A painting on wood of The Pharaon Tutankhamun destroying his enemies. Image credit: Egyptian Museum of Cairo / CC.
In one of the most famous tales of archaeological history, on 4 November 1922 British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the entrance to the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
The quest for the tomb of the Boy King
It was Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign of 1798 that ignited a European interest in ancient Egypt and its mysteries. When his troops faced an army of Mamelukes under the shadow of the pyramids, he famously called out to them; “from the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.”
'Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh' curator Dr. Tarek El Awady gives Dan an exclusive tour of the exhibition and the remarkable treasures of Tutankhamun, 'The Boy King' of Ancient Egypt.Watch Now
In 1882, the British seized the country from Napoleon’s grip and the craze for Egyptology intensified. The discovery of a well-preserved royal tomb became an obsession. Ancient Pharaohs were famous for their lavish tombs. Inevitably tales of vast wealth drew grave robbers, who emptied many tombs of their treasure and even their corpses. By the 20th century, only a handful of tombs remained undiscovered, and presumably intact, including that of the little known Tutankhamen.
A boy king, reigning during a troubled time for the 18th Dynasty, Tutankhamen had died aged just 19. During the early years of the 20th century, American businessman and Egyptologist Theodore Davis discovered some ancient clues hinting at the existence of an undiscovered tomb for the young Pharaoh. They received little attention until his former colleague Howard Carter decided Davis might be on to something.
On examining the clues, Carter decided that Tutankhamen would be found in the famous Valley of the Kings. The Egyptologist was confident enough to approach his old friend Lord Carnarvon in order to procure funds for the dig. Carnarvon, who fancied himself an expert, cast his eyes over Carter’s plans and gave him permission to start digging in 1914. The First World War delayed Carter’s plans, and after several years of post-war excavations, Carnarvon was ready to pull funding from the expedition: nothing had been found.
Carter pleaded with his friend and patron for one more set of excavations before he gave up, and so in late 1922, Carter began his last excavation in the Valley of the Kings.
The ‘magnificent discovery’
Carter started his excavations next to the already-discovered tomb of Pharoah Ramesses. He met with little success until his local labourers were instructed to clear an old workman’s hut which was getting in the way. As they did so, an ancient step emerged from the sand.
Carter excitedly ordered the step cleared. As the sand was removed, a doorway was gradually revealed. To his astonishment, the entrance still bore the Anubis symbol of the Royal Necropolis, indicating that this tomb was previously untouched.
A telegram was rushed to Carnarvon telling him of the “magnificent discovery.” Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, arrived in Alexandria on 23 November, and the next day Carter began preliminary work to open the tomb.
Dr Colleen Darnell talks to Dan about 'Tutmania', the phase of obsession with the uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well as all things Egyptology.Watch Now
Making a small hole in the door, there was enough light to see that there was still gold inside. When asked what he could see, Carter replied with the famous words: “yes, wonderful things.” The tomb wasn’t actually opened until the following day, in the presence of officials from the Egyptian Department of Antiquities: some claim that Carnarvon, Evelyn and Carter made a secret, illegal visit that night.
When they finally did gain entrance, they discovered a room full of treasures and insights into the life of a young man who had lived in an indescribably different world. They found chariots, statues, and most famously the young king’s exquisite death mask. Grave-robbers had left marks but had left almost everything intact, making it one of the most remarkable finds of 20th century Egyptology.
Was the tomb cursed?
In the years that followed, the tomb was fully excavated, its contents analysed and shown to admiring crowds across the world. The body of Tutankhamen himself was subject to rigorous tests. It became clear that he had suffered numerous genetic disorders due to his parents being closely related, and that this – combined with malaria – had contributed to his premature death.
Tutankhamen’s tomb remains one of the most famous archaeological discoveries of all time.
One of the legends that has arisen following the tomb’s discovery is that it was cursed. Many of those involved in its excavation befell strange and unlucky fates: 8 of the 58 involved died within the next dozen years, including Lord Carnarvon himself, who succumbed to blood poisoning just six months later.
Some scientists have speculated the room may have contained radiation or poison: there is no evidence to substantiate this, and many believe the idea of a ‘curse’ was invented by newspapers of the day in order to sensationalise events. Other tombs did have ‘curses’ inscribed on their entrances, presumably in the hope of deterring grave robbers.
