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  • Writer's pictureGreat Wonders of Egypt

Tut Ankh Amun: The Discovery

Lord Carnarvon

He is the 5th earl of Carnarvon, George Edward Herbert. He was fond of motoring which was an infant sport at the time. He used to drive his car with a great speed and he was brought before magistrates on several occasions. The inevitable accident happened 1901, in Germany. This accident left him appallingly weak. Complying with his doctor’s orders, he became wintering abroad. He came to Egypt in 1903, and stayed in Cairo.It was very dull for him, that’s why he left to Luxor which was a hive of excavation at that time. He took a concession to dig in the west bank ofLuxor. For a whole season he didn’t find anything except a mummified cat placed in a wooden coffin. After this season, he wanted to take it more seriously, so he was introduced to Carter.

After this introduction, Carter & Carnarvon started working together. It was in year 1907 that they were given a concession to dig in the Theban necropolis. In this 5 year concession, the Carter-Carnarvon team made its mark. Many private tombs were found. They date from the end of the middle kingdom to the start of the new kingdom. Many tablets inscribed with important historical texts have been found and Maspero was always there to congratulate them. In 1912, the team left the Theban necropolis and went north. Carter thought he’ll be lucky excavating in Lower Egypt, but very few things were found. From the beginning of their concession, Carnarvon’s ultimate dream was to excavate in the Theban royal necropolis. In 1914 they took the concession to excavate there. Their earliest discovery was the tomb of Amenhotep 1st It was plundered in antiquity and the mummies of the king & his mother were taken for reburial at Dier El Bahari by Herihor, a 21st dynasty king.

In March 1915, he was clearing the tomb of Amenhotep 3rd he found many objects beside the entrance. They included; axes, tools, vessels of pottery and limestone & several blue faience cartouche plaques inscribed with the name of Amenhotep. The 1st world war affected the digging in the valley. Lord Carnarvon was stranded in England, unable to go to Luxor to supervise the work & Carter was involved in the war as a diplomatic courier.

By 1917, Carter was able to return to the valley, this time with a different target. He was searching for a single tomb, Tut Ankh Amun. Countless boys & men labored to move thousands of tons of limestone rubble by basket. But finds were few. In 1920, 13 jars containing tools & oils used in Merenptah’s burial were found beside the entrance of his tomb.

From that time till 1922 nothing else was found. Disappointment & costs of the excavation started to mount up. Carnarvon decide that his excavation in the valley must come to an end, believing what has been said by Davis,” the valley has nothing more to give”. Carter was summoned to England in OCT 1922. In his meeting with Carnarvon, Agreement was made to end the digs in DEC 1922.

Carter went back to Egypt resuming his digs in 1st FEB 1922. 3 days later, the beginning of steps cut out in the bed rock has been found. By the afternoon he cleared the stairway and found himself faced with a plaster door with seal impressions left on its front. After deciphering the letters, it was reading Tut Ankh Amun. A telegram was sent to lord Carnarvon urging him to come as soon as possible. On 23rd FEB Carnarvon & his daughter were stepping down from the train in Luxor station. They were received by Carter & the governor. Carnarvon & his daughter were now in the scene, the door was broken & it was leading to a passage at the end of which there was another door. It leads to the antechamber. When Carter stood in the middle of this chamber with a flickering candle, he was overwhelmed by the richness of this room and he saw the glint of gold every where. On the eastern side of the antechamber there was another plaster door flanked by two statues. After breaking it, a huge gilded shrine was found, at this point, Carter said, “I believe I got Tut intact”.

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