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One of the most fascinating tools aiding in the discovery of Ancient Egyptian society was the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Discovered in the early twentieth century, King Tutankhamen's tomb provided the world with an intake of Egyptian lifestyles. By observing and analyzing the intact, pictorial artifacts, archaeologists were able to form conclusions of what the ancient world was like. The artifacts within the tomb not only told of the lifestyles of the Ancient Egyptians, but also revealed the routines and duties of the ruler, Tutankhamen. By learning about King Tutankhamen's life, one is really learning about the other rulers and their common practices. Through a remarkable discovery of the well-kept tomb of Tutankhamen, the Ancient worlds of Tutankhamen as well as Egypt were finally unmasked.
Tutankhamen's tomb was not discovered until 1922 partly because Tutankhamen's name, along with that of other pharaohs of his dynasty, was removed from the royal lists during the 19th dynasty. In the 20th dynasty, when the tomb of Ramses VI was carved immediately above Tutankhamen's, rubble covered his burial place. The burial chamber was not entered until found in 1922 by British Egyptologist Howard Carter after years of searching.
While excavating in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in January of 1908, Theodore Davis found artifacts, each with Tutankhamen's name inscribed on it. After concluding that the site was merely a reburial site of Tutankhamen and not the actual tomb, Davis opened the door for Howard Carter to continue investigating the area within the next twenty years. Much to Davis's dismay, Howard Carter would be the one cited for the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. After obtaining permission to investigate the area, Carter, along with Lord Carnarvon, discovered and entered the tomb of King Tutankhamen despite the desire to give up at first. "We had almost made up our minds to leave The Valley and try our luck elsewhere; and then-hardly had we set hoe to ground in our last despairing effort than we made a discovery that far exceeded our wildest dreams," says Howard Carter in 1922 of the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb. Contrary to the belief that the discovery was purely accidental, Carter and Carnarvon knew exactly what they were doing as they were working from a detailed map and spent many years of methodical work. Despite an eery curse said to impair those who disturb Tutankhamen's slumber, Carter and his workers infiltrated and explored the tomb.
Cleverness of the Ancient Egyptians is an attribute predominant in King Tutankhamen's tomb as well as in the other tombs found throughout the Valley of the Kings. Although most tombs were robbed completely of their valuables, King Tutankhamen's tomb was barely victimized as the Egyptians responsible for the tomb of Tutankhamen were very clever in their architecture and location for the building of Tutankhamen's tomb. The great jewels and treasures were kept in the Jewel Room, which was very hard to get into. The engineers responsible for the building and decorating Tutankhamen's tomb were also clever in their formation of a so-called curse located near the entrance of the tomb.
The tomb of Tutankhamen is very small compared to some in the Valley of the Kings reflecting the haste by which it must have been completed after the boy-king's early death. It consisted of four rooms; the antechamber, the annex, the burial chamber, and the treasury. The rockcut tomb was dug deep into one of the cliffsides of the Valley of the Kings in an effort to conceal the resting places of the royal mummies. Inside the tomb, there were long descending passageways, stairs, and chambers, which were also decorated in relief and painting with scenes to protect and aid the spirit in the next life.
When peering into the tomb of Tutankhamen, one will primarily notice the fabulous works of art surrounding the boy king. On first entering the tomb, Carter states "At first I could see nothing . . . but presently, 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." More than three thousand treasures were placed in the tomb to help Tutankhamen in his afterlife, not including the surrounding walls painted with scenes of Tutankhamen's voyage to the afterworld. Tutankhamen's mummy rested in the innermost coffin, which is made of solid gold, while his body was wrapped in linen with an exquisite gold mask placed over his head. The two outer ones of gold hammered over wooden frames. On the king's head was a magnificent golden portrait mask, and numerous pieces of jewelry and amulets lay upon the mummy and in its wrappings. Spectacular alabaster sculptures presided along the perimeter of one of the chambers. There was furniture of all kinds, and even games, which were assumed to be present as Tutankhamen was a young man when he met his premature death. All
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