Howard Carter and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, spent a number of years and a lot of money searching for a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings that they weren’t sure still existed. On November 4, 1922, they found it. Carter had discovered not just an unknown ancient Egyptian tomb, but one that had lain nearly undisturbed for over 3,000 years. What lay within King Tut’s tomb astounded the world.
To take apart and examine the shrine, Carter had to first demolish the partition wall between the Antechamber and the Burial Chamber. Still, there was not much room between the three remaining walls and the shrine. As Carter and his team worked to disassemble the shrine they found that this was merely the outer shrine, with four shrines in total. Each section of the shrines weighed up to half a ton and in the small confines of the Burial Chamber, work was difficult and uncomfortable.
When the heavy lid was lifted, a gilded wooden coffin was revealed. The coffin was in a distinctly human shape and was 7 feet 4 inches in length. A year and a half later, they were ready to lift the lid of the coffin. Conservation work of other objects already removed from the tomb had taken precedence. Thus, the anticipation of what lay beneath was extreme.
The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in November 1922 created an obsession around the world. Daily updates of the find were demanded. Masses of mail and telegrams deluged Carter and his associates. Hundreds of tourists waited outside the tomb for a peek. Hundreds more people tried to use their influential friends and acquaintances to get a tour of the tomb, which caused a great hindrance to work in the tomb and endangered the artifacts. Ancient Egyptian style clothes quickly hit the markets and appeared in fashion magazines. Even architecture was affected when Egyptian designs were copied into modern buildings.
The mysteries of the young pharaoh’s tomb live on: As recently as March 2016, radar scans indicated that there may yet be hidden chambers not yet opened within King Tut’s tomb. Ironically, Tutankhamun, whose obscurity during his own time allowed his tomb to be forgotten, has now become one of the most well-known pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Having traveled around the world as part of an exhibit, King Tut’s body once again rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.