I see wonderful things! The discovery of Tutankhamun Treasure 26th November 1922

  When I was a little girl I wanted to dig up mummies in Egypt and the men in this post were part responsible for this wish. And no I am not old enough to have been alive in 1922 you cheeky lot!

Today in 1922, the tomb of child pharaoh, Tutankhamun situated near Luxor, Egypt was opened by English archeologist Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon who helped finance Carters excavations in Egypt.

It is thought that the tomb is a rare discovery as it had not been found and robbed by tomb raiders over the 3000 years since the boy kings mysterious and sudden death.

George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, who’s family estate is Highclear, the stately home used as the back drop to the ITV Series Downton Abbey, still houses some the artefacts from the tomb. Something that Julian Fellowes, the writer of Downton nodded towards as he named the Lord of Grantham’s dogs after Egyptian goddesses.

The tomb had been discovered on the 4th November 1922. After double checking that his discovery was the real thing, Carter, sent Carnarvon a telegrame on the 6th November saying:

“At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley; a magnificent tomb with seals intact; re-covered same for your arrival; congratulations”

On November 23rd, Lord Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn with Carter, helped by the workmen to unveiled the tomb to the Lord and his daughter.

Finally on 26th November the last door at the end of a passage had a hole made in it so Carter could put a candle in to illuminate the chamber in order to see what may lie behind the door. Here is what he says in his own words:

‘At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, “Can you see anything?” it was all I could do to get out the words, “Yes, wonderful things.” 

It took Carter and the group of archaeologists 10 years to empty and document all the items that were buried with the King. Sadly his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon would not live to see all these riches.

Lord Carnarvon became suddenly ill from an infected mosquito bite on his cheek that he aggravated by shaving.  On April 5, 1923, Lord Carnarvon died. The popular press of the time claimed that Carnarvon had fallen foul of king Tuts curse for entering his tomb.

The treasures of Tutankhamun have been iconic and represent for many of us Egyptology. As much of the Middle East’s historic treasures and heritage is being destroyed, I for one am glad that brave men like Carter and his sponsor Lord Carnarvon, looked for this lost history so that the world can see it and learn from it. One day I hope to go to Cairo to see it for myself.

Please note the Images used are NOT mine

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Art, culture, History, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I see wonderful things! The discovery of Tutankhamun Treasure 26th November 1922

  1. Arkenaten says:

    Excellent post.
    If blokes like carter has not discovered my dad’s tomb other would have And very likely desecrated it.

  2. I saw the Tutankhamum exhibit when it came to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC in 1976. My then-boyfriend worked for a major corporation in NYC whose owner was a big donor to the Met and so we were able to see it during a “private viewing” evening. I still remember how amazing it was, and how wonderful to be able to see everything in peace and quiet without any jostling crowds etc.

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