The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 26, 2016

November 26, 1922

It is sometimes said that Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon were the first people to enter King Tut's tomb in more than 3000 years. This makes that date, November 26, 1922, memorable. The story though is more complicated as a Mashable article clarifies.

In 1907, Egyptologist and archaeologist Howard Carter was hired by George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon to oversee excavations in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Carter had built a reputation for scrupulously recording and preserving discoveries.

Carter searched the valley for years with little to show for it, which drew the ire of his employer. In 1922, Lord Carnarvon told Carter that he had only one more season of digging before his funding would be ended.

Revisiting a previously abandoned dig site at a group of huts, Carter started digging again, desperate for a breakthrough.

On Nov. 4, 1922, his crew discovered a step carved into the rock. By the end of the next day, a whole staircase had been uncovered. Carter wired Carnarvon, imploring him to come at once.

On Nov. 26, with Carnarvon at his side, Carter chipped open a small breach in the corner of the doorway at the end of the stairs. Holding a candle, he peered inside.

This is described by Carter:

At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, 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.

....The team had discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king who ruled Egypt from about 1332 to 1323 BC.

Though there was evidence the tomb had twice been raided by ancient grave robbers, it was still remarkably intact. The tomb was crammed with thousands of priceless artifacts, including the sarcophagus containing the king’s mummified remains.

Every object in the tomb was meticulously recorded and cataloged before being removed, a process that took nearly eight years.

One of the strange animals was probably like these feline pieces:

"Image: Harry Burton (c) The Griffith Institute, Oxford....for the exhibition 'The Discovery of King Tut' in New York."

Another mystery solved is the location of Howard Carter's grave: Putney Vale Cemetery in London.

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