During the thousands of years that have past since the pharaohs were buried in their tombs, treasure hunters and thieves have snuck into the tombs and taken nearly all of the treasure. However, in 1922 one tomb was discovered that was mostly untouched and was filled with treasure. It was the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Where is King Tut's tomb?
The tomb is in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt. This was where the Pharaohs and powerful nobles were buried for around 500 years during the history of Ancient Egypt.
Who found the tomb?
By 1914 many archeologists believed that all of the Pharaoh's tombs in the Valley of the Kings had been found. However, one archeologist named Howard Carter didn't agree. He thought that the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was still undiscovered.
Carter searched the Valley of the Kings for five years finding little. The man funding his search, Lord Carnarvon, became frustrated and nearly stopped paying for Carter's search. Carter convinced Carnarvon to pay for one more year. The pressure was on. Carter had one more year to find something.
In 1922, after six years of searching, Howard Carter found a step underneath some old workmen's huts. He soon uncovered a stairway and the door to King Tut's tomb. What would be inside it? Would it be empty like all the other tombs found before?
Howard Carter inspecting the mummy of Tutankhamun Tut's Tomb from the New York Times
What was found in the tomb?
Once inside the tomb, Carter found rooms filled with treasure. This included statues, gold jewelry, Tutankhamun's mummy, chariots, model boats, canopic jars, chairs, and paintings. It was an amazing discovery and one of the most important made in the history of archeology. In all, there were over 5,000 objects in the tomb. It took Carter and his team ten years to catalog everything.
Tutanhkamun tomb statue by Jon Bodsworth
Golden funeral mask of king Tutankhamun by Jon Bodsworth
How big was the tomb?
The tomb was fairly small for a Pharaoh. Archeologists believe that it was built for an Egyptian noble, but was used for Tutankhamun when he died at a young age.
The tomb had four main rooms: the antechamber, burial chamber, annex, and treasury.
The antechamber was the first room that Carter entered. Among its many items included three funeral beds and the pieces of four chariots.
The burial chamber contained the sarcophagus and King Tut's mummy. The mummy was contained in three nested coffins. The final coffin was made of solid gold.
The treasury contained the king's canopic chest which held his organs. There were also many treasures such as gilded statues and model boats.
The annex was full of all sorts of objects including board games, oils, and dishes.
Map of Tutankhamun's Tomb by Ducksters
Was there really a curse?
At the time that King Tut's tomb was opened, many people thought that there was a curse that would affect anyone who invaded the tomb. When Lord Carnarvon died from a mosquito bite a year after entering the tomb, people were sure the tomb was cursed.
Soon rumors began to spread that increased the belief and fear of the curse. Newspapers reported a curse inscribed on the door of the tomb. A story was told that Howard Carter's pet canary was eaten by a cobra on the day he entered the tomb. It was also said that 13 of the 20 people who were present at the opening of the burial chamber died within a few years.
However, these were all just rumors. When scientists look at the number of people who died within 10 years of first entering the tomb, it is the same number as would normally be expected.
Fun Facts about King Tut's Tomb
Because it was so hot in Egypt, archeologists only worked during the winter season.
The tomb is given the designation KV62. The KV stands for Valley of the Kings and the 62 is because it was the 62nd tomb found there.
King Tut's gold mask was made with 22 pounds of gold.
The treasures from King Tut's tomb traveled throughout the world during the Treasures of Tutankhamun tour from 1972 to 1979.
Today, most of the treasures are exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.