Does Newport, Rhode Island have a connection to Egyptian tombs?
Many people don't realize that one of the most famous Egyptologists of his time was Theodore Montgomery Davis, who developed his passion while in semi-retirement and living in Newport, Rhode Island. Davis is buried at Newport's Island Cemetary, but during his lifetime - over the course of 12 years - Davis discovered 30 Egyptian tombs. Many of the found treasures are now housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. After each discovery, Davis would pen a book about his find. While his discoveries were overshadowed by the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter (whom Davis had worked with), they are still substantial.
Davis built and lived at The Reef beginning in 1885, one of several huge Newport mansions along Newport, Rhode Island's famous Ocean Drive. Brenton Point State Park now occupies the land of the former mansion. Davis died in 1915 and all that remains of The Reef today are its stables and stone tower, after the vacant mansion burned down in 1960. The story goes that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was playing golf that day at the nearby Newport Country Club, and law enforcement officials in The Reef's tower, assigned to protect the president, may have accidentally started the blaze with cigarette butts.
Davis' generosity in paying for the digs and, afterwards, donating most of the uncovered treasures for the public to enjoy was an unusual gesture for a man with such an immense fortune in his day.
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