Tutankhamun tomb Discovery

Tutankhamun tomb was discovered in a remote area called the Valley of the Kings (or KV) at the western bank of Luxor, about 720 km south of Cairo. His tomb carried no KV 62. Inside the tomb there were treasures of a great value that had been lying under the ground for about 3300 years. It was uncovered by two British men: Howard Carter –under the sponsorship of Lord Carnarvon in 1922.

However we should also mention another American archaeologist his name was Theodore Davis, since he also discovered items bearing the name of King Tutankhamun. He was originally a lawyer interested in excavations and he was sponsoring archaeological digs in the area of the Valley of the King from 1902-1914. He discovered a large number of tombs including the tomb of Yuya and Thuya (parents of queen Ty).

Discovery Tutankhamun tomb

Discovery Tutankhamun tomb


Howard carter and the discovery of the tomb of  Tutankhamun

His assistant Ayrton, discovered in 1906 a cup inscribed with the name of Tutankhamun. In 1907, he discovered some vessels in a small pit which is known as KV 54, some of the vessels were inscribed with the name of Tutankhamun, the pit also included some items of his funerary banquet. After Ayrton, Theodore Davies hired another assistant who discovered in 1908 a small tomb in which he discovered pieces of gold foil; one of which has a representation of Tutankhamun shooting arrows and another one inscribed with the name of Ay. As a result of this, Davies convinced himself that this tomb is the tomb of Tutankhamun

In 1912 he felt that the area had been exhausted and needing no more excavations, so he sent what he found to Mr. Winlock who was in charge of the Egyptian equipment in the Metropolitan museum of Arts in New York. Winlock was sure that there was a tomb which belonged to Tutankhamon in the Valley of the Kings, but he didn’t announce that and just communicated with Howard Carter till the discovery of the tomb.

Discovery Tutankhamun tomb

Lord Carnarvon was a rich man who came to Egypt in 1903, as he was advised by his doctors to spend the winter in a warm country perfectly suited to his delicate health. He developed an interest in Egyptology as a hobby. However, as he wasn’t an expert, he teamed up with Howard Carter in 1907, who needed a financier for his workHoward Carter came to Egypt in 1891 at the age of 18 and he was working as a draughtsman. He worked in Beni Hassan and Deir el Bersha. 
Then a year later in 1892 he moved to Tell el Amarna where he met Sir Flinders Petrie who gave him his first experience as an excavator. After that he went to El Deir el Bahari in 1893, where he was copying some scenes off the walls of Queen Hatshepsut's temple.  In 1900 he was appointed as inspector of the monuments of Upper Egypt. At this date he made his first important discovery when he was on his way home, the leg of his horse fell into a hole which turned out to be the entrance to an ancient burial, that is the tomb of Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre at Deir el Bahari.
Expecting a major find, he invited important dignitaries to the opening of the newly discovered tomb, but when he opened it he just found some vessels and the statue of king Mentuhotep II that is now displayed at the Egyptian Museum; this was a great disappointment to them. So he decided that in the future he should check his discovery first before inviting any VIPs.  In 1902 he joined Theodore Davis who was working in the Valley of the Kings. 
Then in 1904 he was transferred to Lower Egypt working at Saqqara but he had to resign as a problem happened between him and some French people which caused a diplomatic problem between the English and French people so Carter had to resign and went back to work in Upper Egypt in 1905 which was lucky for us because at that time he began the excavations to search for the tomb of King Tutankhamun.

 Howard Carter joined Lord Carnarvon in 1907 and they started digging in Draa Abu el-Naga, Deir El-Bahari and other sites but unfortunately they couldn’t find any trace of the tomb until they took the concession of digging in the Valley of the Kings in 1914. The work was interrupted because of the World War I and they didn’t make the major discovery until the winter of 1922 when Lord Carnarvon informed Carter of his desire to stop the excavation because he was fed up.  
Carter asked him to give him another chance because he was sure that there was an area in the valley at the foot of the tomb of Ramses VI where there were some stone huts, which were used by ancient tomb builders that has never been excavated. So Carnarvon agreed. Howard carter continued the excavations and by the 4th of November he had cleared several of those stone huts then they came upon a step in the bedrock. 
Discovery Tutankhamun tomb
This actually happened by chance as one of the boys who used to bring the drinking water (water boy) was digging a small hole in order to fix the container of the water, when he found the 1st step and informed Howard carter. Further digging revealed other steps until they were 16 in number. The workers of Carter worked all day clearing sand until at last they found a blocked and sealed doorway. Howard Carter then sent a telegram to Lord Carnarvon who was in England telling him that there is a wonderful discovery in the valley. 
Lord Carnarvon arrived in Egypt accompanied by his daughter on 23rd of November. On 26th November Howard Carter made a hole in the intact wall of the doorway that lead to the antechamber and held a candle with one hand and put it inside the hole in order to see what was inside but he couldn’t see anything because the hot air escaping from the tomb caused the candle to flicker but when his eyes got used to the dark he was very pleased of what he saw.
 Lord Carnarvon asked anxiously: “Can you see anything Carter?” so Carter replied: “Wonderful things!” The official opening of the antechamber and the annexe was on 29th November 1922, but the official opening of the burial chamber was on 17th February 1923. It took him about 10 months to completely clear the tomb.

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