London, June 16 : The Egyptian government has called upon Titanic discoverer Robert Ballad to find the lost sarcophagus of Menkaure, one of Egypt's greatest Pharaohs.
According to a report in the Times, the sarcophagus was lost more than 170 years ago.
Built from polished blue basalt to transport the king's earthly remains to the next world, the elaborately decorated vessel lay hidden inside the third-largest of Giza's renowned Pyramids for more than 4,000 years.
In 1837, the British colonel Richard William Howard Vyse blasted his way into Menkaure's sepulchral chamber using gunpowder and discovered the stone casket.
Vyse realised that his discovery could open the way for a new generation of grave robbers.
"As the sarcophagus would have been destroyed had it remained in the Pyramid, I resolved to send it to the British Museum," he noted in his diaries.
But unfortunately, the sarcophagus was lost again the following year before it could reach British shores.
The merchant ship Beatrice, which was carrying it and other antiquities found by the archaeologist, sank while sailing from Malta to Gibraltar - reportedly off the coast of Spain, near Alicante.
Now, the Egyptian Government wants to recover it with the aid of underwater robots.
For this purpose, Zahi Hawass, who heads Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities, has lined up the services of Robert Ballard, who found the Titanic using high-tech submersibles.
"I will seek a formula for co-operation with the Spanish Government and we will agree to return the sarcophagus to Egypt," said Hawass.
Experts have said that finding the ship will not be easy.
"It's going to be very challenging to find something of that sort," said John Baines, Professor of Egyptology at Oxford University.
But, according to Dr Hawass, "We have all the information from the time the ship sank, from Spanish newspapers and other sources."