching a man walk away with gold but nobody could prove it. He had somehow pulled the wool over their eyes.
The sun was already low on the horizon and with that, the site closed for the day and everybody had to go home. Leaving a handful of armed guards to keep watch, the site became silent once more.
“Come back tomorrow if you want.” Andrew said to the boys. “I'll organise a pass for you to go into the site, but you'll have to stay near me. No wandering off.”
The boys nodded enthusiastically.
“And don't bother kayaking all the way here. You can come with me, straight from the hotel.”
The boys sensed there was more to the man who had left the site, Had he really managed to steal gold from the site? It seemed impossible. But how had he done it? He got away with it with such ease that they suspected he might be back. They were often right.