Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tutankhamun....What really happened when they opened his tomb??????

On November 26, 1922 Howard Carter opened a small hole in the doorway of Tut's tomb....As everyone waited to hear what he saw. Lord Carnarvon and his daughter were waiting behind him and asked...."Do you see anything?" "Yes wonderful things" replied Carter.....That is the story...That is all that is to have happened that day....

But there is much more.....Now for a little more of the real story.

There was a quest to find the tomb of the lost pharaoh Tutankhamun, Howard Carter believed that the tomb did exist. His patron and benefactor Lord Carnarvon was getting tired of the search which Carter had been doing since the beginnings of the great war. It was decided that 1922 would be the last year of support. Carnarvon was of the opinion that the tomb just did not exist.

Theodore Davis had worked the area before that time and announced that the Valley of the Kings was exhausted...Carter was not of that opinion.

Howard Carter was the last of the great Egyptian adventurers..He was like Giovanni Belzoni who was first a circus strong man before becoming an Egyptian explorer...Carter was quite a few steps above Belzoni but was still not trained . Scholarship was not his Forte, and he was more interested in the digging the search, the hunt as it was. Today it is a very different world. But in 1922 it was still somewhat like that......But he was indeed quite professional

Now Carter was convinced that Theodore Davis had missed the tomb...Although Davis had found a pit with some artifacts from the funeral of Tut, he felt that the tomb had been plundered in antiquity....

Now knowing that this would be his last year being funded by Carnarvon he was trying harder to find the tomb and looked in a few areas that he had looked earlier ...He found in his maps a few areas and then he had his men start their digging...

It was in the area of the builders huts to the tomb of Ramesses VI

It seemed they had just started in this new area and suddenly the workers were all excited . They had found a cut step in the sand! Digging further they found more steps...It was time for Carter to contact Carnarvon....

Nov. 6, 1922

At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley; a magnificent tomb with seals intact; recovered same for your arrival. Congratulations.

On November 23, 1922 Lord Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert arrived in Luxor on the train with Howard Carter. They made the journey from there to the Valley of the Kings..It took quite a while. It was not till the 24th that they were ready to open the door to the tomb. As they prepared there was more junk taken out of the pathway and for the first time could be see the seals of Tutankhamun.

They were astounded. The impossible had happened! At least they thought it had. But Carter had his doubts. He felt that it might just be cache filled with god knows what that was left after the tomb was robbed. There were pieces of pottery all over in the pathway to the door with cartouches of Tutankhamun, Thutmose III, and Amenhotep III.

Both of those Kings ruled before Tut. So Carter was worried that once again it would be a bust. His heart grew heavy over it all as it had happened many times before.

On the 25th They removed the door that was covered with all the seals in the presence of all. Carter carefully detailed all the information. Also was very careful to point out that the door seemed to have been resealed 2 times. Behind the door they were surprised to find it completely filled with chopped flint. It seemed to go down in a slow angle and seemed to be about 20 feet long.

It took the entire day to remove all of the rubble. Also there was evidence of a previous break in. It was early in the afternoon when at 30 feet another door was found. Almost a replica of the

They all at this point were of the opinion that this was not a tomb but a deposit area. They were not at all happy about the situation. But finally the door was cleared and Carter took and iron bar and made a small hole in the upper left hand corner.

Carter wrote later in what must have been one of the greatest if not the greatest moment in Archaeological history.

"I inserted the candle and peered in, Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn, and Callender standing anxiously beside me to hear the verdict. 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 been 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." Then widening the hole a little further so that both could see, we inserted an electric torch."

That was Carter's account of that first moment on the 26th of November 1922.It was all a lie.

It is stated by Carter that all was resealed and refilled and left...But that is not true. Do to great research by Thomas Hoving much more information comes to our attention.

Carter referred to it as a sleepless night as they were all so excited by what they had saw...But in truth they took away much of the door and broke into the tomb themselves. They went through most of the tomb even into the burial chamber. They moved pots and flowers and garlands to cover their dirty work...It was at this time they probably pocketed a few items from the tomb.

It must have been amazing, being the first humans in such a place for 3 thousand years..It was their special night of memories and one they would not share with history directly...They must have spent hours of the night in there.

What they moved or what the robbers in antiquity moved will never be known. What is known is that they broke into sealed chambers and covered up their handiwork ...

One cannot blame them...If I was there I would have wanted to go in...Wouldn't you?

In fact I envy them, I would have loved to have seen such a scene which most probably will never be seen again..

To share the very air with the ancients of the past....One gets chills just thinking about it.

So the Party went on for hours as they dug around and moved everything and finally made their exit. I am happy that Lord Carnarvon did get to see the inside of the tomb for in a short while he would die. Not due to any curse but due to an infected insect bite.
As for the others they lived on for many years..Carter worked on the tomb for 10 years. He was the last of the great romantic adventurers in Egypt..After Carter it would be the acedemic crowd....

But the greatest moment ever had past...Today and perhaps for all human memory the names of Carter, Carnarvon and Tutankhamun forever will be linked...each gave the other their own place in history and saved Tut from the dusty pages of myth to our own time.

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