The mummified head of Tutankhamen.
Today marked the 85th anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of ancient
Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen — the famous "King Tut." To mark the occasion,
Zahi Hawass, director of the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt, returned the
mummy of Tutankhamen to its original resting place — tomb KV62 in the Valley
of the Kings.
Howard Carter, the discoverer of KV62, was an amazing man. In 1922, when
he discovered Tutankhamen's tomb, he had already been doing archaeology
in the Valley for a good long while. He was at the end of his digging season.
Almost on a whim, he decided to do a quick survey of an area under which the
mules that were used to transport supplies and equipment into the valley had
been traditionally tied up. The mules were moved and he began digging. He soon
ran into a flight of stairs leading down. The staircase led to an antechamber
that, like all previous tombs found in the Valley, had been vandalized. But
there was a difference. Beyond the antechamber, the tomb was still sealed.
He telegraphed Lord Carnervon, his patron, and shortly thereafter the two
took the first bricks out from the sealed chamber. Carter shined a light into
the chamber and looked in. Carnervon asked him if he could see anything.
"Yes, wonderful things" Carter told him.
And the rest, of course, is history. Today, Tutankhamen's golden death mask
is almost as much of an iconic sign of ancient Egypt as the pyramids.
Tutankhamen's mummy will only stay a short time in the tomb. Problems
with humidity can greatly affect the mummy, so it will soon be returned
to a more stable environment in Cairo. But for the time being, tourists
to the Valley and KV62 will be able to see the face of the great king,
which is remarkably preserved.
And for a time, Tutankhamen, Son of the Sun, King of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Lord of Manifestations is Ra, will once again be back home in his proper
Layout of tomb KV62.
KV62, Chamber J.
The back wall frieze shows the ka of Tutankhamen
with Hathor and Osiris (in white).
Tutankhamen with Anubis (left) and Hathor (right).