On Feb. 16, 1923, archaeologists opened the Tomb of King Tutankhamen, which had been sealed since about 1400 B.C.E..
In the early 1900s, many archaeologists flocked to Egypt in search of ancient tombs which had not already been pillaged by tomb raiders. Finally, in Thebes, their years of searching payed off when British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the undisturbed tomb of King Tut.
Eyewitness to History describes the tomb as a time capsule from ancient Egypt. King Tut had been laid to rest with all the trappings of life as a Pharaoh, including golden chariots, statues of gold and ebony, a fleet of miniature ships, his golden throne, childhood toys, bottles of perfume, extravagant jewelry and more.
Eyewitness to History also included a passage from Carter’s journal he kept of his experience in Egypt.
In the passage, Carter described the first moment the tomb was cracked open.
As the crew peered into the darkness, the warm air pouring out of the breech in the chamber wall, they were slowly able to see what untouched treasures they would soon reach. Carter, continuing to describe the experience, said, “As my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.’”
The chamber Carter and his team were peering into was filled with what Eyewitness to History described as “the greatest collection of Egyptian antiquities ever discovered.”
Beyond that room was more rooms. The archaeologists discovered several more rooms also filled with Egyptian treasures before they eventually reached King Tut’s actual burial chamber.
When archaeologists cataloged their findings from the chambers, many of the artifacts were given to museums.
After some cultural unrest, the Metropolitan Museum of Art volunteered to give 19 artifacts from King Tut’s tomb back to Egypt, according to a 2010 article from the Telegraph.
The items were set to be returned to Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass. Hawass, quoted in the article, said, “Thanks to the generosity and ethical behaviour of the Met, these 19 objects from the tomb of Tutankhamen can now be reunited with the other treasures of the boy king.”
Abbygail Vasas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org