Friday, July 16, 2010

King Tut’s Tomb

King Tut was well known for being only nine when he took the throne of Egypt and for his amazing tomb. What was so special about his tomb? The tomb was found by Howard Carter and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon in November, 1922. When they found it, it wasn’t like any other tomb; it had been undisturbed for 3,000 years.

King Tut’s tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb had survived flash floods and robberies throughout the centuries. No one knew where it might be. It seemed impossible to find it until an American business man named Theodore M. Davis brought some light to the situation. Mr. Davis found some items that led to the discovery of the tomb. The first item was a famous cache in which was a collection of royal funerary items “from Tell el Amarna that were brought to Thebes to escape destruction” says The objects were hidden in a safe tomb because of the clay sealing of the cache which was done by King Tut! Inside were many treasures. One treasure was King Tutankhamen’s furniture. There was also more evidence that led to the discovery of the tomb.

Another piece of evidence was found in 1907 inside a crater. It had seal impressions of Tutankhamen and embalming or mummifying materials like linen bags, broken pottery, and natron which basically a type of soda ash. Another clue was a faience cup with King Tut’s name inscribed on it. Next to the cup was another indication of King Tut’s tomb was a cluster of fragments of gold foil with Tutankhamen and Ankhesenamun inlaid upon it was found by Mr. Davis. Though he disregarded it but, Carter found it quite remarkable.
After studying it, Carter was certain that King Tut’s tomb was inside the Valley of the Kings. After that he went to his friend, Lord Carnarvon to fund his search. Carnarvon analyzed the clues and agreed to fund the search. They were able to dig in 1914 but had to stop digging because of the First World War.

After the war, they continued to dig. Though funds were running out for Carnarvon, Carter pleaded for one more season of digging and said that if he still didn’t find anything, he would pay for the dig. They agreed for one more season of digging. The project began by digging close to Ramesses VI’s tomb. While they were there, the workers were told to eliminate an Ancient workman’s hut. As the workers were doing what they were told, a step was found. Carter ordered the step to be clear of rubble and sand. At noon the next day, a entrance was found with a stamp on it. The stamp was a Necropolis seal which depicted the god, Anubis, standing above five conquered enemies.

Carter then hurriedly sent a telegram to Carnarvon saying “At last have made wonderful discovery in valley; a magnificent tomb with seals intact; re-covered same for your arrival; congratulations.” Carnarvon and his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, quickly made arrangements to go to Egypt and to arrive in Alexandria on November 23rd.

Once they arrived, they met Howard Carter and his assistant, A. R. Callender. The following day, Carter started to drill a hole in the door while Carnarvon, his daughter, and Callender were in the corner waiting anxiously. As the hole became larger, Carter could look through. Carter held a candle which lit up the room quite well. Carter was amazed of what he saw. Lord Carnarvon asked “Can you see anything?” and Carter replied “Yes, wonderful things.” They widened the hole so that you could barely squeeze your way through. Once they were inside, the air was warm. Carter held the candle higher and saw many amazing objects. They agreed that the next day they would explore further.

The next day, they came prepared with electronic lights. The tomb was finally excavated and was photographed. Carter later died in 1939. The tomb treasures are now in the Cairo Museum.

The Curse
A story says that Howard Carter was to come across a tablet. He asked Alan Gardiner to decipher it. After deciphering it, it said “Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the peace of the pharaoh.” Both thought this was nonsense but to not scare the workers, all mention of the tablet was wiped from the record. There are many other versions:
“They who enter this sacred tomb shall swift be visited by wings of death.”
“Let the hand raised against my form be withered! Let them be destroyed who attack my name, my foundation, my effigies, the images like unto me!”
“It is I who hinder the sand from choking the secret chamber. I am the protection for the deceased and I will kill all those who cross this threshold into the sacred precincts of the Royal King who lives forever.”
Why do people believe that the curse is true? Below are some facts that help support this:

• Of the 26 people present at the opening of the tomb, 6 had died.
• Of the 22 people present at the opening of the sarcophagus, 2 had died.
• Carter’s dog Susie starts howling then drops dead.
However, Carter died in 1939 at age 64, Harry Burton died in 1940 at age 60, and Sir Alan Gardiner died in 1963 at age 84. For me, I don’t believe that the curse is real. I think it is merely a coincidence. Why? Well I think that maybe there was disease because the tomb had not been opened for 3,000 years so the air must of been pretty bad. Plus with the mummy, I think that could give some people diseases. Scientists say that King Tut died from malaria or bone disease. So since the air had been trapped in there for 3,000 years, perhaps some of the diseases from the mummy were still lingering inside the tomb.


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