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About 4000 years ago, the people who lived on the banks of the River Nile were highly civilized. They lived in cities and built temples where they worshipped their gods. Also, they built tombs and pyramids where they buried their dead. This period of civilization lasted from around 3000 BC to 500 BC and is known as Ancient Egypt. The kings and queens of Ancient Egypt believed that after they died they went on a long journey. Their bodies had to be prepared for this journey and many valuable and beautiful things were put in the tombs with their bodies. They believed that they needed these things for a long journey to a New Life. The bodies of the dead kings and queens were covered with perfumes and oils. Then they were wrapped in cloth. When a body is prepared in this way, it is called a mummy. The bodies were then put into tombs and the tombs were closed tightly. The air could not get into the tombs. A body which is mummified and then sealed in a tomb in this way does not decay. It stays the same for thousands of years in the hot, dry sands of Egypt. Archeologists study ancient history by digging in the sands for ancient temples and tombs. The archeologists who study the Ancient Egyptian Civilization search for these tombs so that they can find out more about the way the Egyptians lived. The archeologists study the clothes, the furniture and the food which they find in these tombs. They study the treasures and the writings and drawings on the walls. But the treasures in the tombs also attract' thieves and robbers. In ancient times, thieves often stole the gold and silver which were placed in the tombs with the bodies. The kings and queens were afraid that their tombs would be opened and their valuables stolen. They had their tombs built in secret places deep inside a hill or a mountain. Today, these tombs still attract robbers. Many people all over the world are ready to pay millions of dollars for the valuables from the tombs. These valuables from ancient times are called antiquities. And there are gangs of international criminalsgangs of thieves from many different countries - who try to steal these antiquities. They then try to smuggle the antiquities out of Egypt and sell them in Western Europe or America. Egyptian law says that every antiquity which is found must be given to the Egyptian Department of Antiquities. Chief Inspector Salahadin El Nur is Head of a special police department, the Antiquities Protection Department. Salahadin's job is to stop anyone taking an antiquity out of Egypt without permission. Holiday in London It is hot in Cairo in August - very hot. The people who live in Cairo go away in August if they can. Some go to Alexandria, where it is much cooler, and some of the lucky ones go abroad to Europe or America. Salahadin El Nur, Chief Inspector in the Egyptian Police, was one of the lucky ones. He was able to go on holiday because no archeologists come to Egypt in August when it is so hot. Archeologists prefer to come to Egypt in the cooler months of winter. It is hot in Cairo in August, but it is much hotter in the south of Egypt! In the desert around Luxor, the sun can burn a man's body like a bar of red-hot iron. And it is there that most of the archeologists want to work. Many of the ancient temples and cities of Egypt are in and around the modern town of Luxor. Thursday, 4th August, was Salahadin's last day at work. He was going on holiday for three weeks. His assistant, Inspector Leila Osman, would be in charge while Salahadin was away.