Wonderful Things: Howard Carter's Discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb
The great discoverer of the treasures of King Tutankhamun, Howard Carter, was born on May 9, 1874 CE to Samuel John and Martha Joyce (Sands) Carter in Kensington, England. A sick, home-schooled child, Carter learned to draw and paint from his father, an accomplished Victorian artist. These skills helped Howard Carter in his career as an archaeologist, working at a time when color photography was nonexistent.
His passion for Egyptology was awakened in his youth after witnessing a large collection of Egyptian antiquities housed in the mansion of Lord Amherst, who acquainted him to Percy Edward Newberry, a member of the London-based Egypt Exploration Fund. Newberry was at that time seeking an artist to copy the art within the Egyptian tombs on behalf of the Fund.
Howard Carter first visited Egypt in October 1891 CE, arriving in Alexandria at the age of 17. He began working at the Middle Kingdom tombs in Beni Hasan. Three months later, the young artist was learning the disciplines of field archaeology and excavation from the great Flinders Petrie. Under Petrie, Howard Carter went from artist to become an Egyptologist.
Nevertheless, Howard Carter's career took off at a meteoric pace, becoming main draughtsman and overseer at the site of the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir-el-Bahari in Luxor and appointed at the age of 25 as Inspector General of Monuments for Upper Egypt by the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, Gaston Maspero.
This is about the time when things took a turn for the worse for Egyptologist Howard Carter. His “stubborn” personality and individual views of his own career and methodologies put him at odds with fellow archaeologists and officials. In 1905 CE, after a bitter dispute with some wealthy French tourists, who complained to higher authorities, Carter was ordered to apologize and refused. His refusal caused him to be assigned to less important tasks, which prompted his resignation. The promising Egyptologist had to resort to his artistic talents to support himself, rather meagerly.
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Maspero did not forget Howard Carter, however, and introduced him to George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, about 1908 CE. Lord Carnarvon was prescribed annual wintertime visits to Egypt by his doctor to aid in a pulmonary ailment.
It was the extraordinary relationship of these two men, the unwavering determination of the Egyptologist and the trust bestowed by his sponsor, that produced the most famous archaeological discovery of all time.
Howard Carter undertook the supervision of Carnarvon's sponsored excavations and by 1914 CE had secured some antiquities for his patron's personal collection. But his real dream was to find the tomb of an ancient young pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, a glorious period of Egyptian history.
Before the name of Tutankhamun, or King Tut, became a household word, this pharaoh was first known through a small faience cup inscribed with the king's name found by American Egyptologist Theodore Davis in 1905 CE. Davis thought he had found the looted tomb of Tutankhamun after he discovered an empty single chamber (KV58) containing just a small cache of gold foils with the names of Tutankhamun and his successor Ay.
Both Carter and Carnarvon suspected that Davies was wrong in assuming that KV58 was in fact the tomb they were after, since Tutankhamun's mummy was not found either among the cache of royal mummies discovered back in 1881 CE at Deir el Bahari or at KV35 (Amenhotep II) in 1898 CE. The missing body of Tutankhamun could only mean that his tomb was was not disturbed when the ancient priests assembled the royal mummies for protection. Furthermore, it was also possible that the tomb's location was forgotten and, therefore, not robbed in antiquity.
Season after season went by until, no longer capable of sustaining another search, Lord Carnarvon gave up hope and returned to Britain. Carter, however, would not give up and persuaded his patron for a last chance.
Only three days after the excavation season began in November 1, 1922 CE, Howard Carter stepped on a platform he found after clearing ancient debris from the construction of tombs. This was the first step of a sunken staircase which, after slow and careful excavation, led the team to witness the intact royal seals of King Tutankhamun for the first time. The telegram Carter send to his patron read: “At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb with seals intact re-covered same for your arrival congratulation.”
Howard Carter had to endure 15 excruciatingly anxious days waiting for the arrival of Lord Carnarvon to be there with him for this momentous event in their lives. Clearing work was resumed and in the afternoon of November 26, Howard Carter made a small hole in the sealed doorway, inserted a candle and peered into the dark tomb. The wait was well worth it, for what lay behind the seals of the royal tomb were “wonderful things” indeed.
How was Tutankhamun’s Tomb Discovered? - History
T utankhamun's tomb is located in the Valley of the Kings between the tombs of Rameses II and Rameses IV. Although robbers probably entered the tomb at least twice in antiquity, its contents were virtually intact when it was discovered by Howard Carter.
