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The Ancient Egyptians Essay

2132 words - 9 pages

The Ancient Egyptians

Ancient Egyptian civilization has always had an aura of mystery. What
we do know about the ancient Egyptians is derived primarily from tombs
and artifacts discovered thousands of years after their initial
burial. One such tomb is that of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamen of the 18th
dynasty in New Kingdom Egypt whose tomb contained a wide range of
items preserved due to the arid conditions of the Egyptian nation. The
treasures in the tomb present a snapshot of ancient Egyptian life
revealing domestic life, craftsmanship, mummification processes and
spiritual beliefs. The tomb of Tutankhamen, believed non-existent was
found by two British archaeologists, Howard Carter and Lord Canarvon,
on November 4th, 1922.

Lord Canarvon, born on June 26th, 1866, became fascinated by the ruins
of temples and tombs whilst recovering in an Egyptian hospital in 1903
after a car accident in Germany. As he was exceedingly wealthy, he
financed Howard Carter's quest for the lost tomb of Tutankhamen. Apart
from his and his daughter's presence at the tomb opening, Lord
Canarvon had little to do with actual excavations of the boy pharaoh's
tomb. These duties were conducted by British archaeologist Howard
Carter.

Carter was born in the Norfolk village of Swaffham in 1873. His father
was a poor draughtsman who taught his son to draw at home. Howard
showed promise at copying detailed work and at 17, under the
recommendation of Lady Amherst, was tracing inscriptions in ancient
Egyptian tombs along side Professor P.E Newberry at Beni Hasan. The
following year (1892), Carter had his first experience of excavation
when he accompanied Sir Flinders Petrie to El-Amarna. It was with the
meticulous Petrie, Carter learned the principles and methods of
archaeology that were to stand him in good stead in the future.

In 1900, Carter was appointed Chief Inspector of Monuments of Upper
Egypt with the Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen's final resting place,
under his jurisdiction. In 1904 he was transferred to Chief Inspector
of Lower Egypt though resigned shortly afterwards due to differences
with colleagues. Carter spent the next three years as a tourist guide
occasionally working on excavations. On one such excavation with
American Theodore Davis, the pair discovered Queen Hatshpsut's temple
at Deir el-Bahri, Luxor. It is thought this discovery gave Carter the
thought Tutankhamen's tomb was buried in the same valley contraire to
Davis' belief who in 1914 proclaimed "I fear the Valley of the Kings
is now exhausted."

One of Davis' discoveries in 1907, a small underground chamber filled
with dried mud, an inscribed alabaster figure and a broken wooden box
embossed with Tutankhamen's name in gold leaf, suggested to Carter the
boy king's tomb was close by in the Valley of the Kings.

Davis also...

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