Howard Carter

The excavation of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922.

In 1539BC the way the pharaohs in Egypt were buried changed, the building of pyramids came to an end. This resulted in a new burial site for the pharaohs in what is now called the Valley of the Kings. This valley is overlooked by the highest peak in the area, Al Qurn, which has a natural pyramid shape to it. The numbering of the tombs was established in 1827 by John Gardiner Wilkinson; only 21 tombs were visible at this time. The excavation of KV62 (Kings Valley, tomb 62), more commonly known as the Tomb of Tutankhamun is probably one of the most famous excavations to date.   The tomb was found by Howard Carter in 1922. He was not the only archaeologist/antiquarian who excavated in the Valley of the Kings. As mentioned Theodore Davis was well versed in finding tombs in the Valley of the Kings. “Davis had prodigious good luck, between 1902 and 1914 uncovering no fewer than 30 tombs of varying significance” (Reeves 1997, 37). However, unlike Howard Carter, Davis was not one of the most meticulous of excavators. Suffice to say if it had been anyone else, excavating Tutankhamun’s tomb, we may not have as many of the artefacts, precise notes and drawings as we do today. Although there are many other beautifully preserved and painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamun’s is by far the most famous and lavish.

Tutankhamun came to power in 1333BC, after the death of his father the so called heretic king Akhenaten, and during a time of great turmoil in Egypt. The neglect and social instability that occurred in the reign of Akhenaten was wiped out with the erasure of Akhenaten from history. Not long after Tutankhamun became pharaoh, he moved the capital back to Thebes from his father’s seat at el-Amarna. He resurrected the old ways and brought the religion back to that of Amun, which had been banned as a heretic religion by Akhenaten. Although Egyptologists and...