King Tutankhamun ascended the throne while still a child (around 1333 BCE). He also changed his name to Tutankhamun in order to direct attention to the restoration of the pantheon and the God Amun at his head. King Tut reigned for only about nine years. He ruled until his death at about age 18. He was not an important king, but well known because of the treasures of his tomb, which was found virtually intact.
In November 1922, an excavation by Howard Carter and funded by Lord Carnarvon, uncovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun. When they poked a hole through the debris they could see gold statues, strange replicas of animals, chariots and furniture. All were in the tomb to accompany him on his journey in to the afterlife.
The final breakthrough to the 3000 year old plus burial chamber was on the 17th Feb 1923 in front of invited guests. When Carter and Carnavon reached this chamber they were overwhelmed by the sight of so much gold. King Tut’s tomb had escaped grave robbers as others did not. His body was elaborately dressed for a long journey and perfumed with spices and surrounded with flowers, food and wine. Casts had been taken by goldsmiths, so they could model the coffin, and sculptors worked on images of the dead king. His body was wrapped in gold tissue and he wore gold collars. Over his head he wore a mask of red and white gold, and blue faience – tin glazed earthenware. Eventually all the treasures of King Tut’s tomb were moved to the Cairo Museum, only the mummy of the boy king remained in the tomb. It was closed to the public in 1991 because of deterioration.
The Curse of King Tutankhamun
A curse on whoever disturbed the tomb of King Tutankhamun!!! The newspapers of the day certainly had a field day:-
- Lord Carnarvon dead on the 23rd April 1933 from a high fever caused by a mosquito bite.
- Carnarvon’s dog supposedly howled and died at the same time his master had passed away and the lights of Cairo reportedly went out.
- Dead -Arthur Mace , an American archaeologist who had assisted in the opening of the tomb.
- Dead -George Jay Gould , who died within 24 hours of being taken to the tomb by Carter.
- Dead – Lady Carter from an insect bite in 1929.
- Closer to the tomb, another “casualty” was the pet canary of the tomb’s discoverer, Howard Carter. The bird was swallowed by a cobra on the day the tomb was opened. This was interpreted as retribution for violation of the tomb, particularly as a cobra was depicted on the brow of the pharaoh from where it would spit fire at the king’s enemies.
The deaths continued apparently for another 10 years with 20 other people involved in the opening of the tomb collapsing and dying from heart attacks or other illnesses, including madness.