THE DISCOVERY OF TUTANKHAMEN’S TOMB
O n February 16, 1923, the British archaeologist Howard Carter opened the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The burial chamber had been found in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes in 1922, after 16 years of searching. Lord Carnarvon, who paid Howard Carter to find the tomb, died a few months after the tomb was discovered. Because he died after the tomb was opened, people said there was a curse.
King Tutankhamen was 9 years old when he became Pharaoh and he died 9 years later. In his life he was not so popular. But when Howard Carter discovered his tomb, it was one of the best preserved with gold and many valuable items. After the tomb was discovered, the items that they found were shown in museums all around the world. That made Tutankhamen famous and people called him “King Tut” and “the Boy King”.
HOW HE DIED
N o one knows how King Tut died for sure. He was buried in a tomb that was very small for a Pharaoh. Because it was so small, people think that the Egyptians did not have time to make his tomb because Tut may have died unexpectedly. Some people even believe King Tut was buried in a tomb meant for someone else.
Scientists think Tutankhamen may have died of malaria. We know King Tut had malaria because in 2005 scientists took CT scans and found the DNA of malaria parasites in his mummy. Malaria comes from mosquito bites and causes very high fevers.
King Tut also had a broken leg and was born with a club foot so he could not walk well. In his tomb, Howard Carter found 130 walking canes.
When the Egyptians buried King Tut, they put the walking canes in the tomb for use in his afterlife. The Egyptians believed that when you die you have to go and put your heart on a scale. If it weighs more than a feather the god of the underworld, Amit, will eat your heart and you won’t continue in the afterlife. If your heart weighs less than a feather, Amit won’t eat your heart and you will continue in the afterlife. The Egyptians must have thought King Tut would continue in the afterlife and would need his walking canes.
Other people believed King Tut died in a chariot accident because he had a broken knee and other bones. But in 2014 scientists proved that it was impossible for King Tut to ride a chariot because of his club foot.
Scientists now think he died of malaria and a combination of infections.
WHAT WAS FOUND IN THE TOMB
B esides the 130 walking canes, 5,268 items were found in the tomb, including a solid gold coffin, face mask, thrones, arrows, bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, food, wine, sandals, and even fresh linen underwear. Howard Carter took 10 years to study these items. Scientists believe one of the daggers found in the tomb has an iron blade made from a meteorite.
The discovery of the tomb is incredible because it shows us how ancient Egyptians lived, made tools, clothing, weapons and what they ate.
Below are some of the treasures found in the burial chamber.