Previous page  
List of subjects |  Sources |  Feedback 

Share |

Discover in a free
daily email today's famous
history and birthdays

Enjoy the Famous Daily

The tomb of Tutankhamen: 1922

Howard Carter, an English archaeologist, has been digging for some years in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. His concession has only a few weeks to run in 1922 when he discovers, on November 4, what seems to be a step hewn into the rock. Beyond it several others are uncovered, leading down to a barrier bearing the name Tutankhamen.

On November 6 a telegram from Carter reaches his patron, the earl of Carnarvon, in Britain. Carnarvon and his daughter set off immediately for Egypt. They land at Alexandria on November 20, and by November 23 they have sailed up the Nile to Luxor.

With Carnarvon beside him, on November 25, Carter removes the first stone from the tomb's wall. It reveals a corridor leading to a second door. When this is opened, on November 26, the two men are astonished to see a chaotic jumble of furniture, statues and objects, piled up as if in a cramped attic. And everywhere the glint of gold. But this is only the antechamber. The burial chamber itself is reached on 17 February 1923. It will take another five years to sort out the contents.

By then, only Carter is alive to savour the discovery to the full.

The legend of the curse of Tutankhamen, outraged at the violation of his tomb, derives from events of 1923. In March Lord Carnarvon is bitten by a mosquito in the Valley of the Kings. The bite turns infectious but is responding to treatment, in Cairo, when the unfortunate earl develops pneumonia. On April 5 he dies.

As if to help the legend along, it is discovered that on the very same day a dog in Lord Carnarvon's house in England has mysteriously died too.

Previous page