Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Scales of Anubis: The Feather of Truth - Background

Previous episodes start here:
Scales of Anubis – The Feather of Truth
“In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Ma'at", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. This is why hearts were left in Egyptian mummies while their other organs were removed, as the heart (called "ib") was seen as part of the Egyptian soul. If the heart was found to be lighter or equal in weight to the feather of Maat, the deceased had led a virtuous life and would go on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat.[26]
The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. While the heart was weighed the deceased recited the 42 Negative Confessions as the Assessors of Maat looked on.[26]
The Feather of Truth (or Maat) is one of the parts of the scales of Anubis – coupled with the vessel of the heart these two components create the balancing scales.
In the Scales of Anubis campaign the Feather was thought to be lost to history but the various global agencies intent on finding the scales have put even more efforts into identifying their lost resting places.


In 1819 William John Bankes, the former aide de camp in Wellington’s peninsular army, visited the temple of Abu Simbel in Egypt. Fascinated by this ancient civilisation Bankes created one of the largest private collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts in Great Britain. This was housed in the ancestral home of Kingston Lacy, Dorset.
William John Bankes

The centrepiece of this collection was the Philae Obelisk, transported at great cost to the British Isles this now stands in the ornamental gardens of Kingston Lacy. Inscribed with both Egyptian and Greek characters this monument was in itself as important as the Rosetta stone. The foundation stone of the Obelisk was laid by none other than the Duke of Wellington in the 1820’s.

Bankes continued to add to his collection right through to his death in 1855. The family title and estate passed to his nephew Walter Ralph Bankes.

The Philae Obelisk outside Kingston Lacy

The Kingston Lacy estate bordered that of Cranbourne Chase belonging to Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers  (1827 – 1900) , Pitt Rivers will ever be a prominent landmark in the history of the progress of archaeology and ethnology.  Indeed he went on to found the Pitt River museum in Oxford University.

Like Bankes, Pitt Rivers enjoyed a long career in the army and fought at the battle of Alma in the Crimean campaign.

Augustus Pitt Rivers

In my alternative history It is not unreasonable to assume that Pitt Rivers was aware of his neighbour’s illustrious career and perhaps this sparked his fascination in archaeology. My ‘alternative history goes on..   

William John Bankes did indeed decipher the obelisks runes and uncovered passages relating to the scales of Anubis, specifically referring to the Feather of Maat (more on this shortly).

With no immediate heir to his estate Bankes bequeathed his coded diaries onto Pitt Rivers (knowing that this young inquisitive man might be able to make sense of this long lost artefact. It is not known what Pitt Rivers would have made of this gift but we do know that correspondance between the two families ceased until the 1880’s.

Correspondence (held by the Pitt Rivers museum reveals that letters were exchanged between Ralph Bankes and Pitt Rivers. Pitt Rivers asking for permission to excavate the old iron age settlement at Badbury Rings on the Kingston Lacy estate. Permission was denied.

(article in question – box B1 /4)
Badbury Rings

Had Pitts Rivers been able to decipher the coded diaries. Was there a connection between the the Philae Obelisk and the Badley Rings?

It is now November 1936 – both Pitts Rivers and Ralph Bankes have passed on.

The Kingston Lacy estate is now owned and run by Ralph’s son – Henry John Ralph Bankes, a young wealthy socialite.

Pitt Rivers was succeeded by his son – George Pitt Rivers – a known Nazi sympathiser and cousing to Winston Churchill's wife.

George Pitt Rivers

Its is probably worth noting that by November 1936 Great Britain had been plunged into a constitutional crisis. The King Edward VIII determined to marry the American divorcee was facing a showdown with parliament.

In November Edward, still king visited Dorset and whilst there was invited to stay overnight with Pitts Rivers (ficticious) at Cranborne Chase.
Edward VIII visiting Dorset

It was at dinner The King was introduced to members of Ahnerbe and was informed of the legend of the Scales of Anubis. Could it be that one of the missing pieces of the Scales of Anubis lay a few miles away? The King and his trusted advisors saw the opportunity of cementing the relationship between Nazi Germany and the British Empire through cooperation and the procurement of the various components of the Scales.

An elite unit of Fallschirmjager have parachuted into Dorset to retrieve the next piece.

Fortunately for the allies, the head of Egyptology at Oxford (and head of PITH) Battiscombe Gunn has also been on this trail. Alerted by his friend Churchill that George Pitt Rivers was known to have affiliations with the Nazi party of Germany and that a meet was taking place in Cranbourne Chase in November a PITH agent infiltrated the country estate. This agent has learned of the impending raid and measures to secure the artefact before the Ahnerbe have been put into action.

But where is the Feather of Truth – could clues of its existence lie inside the collection at Kingston Lacy? Could the runes on the obelisk reveal more ? What is the secret of Badley Rings? Why is the King’s presence important?

More will be revealed soon…
The game is scheduled for this coming Monday...





  1. Splendid. I've got my popcorn and I'm sitting comfortably...

  2. Wonderful stuff! Roll on the next instalment!

  3. Wonderful stuff! Roll on the next instalment!

  4. A great movie-like story. I'm looking forward to the reports and the movie.

  5. ! say! These Nazis need taking down a peg or two!