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Carrying on the work of Howard Carter

Friday, June 19, 2009

British archeologist Howard Carter entered the tomb of Tutankhamun nearly 90 years ago. Since that time legends of a deadly curse and speculation that the Boy King was murdered have flourished.

Today, assisted by modern science and technology, Dr. Zahi Hawass and his team are discovering the truth.

>> BACK TO TUTANKHAMUN HOME

Hawass: "You know I will tell you, if you look at the size of this tomb you will find that's very small, and this is why I really believe that King Tut died suddenly and they have to make this tomb quickly for him. More about the magic of King Tut, you know I entered in this room -- this is the famous treasure room that Howard Carter found in it the Anubis shrine. Look what he left. He left this part of stones that has the name as the seal of King Tut. It says Tut Ankh Atun and Tut Ankh Amun and the seal of the cemetery that Howard Carter found outside that represented the nine bows which are the nine enemies of Egypt, and Anubis. Then it was amazing to see that still there is objects left here by Howard Carter inside the tomb. But, you know, the mummy was here all the time and they studied three times, and the fourth time is the first time with the CAT scan machine when I came here three years ago to reveal the mystery of this mummy. But the tomb: look, it has beautiful scenes like the first one at the beginning when you entered the tomb you will see they bringing the mummy of King Tut to the cemetery. And after that, actually, the high Priest Ay, who became the king after King Tut and he married his wife, is doing the opening of the mouth to King Tut saying that he should open his mouth to eat and eye to see and uh, his ear to hear, and also in front of other goddesses. And you see the goddess Hathur was, between, King Tut between her and Osiris and the other part of the Imiduat, one hour, and you have Anubis touching King Tut. All these things can show you how he died they brought him to the cemetery, the opening of the mouth, and the gods of Egypt and the goddesses are blessing him. And accepting him here to be a god like them."

Spencer Christian: "Like them. But isn't it remarkable that so much of this story was told with such incredible detail in such a short period of time because, as you pointed out, they had to hurry to do this because he died so suddenly."

Hawass: "But the most important thing that you have to know, when the king take the throne, and King Tut came the throne in the age of nine, and he died, he ruled for 10 years, and during this 10 years they made all this beautiful artifacts. Some of them were made at Amarna, because you can still see in many of the artifacts the name Tut Ankh Atun, and some of them were made in Phoebus, but the idea when you look at how Howard Carter excavated this tomb you know I did write a book, and that book is really I did excavate the tomb like Howard Carter: A piece by a piece. And I tried to show, what he did and I have to tell you after all these years, 86 years now, Howard Carter did a great job. He was a good archaeologist. And I really believe that in, after 86 years in November, this coming November I think it would be 86, we have to make a big celebration. And we have to acknowledge the quality of this man, Howard Carter. He was a great man in my opinion."

Spencer Christian: "That's, wonderful that you acknowledge the quality of his work, especially give what he, the tools he had to work with at that time. How much better would the work have been today with today's technology?"

Hawass: "I would not do better than him. Today we can do more things in the excavation that never happened in 1922. He did not excavate scientifically in 1922, but he excavated the tomb, carefully, scientifically, and he had good people around him; some to study the hieroglyphic, some to do conservation, some to do illustration, he had a great team. For 10 years they took all this 5,398 artifacts out of the tomb."

Spencer Christian: "I wonder what his sense of wonder and amazement must have been."

Hawass: "That was his soul. I mean, you know, gold. Gold is amazing. What made King Tut famous? Young boy and the gold that found in the tomb. Made everyone to be excited. Children the age of nine talk about this golden boy because of the discovery and the excavation and the curse, and all these type of stories that happen. You know when I did come to uh, do this mummy for the first time, many things happen that all the newspapers talked about the curse of Tutankhamen.

Resources and exhibit information:

>> The Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs Exhibit
The de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park
Opens June 27, 2009 and runs through March, 2010
Tickets & info: http://www.famsf.org/deyoung

>> King Tutankhamun and the work of Dr. Zahi Hawass: http://www.drhawass.com

>> The King Tut exhibit and its return to San Francisco: http://tutsanfrancisco.org

>> Timeline of events in Ancient Egypt

>> Suggested reading: The Discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter and A.C. Mace
>> Buy the book on Amazon

       >> BACK TO TUTANKHAMUN HOME <<

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