T he design of Tutankhamun's tomb is typical of that of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty. At the entrance to the tomb there is a flight of stairs leading to a short corridor. The first room is the antechamber where many of the household items for Tutankhamun's voyage to eternity were found. Off this room is an annex, and at the far end is an opening that leads to the burial chamber. This chamber was guarded by two black sentry-statues that represent the royal ka (soul) and symbolize the hope of rebirth -- the qualities of Osiris, who was reborn after he died.
T he burial chamber contains Tutankhamun's sarcophagus and coffin. Its walls are painted with scenes of Tutankhamun in the afterworld - the ritual of "opening the mouth" to give life to the deceased, the solar bark on which one travels to the afterworld, and Tutankhamun's ka in the presence of Osiris.
O ff the burial chamber is the Treasury room, where a magnificent gilded canopic shrine was found. This was the most impressive object in the Treasury. Howard Carter explains what he saw when he first looked into the Treasury:
"Facing the doorway, on the farther side, stood the most beautiful monument that I have ever seen - so lovely that it made one gasp with wonder and admiration. The central portion of it consisted of a large shrine-shaped chest, completely overlaid with gold, and surmounted by a cornice of sacred cobras. Surrounding this, free-standing, were statues of the four tutelary goddesses of the dead - gracious figures with outstretched protective arms, so natural and lifelike in their pose, so pitiful and compassionate the expression on their faces, that one felt it almost sacrilege to look at them."
Howard Carter, The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen
A gold chest held four canopic jars containing the dead pharaoh's viscera (internal organs -- lungs, stomach, intestines and liver). Four goddesses protected the shrine -- Neith to the north, Selkis to the south, Isis to the west and Nephthys to the east. Also found in this room were thirty-five model boats and a statue of Anubis, a god represented as having the head of a jackal. For conservation purposes, all these treasures have been removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Today in history: tomb of king Tutankhamun discovered
CAIRO – 4 November 2017: November 4 is King Tutankhamun day, named after the day his tomb was first discovered in 1922 in the Valley of Kings, leading to a monumental excavation of one of the world’s most famous historical figures.
Sir Howard Carter, British archaeologist and Egyptologist had made it his life’s quest to find the tomb of King Tutankhamun first. When Carter had begun work in Egypt in 1891, most of the documented Pharaohs had their tombs discovered. One, however, proved to be elusive King Tutankhamun, whose resting place had yet to be found and who Egyptologists knew very little about.
With the end of World War I, Carter made it his goal to be the first to uncover the tomb of Tutankhamun. Carter had worked in Egypt for 31 years since he was 17, using his skills as an artist to copy inscriptions from walls. He would then become appointed inspector-general of monuments in Upper Egypt. In 1907 he started to work for George Herbert, the fifth earl of Carnarvon, who would aid him in his quest to uncover the lost tomb of Tutankhamun.
Carter was certainly dedicated, spending a massive amounts of money and time in order to track down where the tomb might lie. With Lord Carnarvon as his sponsor, they began working earnestly at excavating the Valley of Kings. Alas, even after five years of work, Carter wasn’t able to report back on anything substantial.
He refused to give up however, tirelessly working to fulfill his quest, and soon enough, Carter would be rewarded beyond his imagination.
The discovery of steps beneath the sand on November 1, 1922 was a breakthrough for Carter. At long last, his tireless search for Tutankhamun would finally bear fruit. Carter announced the discovery on November 6, and it took three weeks until he could begin work on excavating into the tomb. Workers exposed all of the steps and the sealed doorway into the tomb, which at one point had been broken in by tomb robbers but resealed again, leading to hope that the contents had not been plundered.
Carter finally entered on November 25, finding evidence of resealed holes but noting that it had likely been thousands of years since anyone had entered again. If anything remained in the tomb, it could have proved to be one of the grandest archaeological discoveries in all of history.
When Carter made a hole inside the sealed door and peeked inside, he was left astounded. Gold flooded his senses, and animal statues, rich perfumes, piles of ebony, childhood toys and the Pharaoh himself adorned the room alongside countless other treasures. It was a bounty of riches the likes of which he had never been seen before Carter couldn’t have anticipated this finding in his wildest dreams.
The opening of Tutankhamun's tomb via Wikimedia Commons
The prize finding was Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus, made of stone and containing three layers of coffins nestled within each other, of which the final one was made of gold and held Tutankhamun’s body, which had lain undisturbed for 3,000 years. Much of the treasures here are now in possession of the Cairo museum, with Tutankhamun himself still resting within the Valley of Kings.
