National Geographic : 1991 Apr
lakes. Then, when the pharaoh's charioteers were in hot pursuit, the winds could have turned, swamping the Egyptians. Beyond the Scriptures, evidence of the Exo dus is slight. It was not an event-the destruc tion ofone ofhis prized chariot brigades- that Ramses would have documented for posterity. Even a great pharaoh cannot rule an empire alone; there must be an army of functionaries. At Saqqara, the necropolis of Memphis, I visit Sayed Tawfik, chairman of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization.* He is excavating tombs of some of Ramses' highest officials. His dig sits on a baking, windswept desert plain. Around us rise the Old Kingdom pyra mids at Dahshur and the Step Pyramid of *On December 20, 1990, Dr. Tawfik died of a heart attack.