169 APPEAL TO THE WORLD January 9, 1960 marked a watershed between the past and the future for the Abu Simbel temples. On this day work began on construction of the Aswan Dam, a monumental undertaking that would create a basin with a capacity of 157 billion cubic meters, so large that it would completely submerge the works of Ramesses II. Lacking the financial resources required to save the temples, Egypt turned to UNESCO for international support. Just three months later, the organization responded by launching an appeal to its member states and anyone else willing to assist in saving the archaeological treasures of Nubia from the waters. Appeal to the world Corrugated sheet metal tunnel allowing access to the Small Temple during the work. Photo by Günther R. Reitz, November-December 1964. The rescue mission aroused considerable interest among major construction firms around the world, due both to the chance to attempt an extraordinary undertaking and the prestige that success would bring with it. Leading technicians and engineers began to work on possible solutions. Some of them proposed building concrete barges under and around the temples; others suggested leaving them underwater, protected by reinforced concrete domes, providing access through elevators inserted in vertical shafts. One of the most imaginative proposals came from the American filmproducerWilliam MacQuitty. Inspired by the myth of Atlantis, the magnate suggested that the temples should be submerged, separating the turbid waters in the dam from the limpid waters around them by means of a membrane of corrugated concrete, and sealing the interiors. From observation galleries visitors would have been able to admire the giant figures of Ramesses II underwater from different heights, from the level of their heads to that of the feet of the huge statues. And, once they reached the level of the floor of the temples, they could have peered inside the inner chambers through observation domes. To accomplish this, it would have been necessary to solve the problem of the friable and