Ninety years ago on November 22 the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun was discovered in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor in Egypt.
After years of finding smaller archaeological hauls in the area Egyptologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, opened the tomb and discovered an abundance of gold and fineries left with the king after his death and mummification.
On Thursday the great-grandson of the 5th Earl, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Carnarvon attended an event to celebrate this anniversary at Howard Carter’s house which is now a museum a few miles from the Valley of the Kings.
Egypt's ministers of tourism and antiquities were present as were ambassadors to Egypt from the United States and Singapore amongst others.
The current Lord Carnarvon, George, explained the importance of the celebration.
“Well I’m here today in Luxor, indeed in Howard Carter’s house, Castle Carter as it’s known, because it's the 90th year following the first discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. When my great-grandfather and Howard Carter actually broke through the outer sealed door with Tutankhamun’s cartouche and crest on it and when they first saw into the ante-chamber of the tomb. This amazing archaeological discovery that has never been surpassed,” he said.
Carnarvon is a big fan of his great-grandfather but readily admits his wife Fiona is more of an expert on Egyptology than he is, even translating a certain amount of hieroglyphics. He says opening the tomb was a very dramatic moment.
“My great-grandfather says to Howard Carter ‘What do you see?’ and Carter famously replies ‘Just wonderful things.’ And he's looking back at this, in a way perhaps, theatre set of ancient civilization 3,100 years ago, everywhere the glint of gold off those beautiful wooden objects and that's just the start,” said Carnarvon.
The 8th Earl funded Carter's excavation work in the Valley of the Kings for several years. The pair were in their last year of working together when they made by far their greatest discovery: the tomb of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922. It is still the best preserved of the pharaonic tombs in the area.
Friday, 23 November 2012