SAMAWAH, IRAQ – Hailed as perhaps the most precious treasure after all, archaeologists in southern Iraq have discovered an ancient cache of friends made along the way – a find as valuable as it is anthropologically significant.
The trove of priceless friendships, discovered in the tomb of a Sumerian prince dating from 4,000 B.C.E, includes a loyal but cowardly sidekick, an outwardly stoic sea captain with a heart of gold, and an extremely rare wisecracking cat. It is believed that the ragtag group of mistifts was placed in the tomb in order to guarantee the deceased a series of heartwarming misadventures in the afterlife.
The discovery has come as something of a shock to the world’s archeological community. “It’s not uncommon to find important figures from this time period buried with a year’s supply of believing in themselves,” says Alfred Castiger, lead archaeologist on the dig, “but this is unprecedented. This completely upsets the established timeline.”
Castiger and his team are no strangers to rattling the archeological status quo. Last year they uncovered four exquisitely preserved Egyptian canopic jars containing the journey – previously thought to have held little value in ancient Egypt.
That discovery was dogged by controversy when experts protested the decision to send the jars to the British Museum. The Egyptian antiquities minister had allowed the artefacts to leave the country, arguing that “No matter how far they go they will always be right here,” while tapping the country’s heart.
Castiger has already moved on to his next, greatest discovery, which he has reason to believe may be inside him the whole time.