On 4 November 1922,
the tomb of Egypt's boy-king
Tutankhamun was discovered by the English archaeologist, Howard Carter.
"King Tut" as he is affectionately known, became pharaoh of Egypt
at the tender age of nine and died in 1324 BC, when he was just
nineteen years old.
Until recently, he was usually thought to be the
son-in-law of Sakere, his predecessor, but there is a possibility that the
mysterious Sakere may in fact have been Queen Nefertiti. She may have been
using a different name
to avoid the persecution visited upon her late husband, so
Tutankhamun would have been the son of Nefertiti and Akhenaton.
The last male
pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty,
he is now regarded as one of the most famous rulers of Egypt. Oddly, the
reason is more for the fact that he died and was buried rather than anything
he may have done when he was alive. The discovery of his remarkable tomb is
one of the great archaeological events of the twentieth century.
The find of the century
In 1917, Howard Carter was a monuments inspector and also supervised excavations begun
by Theodore Davies. Theodore Davies was a rich American patron of archaeology and it was
he who held the concession to excavate in the Valley of the Kings where Tutankhamun's tomb
was eventually found.
The tomb of Tutankhamun had managed to stay hidden for 3,300 years. Theodore Davies
relinquished the concession to excavate in the Valley of the Kings in 1914.
Lord Carnarvon, who was already working with Carter took it over and immediately sponsored an
expedition for him to find the tomb of the boy pharaoh.
Tutankhamun's tomb had not been finished, so his chief advisor and
former regent, Ai had his own tomb hastily prepared with paintings and a
sarcophagus fit for a royal burial.