Howard Carter had worked in Egypt for 31 years before he found King Tut’s tomb. Carter had begun his career in Egypt at age 17, using his artistic talents to copy wall scenes and inscriptions. Only eight years later in 1899, Carter was appointed the Inspector-General of Monuments in Upper Egypt.
In 1905, Carter resigned from this job and in 1907 he went to work for Lord Carnarvon. After several relatively successful seasons working together, World War I brought a near halt to their work in Egypt. Yet, by the fall of 1917, Carter and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, began excavating intensely in the Valley of the Kings.
By November 1, 1922, Carter began his final season working in the Valley of the Kings by having his workers expose the workmen’s huts at the base of the tomb of Rameses VI. After exposing and documenting the huts, Carter and his workmen began to excavate the ground beneath them. By the fourth day of work, they had found something – a step that had been cut into the rock. It was the stairway to the tomb of Tutankhamen.
If there was anything left inside, it would be a discovery of a lifetime for Carter. If the tomb was relatively intact, it would be something the world had never seen. The plastered door was photographed and the seals documented. Then the door came down, revealing the Antechamber. The wall opposite the entrance wall was piled nearly to the ceiling with boxes, chairs, couches, and much more – most of them gold.
On the right w
On the right wall stood two life-size statues of the king, facing each other as if to protect the sealed entrance that was between them. This sealed door also showed signs of being broken into and resealed, but this time the robbers had entered in the bottom middle of the door.
Before the entrance between the two statues in the Antechamber could be opened, the items in the Antechamber needed to be removed or risk damage to them from flying debris, dust, and movement. Documentation and preservation of each item was a monumental task. Carter realized that this project was larger than he could handle alone, thus he asked for, and received, help from a large number of specialists.
To begin the clearing process, each item was photographed twice, both with an assigned number and without. Then, a sketch and description of each item was made on correspondingly number record cards. Next, the item was noted on a ground plan of the tomb (only for the Antechamber). Carter and his team had to be extremely careful when attempting to remove any of the objects.
After the completion of the discovery, artifacts were in their thousands, many of which were golden and had inlays of precious stones. Scholars examined the objects, read the inscriptions, and tried to learn more about his life. The information that was taken seemed to focus more on the art, religion, and funerary beliefs than on the king’s reign.
The first question about the death of Tutankhamen that needs to be answered is that of the nature of his death. The two examinations of Tutankhamen’s mummy found evidence that may answer this question. The first examination, conducted in 1925 when the mummy was unwrapped, found a dark colored lesion on the left cheek. It is slightly depressed from the rest of the skin, and looks somewhat like a scab (Carter, 228). They also found that the king was between 18 and 19 years of age when he died.
His history is not completely