[Tutankhamun's Golden Mask via Wikimedia Commons]
Not everything related to the discovery of the tomb was joyous. On April 5, 1923, a year after the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Lord Carnavon died. He had been bitten by a mosquito, and the bite grew infected when he slashed it open while shaving. As if that wasn’t enough, his dog Susie died shortly after. Reports of power outs were common as well, leading to the belief that something supernatural was going on.
News of Lord Carnavon’s illness and death lead to media frenzy, and journalists hopped on the chance to report that he had died due to the Pharaoh’s curse.
While Lord Carnavon was the only one of the people directly involved with the excavation to die early, there were numerous deaths to those who were loosely connected to it. One example was of Egyptian prince Ali Kemal Fahmy Bey, who had visited the tomb. In the same year of Carnavon’s death, Prince Ali was shot to death.
In 1934, Albert Lythgoe, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's head Egyptologist passed away at the age of 66. He had directly viewed the open sarcophagus ten years earlier. While much of the curse’s effects were exaggerated fantasy, the mystery helped add another level of mystique to Ancient Egypt and Tutankhamun in the eyes of a public already fascinated by Egypt.
Who was King Tutankhamun?
[Mask of Tutankhamun via Wikimedia]
Tutankhamun was born in the 18th dynasty around 1341 B.C, and was the 12th Pharaoh of that period. Tutankhamun himself never actually did much. He was put on the throne when he was but a small child, and Egypt’s prosperous era was beginning to decline with the rise of Pharaoh Akhenaten and his new cult.
Akhenaten, believed to possibly be related to King Tut, had ordered the destruction of numerous of Amun and shut down various temples, demanding that the people of Egypt now worship the sun god Aten. He had even ordered a move of Egypt’s capital away from the rich waters of the Nile in order to construct a brand new city for him, out in the harsh desert. Suffice to say, Akhenaten was not popular.
Tutankhamun took his place as Pharoah immediately after his death, despite the fact that Tut was only eight years old. There was much doubt about how a child could lead Egypt, and most of the work was done by the boy king’s court of royal advisors. His original name was not, in fact, Tutankhamun originally Tutankhaten, meaning “the living image of Aten”, the boy changed his name to “living image of Amun”, or “Tutankhamun”.
This was a sign that as Pharaoh he was interested in undoing the damage Akhenaten had done, and return to the old ways. Examination of Tut’s mummy showed since that he suffered from malaria, which likely contributed to his untimely demise following a fall that broke his leg. Tutankhamen only ruled Egypt for a short decade before his death, and never managed to achieve much as ruler in his lifetime.
His early death took Ancient Egypt by surprise, and a tomb had not been prepared for him beforehand. Experts believe that Tutankhamun was simply buried in a tomb that had already belonged to another Pharoah, possibly queen Nefertiti, as his tomb was amongst the smallest found. Tutankhamun was eventually forgotten by the people of Egypt, and the sands swallowed up his grave in the Valley of Kings.
Long after his death, Tutankhamun can finally be remembered.
[Tut via Wikimedia]
This Date In History: The Tomb of Tutankhamun is Discovered (1922)
On this date in history, the tomb of a Pharaoh was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. It is perhaps the best known archaeological discovery in the history of the world. The entrance of the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun was discovered and was to reveal many treasures. The tomb was discovered by the British archaeologist Howard Carter and his Egyptian workmen. The were digging in the Valley and suddenly they discovered a step leading to a tomb. Carter soon established that the tomb was of King Tutankhamun.
The finding was a sensation and it made headlines around the world. Many experts believed that the majority if not all of the tombs of the Pharaoh had been discovered. If there were any tombs that were not discovered they had already been probably robbed a long time ago. Carter believed that some tombs were yet to be discovered and especially the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
One of the discoveries from the tomb of the Pharoah
King Tutankhamun, was not as well-known as many other Pharaohs and he had died when he was 18, before he could achieve anything. Carter began to investigate the Valley of the Kings for the tomb of Tutankhamun because he was convinced that it was located there. One of his Egyptian workmen discovered debris near an entrance to the tomb of another Pharaoh, Ramases IV. This was later to prove to be entrance of the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Carter later alerted his main financial backer Lord Carnarvon. On November, the 26 th the duo entered the main chamber of the tomb and they were astonished by what they found. The tomb was intact and unlike others had not been robbed. The tomb had several thousand precious and historic objects. They later found the mummified body of the king in his tomb. He had been laid to rest in a coffin that was made of almost pure gold. Many of the items found in the tomb were made of gold or from other precious materials. They had been placed in the tomb, because the Ancient Egyptians believed in an after-life and that the objects buried with the Pharaoh would be used in the next life.
