The Discovery of King Tut's Tomb

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• Ancient Egypt

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The treasures found in King Tut's Tomb are almost beyond imagining. They certainly were in 1922, when Howard Carter and others discovered the tomb. The last resting place of the "boy king" was unknown for more than 3,000 years.

Howard Carter and his crew were not the first to try to find the tomb of King Tutankahmen, but they were the first to succeed. They overcame several obstacles to do so.

First of all, the ground surrounding the tomb is a huge collection of sand and small rocks that heat to very, very hot temperatures in the summer sun. Thermometers have measured temperatures there as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Further, the Valley of the Kings, as it is called, has absolutely nothing growing in it and has no shelter from the enormously hot sun. Buried in this valley were a great many kings of ancient Egypt. Nearly all of their tombs were eventually discovered and plundered. But the tomb of King Tut, or Tutankhamen, continued to elude treasure-seekers.

Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, began looking for King Tut's tomb in 1914. His expedition was funded in part by Lord Carnarvon, a wealthy British man who wanted to see the famous tomb found. Seven long years passed, and Carter found nothing. It was in the fall of 1922, nearly eight years after he began and nearly the end of the time by which Lord Carnarvon said he would stop funding the expedition, that Carter and his men finally found what they were looking for.

They discovered a set of stairs that led to a sealed door. On the stone door was carved the name Tutankhamen.

Carter was so confident that he had found the tomb that he had invited Lord Carnarvon and his daughter to the dig site. They were thrilled when Carter showed them what has become the world's most famous treasure.

King Tut was embalmed in a coffin of pure gold, with one of the world's most famous images on top. The coffin was in the fourth chamber that had been hidden by a sealed door, and Carter's crew took months to break through it. Eventually, all of the treasures in King Tut's tomb would be removed. Many are in the hands of the Egyptian government. Many have been part of traveling exhibits that make their way to museums around the world. Many are in the hands of private collectors.

The story of King Tut is a fantastic one, and it began again in earnest on November 4, 1922, with Howard Carter's discovery.

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