Tutankhamun’s Tomb

During the lectures on this week we learned about the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. I had previously known that basics behind the discovery of his tomb, but I was unaware of the specific details that led to it. I found it interesting to learn that because of George Herbert’s breathing difficulties, he traveled to Egypt during the winter. The practice of taking up archaeology because of boredom was not something that I ever thought of occurring.

After class I attempted to find the photographs of the discovery and recovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. I found the University of College London Archives website. When I searched for the photographs and the notebook I found this webpage: UCL Library Archives. The page that is linked, lists what this specific part of their collections includes. There are five boxes that are filled with papers of Douglas Frith Derry, that include files related to the Predynastic, Old Kingdom, Old Kingdom Giza, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, Derry’s “master notebook” and Tutankhamun. What I would do to be able to look through those documents! Unfortunately, there is restricted access for “private research only at the Archivist’s discretion.”

I found a few more websites that actually have the photographs available to for viewing, the first was at the British Museum. This site led me to The Griffith Institute. All of these photographs were taken by Harry Burton and they are a part of The Howard Carter Archives. My favorite photo so far from the collection is P0707. It is a close up of Tutankhamun’s head inside the sarcophagus. I wish I could have seen the Tutankhamnun exhibit when it was in Chicago! Right now it is in Seattle, Washington until January 6th if anyone is interested in seeing it.

If you are at all interested in seeing more photographs from Tutankhamn’s tomb you should check out The Griffith Institute link. There are hundreds of photographs of the chambers as they were found, photographs of individual artifacts and the surrounding region.



2 thoughts on “Tutankhamun’s Tomb

  1. I also found the lecture about King Tutankhamen’s tomb really interesting. One thing that is so fascinating is that King Tut’s tomb is an extremely huge piece of popular knowledge about ancient Egypt….but King Tutankhamen himself was a relatively small blip of Egypt’s history as a whole. We were talking in class about how famous the tomb was based on the level of preservation they found the tomb in, rather than his importance within the whole scheme of things. This sort of surprised me because I grew up watching numerous programs about King Tut’s burial, and documentaries where people tried to recreate his face based on x-rays of the body. It makes sense now that one of the only reasons he is so popular was because of the items found in his tomb.

    Another thing that was interesting about the lecture was how political the site became with the cultural protection laws. I think that having the laws in place is extremely important for Egyptians, and it is fortunate that most of the artifacts from King Tutankhamen’s tomb remained within Egypt’s control. Thanks for all the links to the pictures, I enjoyed looking through them. It’s remarkable that the tomb was found in the condition that it was, despite all of the tomb robbings and whatnot. I think that this is one of the most important events that sparked the modern interest in ancient Egypt, and even though King Tutankhamen was not as important to ancient history, he is certainly making his mark today.

  2. I also really appreciated being able to see photos of King Tutankhamen’s tomb. I think it would be exciting to discover something that came down to us exactly as the Ancient Egyptians left it. Even an insignificant pharaoh causes all this excitement because of the pristine state of his tomb. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I think it has the same ring to it as the exciting discovery of the remains of the Roman city Pompeii. It was a city full of living, breathing people until it was obliterated in the middle of an otherwise ordinary day by volcanic ash.

    Even though Pompeii wasn’t home to a pharaoh or emperor, it was an area undisturbed by later peoples like a time capsule from a moment in the past. The ash preserved the city’s remains and casts could be taken to see the people that were there when catastrophe struck.

    Although I imagine that seeing a perfectly preserved tomb of a richer and more powerful pharaoh would be awe-inspiring, it only makes sense that looters targeted these tombs first. Areas without “treasure” on this magnitude like King Tutankhamen’s tomb and the city of Pompeii survive to tell their stories because they weren’t at the top of thieves’ hit lists.

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