Dr Zahi Hawass, an egyptologist who styles himself as his country's 'Indiana Jones', has pressed foreign governments, museums and collectors to hand back even those treasures taken and maintained with the best of intentions. The British Museum has long resisted his attempts to return the Rosetta Stone.
They have helped make stars and history, formed political fashions and pharaohs' essentials for the afterlife and are counted as one indicator of economic boom and bust. They also stay closer to men for longer than their wives or girlfriends ever will. So, why is it that men apparently give so little consideration to their underpants?