Eighty-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.