PAST FORWARD Children

Awakening the Pharaoh

Replica of Tutankhamen’s tomb.   | Photo Credit: serts

In 1891, when British archaeologist Howard Carter arrived in Egypt, most of the ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings had been discovered. Yet, little was known about King Tutankhamen who died when he was 19 years old.

On the morning of November 4, 1922, Carter was working at the entrance to the tunnel leading to the tomb of Ramses VI when he noticed a large cellar. When he looked inside, he knew he had discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

On November 26, Carter and Lord Carnarvon — Carter’s financial backer and fellow archaeologist — entered the tomb. They were the first to enter the tomb in more than 3000 years! In the centre of the room was a wooden box with gold inlay. Below this were two more boxes, also inlaid with gold. Finally, he reached the stone sarcophagus, which was covered with another thick layer of stone carved in the form of a statue of Tutankhamen. Carter could not lift the golden shroud covering the mummy. In the end, he had to cut the shroud in half to get to the mummy. Carter discovered the mummy of Tutankhamen adorned with necklaces, rings, crowns and sticks — all made of pure gold. To remove these, the excavation team had to separate the skull and the main bones. After they had collected the jewellery, they reassembled the skeleton and placed it in a wooden coffin.

Over the years. Carter and his team explored the four-room tomb uncovering an incredible collection of objects. Most of these treasures are now housed in the Cairo Museum.

King Tut:

Tutankhamun, whose name means “the living image of Amun”, was the son of the powerful Akhenaten. Born in 1341 BCE, he was was in power from 1332 to 1323 BCE. There are many theories as to how he died. He was tall, but physically frail and had a crippling bone disease.

Curse of the Pharaohs:

According to legend, anyone who disturbed the tombs of the pharaohs would be cursed. As luck would have it, shortly after unearthing King Tut’s tomb, Lord Carnarvon was found dead due to blood poisoning. Carnarvon’s half-brother also died of blood poisoning. Sir Archibald Douglas-Reid, a radiologist who was invited to study the body, died of a mysterious illness. George Jay Gould, a visitor to the tomb, died from a fever. Objects from the tomb were gifted to Carter’s friend Sir Bruce Ingram, whose house burnt down not long after.


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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 1:27:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/awakening-the-pharaoh/article37278406.ece

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