discovery of the tomb

Photo Of The Day

November 1925. Tutankhamun's burial mask.The photo above was taken just as King Tut’s coffin lid was taken off. Tutankhamun is seen lying intact with a 24-pound burial mask made of solid gold. Photo colorizer Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome was recently commissioned to digitally color reconstructed photos of the discovery and exploration of Tutankhaten’s tomb starting in 1922. The project took several months, and a great deal of research was done into finding accurate color references for things seen in the photos. Image by Harry Burton. ©The Griffith Institute, Oxford.

November 1925. Tutankhamun’s burial mask.The photo above was taken just as King Tut’s coffin lid was taken off. Tutankhamun is seen lying intact with a 24-pound burial mask made of solid gold. Photo colorizer Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome was recently commissioned to digitally colour reconstructed photos of the discovery and exploration of Tutankhaten’s tomb starting in 1922. The project took several months, and a great deal of research was done into finding accurate color references for things seen in the photos. Image by Harry Burton. ©The Griffith Institute, Oxford.

“I see wonderful things”

Howard Carter, 1922

Entering King Tut’s Tomb

 

“My first care was to locate the wooden lintel above the door: then very carefully I chipped away the plaster and picked out the small stones which formed the uppermost layer of the filling. The temptation to stop and peer inside at every moment was irresistible, and when, after about ten minutes’ work, I had made a hole large enough to enable me to do so, I inserted an electric torch. An astonishing sight its light revealed, for there, within a yard of the doorway, stretching as far as one could see and blocking the entrance to the chamber, stood what to all appearances was a solid wall of gold.”

Howard Carter

While Howard Carter’s find of the mostly intact tomb of a pharaoh may have been lucky, it was the result of a dedicated career in Egyptology and the culmination of consistent exploration.

Howard Carter was born on May 9th, 1874 in the small town of Kensington, London, England. His father, an artist named Samuel John Carter who drew portraits (mostly of animals) for local landowners, trained Howard in the fundamentals of drawing and painting. He was Samuel Carter’s youngest son. But Howard Carter developed an early interest in Egypt, so when he was 17 years old, under the influence of Lady Amherst, a family acquaintance, he set sail for Alexandria, Egypt. It would be his first trip outside of England, and he hoped to work with the Egyptian Exploration Fund as a tracer. Tracers copied drawings and inscriptions on paper for further study.

His first assignment came at Bani Hassan, where he was tasked with recording and copying the scenes from the walls of the tombs of the princes of Middle Egypt. It is said that he worked diligently throughout the day, and slept with the bats in the tombs at night.

It was under the direction of William Flinders Petrie that Carter grew into his own as an archaeologist. Considered as one of the best field archaeologists of this time, Petrie really did not believe that Carter would ever become a good excavator. Yet Carter could have had no better teacher at this point in time. At el Amrna, Carter proved Petrie wrong by unearthing several important finds. During this training period, Carter also worked under Gaston Maspero, who would later become the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service.

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