A chest found in Tutankhamun&rsquos tomb
The bulk of the artefacts found in the tomb are now on display in a museum in Cairo. They are visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year.
King Tutankhamun had fascinated historians and the public ever since. Further investigations of the mummified corpse would seem to indicate that the young king had suffered a serious injury and this may have led to his death. There are some who argue that the young king was actually murdered and other who believe it was accidental. The tomb has allowed historians and researcher a better understanding of life in Ancient Egypt.
How long did it take to find Tutankhamun's tomb?
Read, more elaboration about it is given here. Similarly, how long did it take to excavate Tutankhamun's tomb?
Beside above, how did they find Tutankhamun tomb? British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen discover a step leading to the tomb of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. On November 26, 1922, Carter and fellow archaeologist Lord Carnarvon entered the interior chambers of the tomb, finding them miraculously intact.
Just so, where was King Tut's tomb and how long did it take to find it?
On November 4, 1922, British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt.
How long was Howard Carter looking for Tutankhamun's tomb?
British backer Lord Carnarvon wanted to call off the search for the lost tomb of Tutankhamun after six fruitless years of searching, but Howard Carter convinced him to stick it out for one more season&mdashresulting in the 20th century's most famous find.
On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter found the entrance to Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
The boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun reigned ca. 1332 to 1323 B.C., his name meaning that he is the living image of the god Amun. “Tut” was likely the son of the rather unique pharaoh Akhenaten, the husband to Nefertiti, who herself ranks seventh on a list of Top 10 African Rulers, Kings and Emperors. Tut’s father’s uniqueness stems from attempting something of a religious revolution. Tut’s father tried to focus worship on the sun disk called Aten in what some scholars identify as a type of monotheism in rejection to the usual polytheism associated with ancient Egyptians. Tut was even originally called Tutankhaten, i.e. the living image of Aten, before changing his name following his father’s death when traditional polytheism was restored. Given that he ascended the throne as a nine or ten-year-old boy and died at age eighteen, he probably did not make many decisions by himself during his short reign. Moreover, the young pharaoh, a possible product of incest died under mysterious circumstances, probably by accident, although some suggest assassination as the culprit.
Tut was subsequently mummified and entombed. He became largely a historic footnote until the Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter’s research in the early twentieth century. Although Carter made the ground-breaking discovery of the tomb on this date just over a hundred years ago, he did not peer inside for a few more weeks. Then, on November 26, 1922, he looked inside, probably the first human to do so in thousands of years. Carnarvon asked Carter if he could see anything. Carter replied, “Yes, wonderful things.”
Howard Carter and associates opening the shrine doors in the burial chamber (1924 reenactment of the 1923 event)
Carter’s meticulous work cataloging the many items in the tomb greatly advanced our knowledge of ancient Egypt. The discovery of Tut’s mummy, along with the beautiful mask of the young man’s face, and the impressive sarcophagi in which he rested undisturbed for centuries are without any doubt the most famous discoveries in all of Egyptology. Artifacts from the tomb have been exhibited throughout the world and have inspired dozens of films and even songs.
Yet, as for the claims that Carter and others associated with the tomb were somehow cursed, well, that is mere myth…
Question for students (and subscribers): Why was discovering King Tut’s tomb important to Egyptology? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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The discovery of Tut’s tomb ranks seventh on a list of the Top 10 Most Important Historical Finds. For more information on this incredibly important find, please read the below listed books.
Carter, Howard and A. C. Mace. The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen. Dover Publications, 1977.
The Boy Who Found Treasure and the Tomb of Tutankhamun
Most have heard the story of how on November 4th, 1922, Howard Carter discovered the celebrated tomb of Tutankhamun hidden in the sands of the Valley of Kings near Luxor, Egypt. King Tut’s Tomb was one of the most incredible discoveries of the century and it had remained untouched since the boy king’s burial chamber was sealed over 3,000 years before.
The famous line of Howard Carter, ‘Yes, wonderful things’, when answering, ‘Can you see anything’, asked by Lord Carnarvon, who was funding the search, continues to echo in our hearts. They had just opened a small hole and were peeping through the door of the tomb. What was seen was the tomb contained extraordinary artifacts and unimaginable treasures which went on to amaze the world when brought back to the surface.
There is a back story to the discovery that is often forgotten, though. It demonstrates how perseverance and a bit of luck pay off. ( I’ve written about part of it before: The Sacred Vessel in King Tut’s Tomb.)
