Carter, Carnarvon, and King Tut

King Tut's TombEighty-six years ago tomorrow — well, techinically today on Cairo time, where it’s already 26 November — Howard Carter struck a candle through a tiny hole in an ancient wall and stared by its flickering light at perhaps the greatest buried treasure discovered in modern history. Lord Carnarvon, who’d financed his dig in the Valley of the Kings, grew anxious at Carter’s stunned silence and asked him if he could see anything. “Yes,” Carter replied. “Wonderful things.”

Carter and Carnarvon thus became the first people in some three millennia to enter King Tut’s tomb — site KV62 for those desiring technical details of the excavation — and they thus hurtled archaeology into new understandings of our distant past.

Makes a fellow feel rather unaccomplished, I must say.


  1. Do you watch the Egypt shows on the NatGeo channel, Mike? I recently watched a very cool one about a French architect (whose name I’ve forgotten), who has devoted his life to figuring out how the Great Pyramid was constructed.

    A French high-tech firm that does sophisticated 3-D modeling adopted this guy as their cause and taught him how to use their software, which allowed him to build astonishing 3-D images of the outside AND inside of the pyramid.

    One of his key theories involves the presence of an internal ramp. Other French scientists, who did sophisticated remote-sensing analysis of the pyramid, generated data that very much supports the existence of this internal ramp.

    Then there was another special on what they call the Dynasty 0 kings. Mounting archaeological evidence suggests that the region possessed the building blocks of Egyptian dynasties well in advance of their birth, including evidence of hieroglyphic writing during the reign of the Scorpion King.

    Infinite imagination grist, eh?

  2. That French architect fellow is named Houdin. Really interesting theory, though it’s been slow to gain ground.

    They have great stuff on NatGeo (and History and Discovery and …). I just can’t get enough of those kinds of programs.

    Alas, we made the decision when we moved to Charleston to forego cable/satellite television, confining ourselves to what we can get over the air. So I miss out on a lot of those terrific shows (in addition to ESPN!).

    On the plus side, we have quite a chunk of extra change every month that other folks don’t have (especially since we don’t have cellphones, either). And we get three PBS channels over-the-air, including the extraordinary PBS-HD, with Nature and Nova (and Word World and Sesame Street) in beautiful high-definition.

  3. my school is doing a whole term about egypt and king tut came up so i thought id tell every by the way i’m from australia

  4. Good luck with the study, Sharnie!

Comments are closed