Howard Carter: the discoverer of Tutankhamun's tomb

Howard Carter: the discoverer of Tutankhamun's tomb

Howard Carter is an important name for those who love Egyptian discoveries and mysteries. Without a doubt, his work was one of the most outstanding of the time, since he discovered the tomb of one of the most famous pharaohs today: Tutankhamun's tomb.

Howard Carter He was born on May 9, 1874 in Kensington, London. His father was Samuel Carter, a successful artist. He was a sickly child, with a delicate health, so he was sent to live with his aunts in Norfolk. There he received private classes at home and had an artistic education from an early age. When his father painted a portrait of a famous Egyptologist, Howard began to be interested for this area.

Britain had occupied Egypt in the late 19th century. During this period, European interest in the Egyptology and everything related to ancient Egypt. Until there were great scientists and archaeologists to carry out excavations at ancient sites.

Howard began his archaeological career when he found a job in the team of archaeologist P. Newberry, since he needed an artist to paint his discoveries. Howard came to Egypt in 1891He was 17 at the time.

There he was working on tombs of the Middle Kingdom in Beni Hassan. He also worked on the excavations made at El-Amarna, Deir el Babri, Thebes or Abu Simbel. There he learned innovative and modern methods to capture the reliefs and other findings.

Further, in 1899 he held the position of chief inspector of antiquities of Upper Egypt of the Egyptian Antiquities Services and also it would be of Lower Egypt soon after. He resigned from his positions in 1905.

In 1907 he was hired by a wealthy English aristocrat, Lord Carnarvon, who was fascinated by Egyptology. Thanks to your support and funding, Carter organized the excavation of the tombs of Egyptian nobles. In 1909 excavations began in a Theban necropolis. During the early years he discovered various royal tombs linked to pharaohs like Amenophis I, Tuthmosis IV or Queen Hatshepsut.

In the early 1920s he obtained permission to excavate in a place known as the Valley of the Kings. There he began digging in a restricted area in the hope of find the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen.

The clues and facts about the young pharaoh were very tenuous and they didn't really reveal anything illuminating. Furthermore, the Valley had been previously excavated and nothing related to it had been found, so the expectations of finding something there were not too many.

In 1922 there was only one site left to excavate, the ruins of some workers' houses who were in charge of building the royal tombs. A boy who worked as a water carrier started dig in the ground with a stick, as it happens found a rung. He then decided to inform Carter and his team of the discovery he had just made.

November 4, 1922, just a few meters from the grave of Ramses II, they found some stairs that went into the rock. As they finished descending the ladder they ran into a sealed door. This one had the seals broken by former looters, which disappointed them, thinking that the grave would be looted and there would be nothing of value left inside.

However, together with Lord Carnarvon, he decided to open the partition to see what was inside. Upon seeing the interior of the tomb, when asked what he saw, he replied: “I see wonders”.

Inside the tomb was an immense collection of treasures belonging to the pharaoh, belonging to the XVIII dynasty. The tomb was made up of multiple cameras. Inside was the young pharaoh's large trousseau, including carts, furniture and even solid gold jewelry, albeit messy.

This showed that looters had entered but they had to flee before I can do anything. Tutankhamun being a minor pharaoh, seeing these treasures gave one to think about what kind of content would the looted tombs of much more important pharaohs have as Ramses II or Seti I.

One of the first steps he took was to seal the grave in order to gather a great team of professionals to document and preserve everything found. After several weeks they entered it. The highlights and fascinating were the three sarcophagi in which the coffin was found that kept the mummy of the pharaoh.

Upon opening the latter they were able to observe the intact mummy covered by the mask of solid gold and colored stonesthat covered Pharaoh's face.

Such was the abundance of objects found inside the tomb that it took about ten years to catalog and document the pieces for later transfer to the Cairo Museum and their exhaustive registry. Thanks to this discovery it was possible clarify knowledge like the Egyptian funeral tradition, which kept so many mysteries.

Shortly afterwards he returned to London and worked as collector for various museums. He also traveled to the United States to give lectures on Egypt and what was found there, increasing the interest on Ancient Egypt.

He died on March 2, 1939 in London. According to the gossip of the people of the time, he died from pharaoh's curse for having desecrated his grave. He was buried in London's Putney Vale Cemetery..

Images: Public Domain

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


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