Students Unravel a Recent Discovery
In early November, Discovery News published a story in which two Italian archaeologists—brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni—claimed to have found the remains of the lost army of Cambyses, son of Persian emperor Cyrus the Great, in Egypt.
The Greek historian Herodotus recounts the tale of Cambyses’ lost army in his Histories, writing that Cambyses sent an army of 50,000 soldiers to burn the oracle of Zeus. The army was said to have reached the city of Oasis when a great sandstorm buried the men, and the army was never heard from again. While most archaeologists dismiss the tale as folklore, some people have searched the Egyptian deserts for archaeological evidence to corroborate Herodotus’s description.
With skeptical eyes, the Mythbusters students investigated Cambyses, the Italian archaeologists, and the archaeological methodology. The research revealed poor documentation and cast doubt on the credentials of the archaeologists who claimed to make the discovery. The class wrote and submitted an op-ed piece to the Washington Post on their findings.