Tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut)

Tut Chalice Lamp 
It is not the grandest tomb in Egypt, and was certainly not occupied by one of Egypt's most powerful rulers. But in general, the population of the world know the tomb of Tutankhamen (KV 62) better than any other, because of all the royal tombs, it was found mostly intact. What was found in this tomb surely gives us pause to understand the motive behind ancient tomb robberies. If such a vast fortune in treasure (in all, some 3,500 items were recovered) was found in this tiny tomb owned by a relatively minor king, what must have dazzled the eyes of the thieves who first entered the huge tomb of Ramesses II, or one of Egypt's other grand kings? Of course, the list of funerary equipment was very useful to Egyptologists, giving them an idea of what had been removed from other royal tombs.

Wonderful Artwork found in the Tutankhamun Tomb
A top from one of the Canopic Jar
The tomb, which lies in an area that was not normally used for royal burials in the Valley center, was apparently quickly buried deep below the surface of the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). It was forgotten about until Howard Carter discovered it on November 4th, 1922. Part of Howard Carter's luck was that it was not discovered earlier when, his predecessor in the Valley, Theodore Davis who was American, came within little more than a meter of finding it himself.
It is a little known fact that Howard Carter did not excavate every part of the Kings Valley, down to bedrock in his search for Tutankhamun. Having identified the area, in the centre of the Valley, most likely to produce the sort of find his patron desired; & which would indeed do so, many years before he seems to have expended much of his efforts in the search for answers to much more academic questions; such as the hunt for foundation deposits in order to clarify which king was actually responsible for the construction of which tomb, & only went flat out in his search for Tutankhamuns tomb, when it became apparent that his source of funds might be about to dry up.

From "Recent Excavations in the Valley of the Kings by the Amarna Royal Tombs Project" by Glen
Howard Carter was told, prior to finding the tomb, that Lord Carnarvon was withdrawing from the project, but after pleading his case, was given one more season of excavation in order to find it.

Actually, we are told that after having initially discovered the steps of the tomb on November 4th, Carter initially telegraphedLord Carnarvon, who was still in England at his Hampshire estate, after which Carter refilled the stairway to await his benefactor's arrival. Upon Lord Carnarvon's arrival on November 24th, work was resumed and by November 26th, the interior was observed for the first time since antiquity.
After its discovery, the worldwide media spectacle the discovery created along with movies about the curse of the mummies which are still produced every so often, is probably as interesting as the actual tomb itself. What many people do not realize is that it took Carter, with his attention to details, another ten years to fully explore, excavate and clear the tomb. Legend has it that Carter posted the first notice of discovery of the tomb on the bulletin board at the Old Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor.
Tutankhamen was certainly not one of the greatest of Egyptian pharaohs. In fact, prior to the discovery of his tomb in 1922, little of his life was known. Today, we know much more about this king, but surprisingly little of that knowledge comes from the treasures of his tomb. Tutankhamen died about 1325 BC, after only nine years of rule. Apparently he died fairly suddenly, because a proper royal tomb, to our knowledge, was never prepared for this pharaoh. Instead, the tomb of Tutankhamen is relatively small and follows a design more often found in non-royal tombs. Some scholars believe that the tomb that King Ay was eventually interred in was actually begun for Tutankhamen.
Actually, Tutankhamen's tomb is not nearly as interesting as other tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It consists of an entrance leading to a single corridor, followed by several annexes for funerary equipment. At a 90 degree right angle is the small burial chamber, with another annex attached leading back in the direction of the entrance. This is not much of a tomb compared to other royal tombs, and most all of thefunerary equipment will not be found here, but rather in theEgyptian Antiquities Museum inCairo, if it is not elsewhere on exhibit.

Only the burial chamber received decorations. Here, all of the walls have the same golden background. On the west wall we find scenes depicting the apes of the first hour of theAmduat. On the south wall the king is followed by Anubis as he appears beforeHathor. Here, there is also a scene of the King being welcomed into the underworld by Hathor,Anubis andIsis. The north wall depicts the King beforeNut with the royalka embracingOsiris. On the same wall, we also find the scene of Ay performing the opening of theMouth ritual before the mummy of Tutankhamun. Finally, on the east wall, Tutankhamun's mummy is depicted being pulled on a sledge during the funeral procession. Within the procession are twoviziers to the king, and a third person who might beHoremheb.
It should be noted that this tomb was not found completely intact. In fact, there had been at least two robberies of the tomb, perhaps soon after Tutankhamen's burial, probably by members of the tomb workers.

Thirty-four wooden statues were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, seven portraying the pharaoh and the other twenty-seven depicting various divinities from the Egyptian pantheon. The majority of the statues had been placed in the treasure chamber inside black wooden cabinets mounted on sleds and set along the south wall. Two of these pieces, placed together in the same cabinet, are identical and depict the pharaoh stepping on the back of a panther.

The image of the sovereign is sculpted with great realism in a very hard wood, stuccoed and covered with a thin layer of gold leaf. Tutankhamun is gripping a long staff in one hand and the flail symbolizing his power in the other. He is wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, adorned with the royal asp on the forehead. The body of the snake is painted black.

The modeling of the head and body reflects the influence of Amarna-era art in the emphasis and exaggeration of certain physical details such as the long, forward-tilted neck, the protruding breasts, the swollen belly, and the low waist. It is therefore legitimate to suggest that the statue may have been made for Akhenaten, a hypothesis supported by the fact that when it was discovered it was wrapped in linen cloths that carried inscriptions datable to the third year of this pharaoh's reign.

With its serene, youthful expression, the face features eyes inlaid with obsidian, bronze, and glass. The sovereign is bare chested but is wearing a large collar that covers his breast and shoulders and terminates with a droplet motif. The pharaoh's clothing consists of a long, tightly-fitting loincloth, knotted at the front and lined with thin incisions imitating the folds in the cloth, and sandals on his feet.

The statue stands on a black-painted, rectangular pedestal fixed to the arching back of a panther, also black. The animal is portrayed with great realism, pacing slowly and furtively. Its body has a sinuous, elegant profile and the head, with gilded ears and muzzle, is slightly dipped. A second black-painted pedestal constitutes the base for the entire sculptural group.

The composition is not intended to evoke a hunting scene, since the sovereign is not bearing arms, but rather it has a symbolic value. The panther might constitute an allegorical image of the sky, which in the Predynastic era was depicted as a feline that swallowed the sun in the evening before regenerating it in rejuvenated form the following morning. With the extensive gilding of his body the sovereign could represent the sun god. According to another interpretation supported by a pictorial scene in the tomb of Sety I, the sovereign whose gilding identifies him as the sun god, is located in the under world. The panther is in fact painted black like all the inhabitants of the under world

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