ovember the 4th is closely approaching and this date will mark 100 years since the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb. This is considered one of the most important historical discoveries, at least within the ancient Egyptian department. A crew led by British Egyptologist Howard Carter started digging up Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings on November 4, 1922. Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, often known as King Tut, ruled from 1333 BCE, when he was just nine years old, to his death in 1323 BCE.
Tutankhamun was mummified after his death and interred in a tomb adorned with artwork, jewelry, and other valuables, as per tradition. The tomb was swiftly covered by shifting desert sands, and it remained mostly undiscovered for more than 3,000 years.
On November 4, Carter’s group discovered the first stairway step. By the end of November, an antechamber, a treasury, and the tomb’s actual door had been discovered. The following day, his team had completely exposed the stairs. On November 26, Carter saw a chamber full of gold treasures after poking a little hole in the door. The sarcophagus housing Tutankhamun’s mummy wasn’t made public until much later.
Although the discovery took place 100 years ago, there are still many artifacts of Tut’s that have not yet been made public, some of which will be presented in this article for the first time and many others that will be presented in National Geographic’s November NGM issue entitled “Tut’s Treasures“.
What is more important is that all of these new and never seen artifacts will be showcased in the Grand Egyptian Museum which will host the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including 5,000 treasures from King Tut’s tomb. The Museum will also open at the beginning of November, celebrating King Tut’s discovery.
Some of the Rare and yet Unseen Artifacts
Working with National Geographic we have received some early access to the artifacts which will be showcased at the Grand Egyptian Museum and we will present some of them in this article with the history behind them.
Tut was the last heir of a powerful family that had ruled Egypt for centuries and built a far-reaching empire. His burial goods included chariots, bows, arrows, shields, and other weaponry, clues that he had learned to hunt and fight like other pharaohs. His mummy wore two daggers, one made of iron possibly sourced from a meteorite, and another of gold and foreign design (above) that may have been a gift from a distant ruler.
King Tutankhamun lived in great luxury and died unexpectedly in his late teens. Among more than 200 pieces of jewelry found in his tomb, an exquisite falcon-shaped pendant bears signs that it was worn by the king.
A guide to the great beyond, three scenes on the north wall of Tut’s burial chamber map out his journey to the next world. From right to left, scene one depicts the”opening of the mouth” ritual in which Tut’s successor, Ay—wearing a leopard skin and holding a tool called an adze—symbolically revives the mummified pharaoh, here depicted as Osiris.
In the middle scene, Tut, now dressed as a living king, is welcomed to the realm of the gods by the sky goddess Nut. The final scene shows Tut (in a striped headdress) and his ka embracing Osiris, with whom he then becomes one.
One of the more interesting finds is the search towards understanding and most importantly identifying King Tut’s heritage.
A team of geneticists led by Yehia Gad (second from left) examines the mummy of an unidentified boy in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep II. A pioneer in the DNAanalysisof ancient mummies, Gad is studying samples from King Tutankhamun and his extended family, looking for clues to their ancestral ties and genetic maladies.
Going back 3000 years through the use of DNA to understand how big Tut’s family was is no easy task, but more information is provided in National Geographic magazine. If you are interested in seeing more artifacts such as the ones presented above then I encourage you to pick up National Geographic’s November NGM issue entitled “Tut’s Treasures“, which is coming out this November. For more information on this story, visit natgeo.com.