Before the remarkable discovery, Howard Carter’s team had been searching unsuccessfully for over 6 years. The excavation was almost cancelled for the season because of lacking evidence a tomb would be found. But Carter convinced Lord Carnarvon to give him one more season to search. He believed fully he would be able to discover a tomb in this section of the Valley of Kings.
And while the ‘almost gave up on the search’ inspires us all to keep on in our own search for treasures, there is another part to this discovery that needs mentioned too.
The initial stone step, which led down to the tomb, was discovered by accident on the day of November 4th by a young water boy named Hussein Abdel Rasoul. Twice a day he would bring large pottery jars filled with water to the excavation site for the workers. The jars were tied with rope and placed on the back of donkey to make the journey.
At the site, the boy would take the jars off the donkey and set them in the sands. However, because the jars were pointed on the bottom, he would have to dig out some of the sand to set the jars in so they would remain upright. While swishing the sand away that miraculous day, he uncovered a flat stone which looked as if it was sculpted. He rushed to tell the workers of his find, and basically the rest is history. The excavation continued down the set of steps, from this first, to the door of the tomb!
It is difficult to determine if the step would have been later found by the workers or if they would have continued working in a different location. Might the discovery have been missed if not for the water boy doing his job? Might the tomb still be left undiscovered?
A photograph captures the boy’s exceptional part in the discovery. After the tomb was excavated, a necklace from the tomb was placed over his head. The Sacred Scarab necklace was only one of the many treasures found below the sands he had first scraped away. This particular treasure now hung on his neck as a result.
Years later, the young boy, now an old man, held the photograph of himself enjoying that moment. And then later, the son of that once young boy, held the photograph with the old man holding the photograph.
What a treasure the photographs are. They take you back to the moment in time when a young boy was acknowledged for his part in this fascinating story, and is remembered. You never know when or how a treasure is to be found!
'Everywhere the Glint of Gold'
Photo by De Agostini / S. Vannini / De Agostini Picture Library Collection / Getty Images
Tension mounted. If anything was left inside, it would be a discovery of a lifetime for Carter. If the tomb was relatively intact, it would be something the world had never seen. Carter wrote:
The next morning, the plastered door was photographed and the seals documented. Then the door came down, revealing the Antechamber. The wall opposite the entrance wall was piled nearly to the ceiling with boxes, chairs, couches, and so much more—most of them gold—in "organized chaos."
On the right wall stood two life-size statues of the king, facing each other as if to protect the sealed entrance that was between them. This sealed door also showed signs of being broken into and resealed, but this time the robbers had entered in the bottom middle of the door.
To the left of the door from the passageway lay a tangle of parts from several dismantled chariots.
As Carter and the others spent time looking at the room and its contents, they noticed another sealed door behind the couches on the far wall. This sealed door also had a hole in it, but unlike the others, the hole had not been resealed. Carefully, they crawled under the couch and shone their light.
Other Important Tomb Seals
Tomb Seal of Seti IIPic 4 – Relief of the sun god Ra and a scarab, at the entrance of the Tomb of Seti II
In this scene from the tomb of Seti II is shown the central image of the title illustration associated with the Litanies of Re. It is composed of the globe of the sun, inside which are carved the sun god in two of his guises: his dawn form Khepri, the scarab beetle, and his night form, the ram-headed Ra.
Litanies of Re
The Litany of Re is an important ancient Egyptian funerary text of the New Kingdom. Like many funerary texts, it was written on the inside of the tomb for reference by the deceased. Unlike other funerary texts, however, it was reserved only for pharaohs or very favored nobility.
Tomb Seal of Den
Den, also known as Hor-Den, Dewen and Udimu, is the Horus name of a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period who ruled during the First Dynasty of Egypt in 2970 BC.
Den was interred within a tomb (“Tomb T”) in the Umm El Qa’ab area of Abydos, which is associated with other First Dynasty kings.
Tomb T is among the largest and most finely-built of the tombs in this area. His tomb at Abydos is the first with a stepped entrance. In his reign there appear to be significant developments in the use and systematicity of writing.
Seal found in the tomb of pharaoh Den is a cylindrical seal which contains a earliest confirm list of first dynasty pharaohs. The names are listed in following order:
- Merneith (Den’s mother and regent)
This seal has an important role in the Egyptian chronology as it contains the name of Narmer as the first king of the first dynasty which often contradicts with Menes.