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Sunday, 16 April, 2000, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
Looking for a lost army
man in desert
Army was lost in a sandstorm
By the BBC's Caroline Hawley

Egyptian officials say they are preparing for a new attempt to solve a mystery that has puzzled archaeologists and historians for centuries - what happened to the lost army of the Persian king, Cambyses.

The latest mission comes after the apparent chance discovery of ancient remains in Egypt's Western desert.

According to the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, 50,000 Persian soldiers disappeared in the desert in the year 525 BC, shortly after Cambyses invaded Egypt.

The army was on its way to destroy a temple in the oasis town of Siwa, close to the modern border with Libya, when it was engulfed by a sandstorm while resting. The entire army is then said to have vanished.
man on camel at sunset
Artefacts were found in desert
There have been several unsuccessful expeditions over the past century to try to find traces of the soldiers. But there may now be renewed hope.

According to a senior Egyptian antiquities official, two years ago a team of geologists stumbled on ancient arrow heads and human bones in the area.

A joint team of archaeologists and geo-physicists is preparing to head into what is known as the sea of sand over the next few weeks. They'll be using satellite technology to map the remote site and analyse the finds.

Any connection to Cambyses's stricken army would be a major discovery, but some doubt that the ancient riddle will ever be solved.

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03 Mar 00 | Middle East
Iraq discovers pre-Islamic castle
12 Jul 99 | Middle East
Egypt to move temple
01 Mar 98 | Middle East
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