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On This Day… A Stairway To A Tomb

Written by: George Chittenden : 10 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 4th Nov, back in 1922 when British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen discovered a step leading to one of the most remarkable and important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, the tomb of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings. After discovering that first step, the archaeologists removed more sand and soon revealed fifteen more steps, at the bottom of which stood a sealed doorway. It was clear that Tutankhamun’s resting place had not been entirely ransacked by grave robbers soon after it was sealed, unlike every other tomb excavated in modern times.

The world waited with bated breath for the tomb to be opened, and it wasn’t until the 26th November when Carter broke a small hole in the top left corner of the doorway, with Lord and Lady Carnarvon by his side. Behind that door lay an unparalleled wealth of extraordinary treasures, buried for over three millennia. The tomb housed over 3,000 treasures, including models of luxury ships. The body of Tutankhamun was inside a sarcophagus that housed three nesting coffins, and the final coffin was made of solid gold.

Arguably the greatest treasure ever found, Tutankhamun's mask was made from two sheets of gold, decorated with bands of glass paste imitating lapis lazuli and adorned with semi-precious stones and glass. Interestingly the mask shows a strong resemblance to Tutankhamun's grandmother Queen Tiye.

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