When Howard Carter entered the Antechamber of King Tut’s tomb and the attached Annex, he realized the scope of the work and called in assistance from additional experts. It took a year and a half to catalog and conserve the contents. It was February before they could enter the burial chamber that was filled with Tut’s shrine. It measured 16’ x 10’ x 9’ feet high. Unlike the other rooms with bare walls, these walls had been plastered and painted with funerary scenes.
When they lifted the quartzite sarcophagus, they found a gold- painted coffin inside, and inside that another one. The mummy was wrapped in bandages and covered with unguents with 150+ jewels and precious treasures were contained in the wrappings. The head and shoulders were covered by a magnificent gold mask.
In a room leading off the burial chamber, amid more treasure and the canopic jars were the sad tiny mummified bodies of two fetuses. King Tut had married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaamun, which was the custom of the pharaohs. When close relatives have children together, the genetic diversity that each person offers is decreased. Children of these close unions are more likely to have genetic conditions which leads to some of the illnesses that Tut whose father and mother were brother and sister suffered.
Tomorrow, a Vintage Valentine Rita Bay
In November, 1922, Carter began his final season working for Lord Carnavon in the Valley of the Kings by exposing the workmen’s huts at the base of the tomb of Rameses VI. By the fourth day of excavations of the ground beneath the huts. they discovered a step that cut into the rock. In a few days they had exposed 12 steps and a partial door with an intact seal. Carter stopped his work, refilled the steps, and contacted Lord Carnavon in England.
A few weeks later Carter exposed all of the sixteen steps and the full door which had Tut’s seals. They also saw where robbers had broken in and passed through the rubble-filled passage. They later discovered that this was a second break in with an earlier one shortly after Tut’s death. Items from the tomb were discovered under the rubble-filled 26-foot-long passage. At the end of the passage, a door was found that had been broken open. They feared that they would find nothing on the other side. Here’s Carter’s account of what they found:
“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. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, “Can you see anything?” it was all I could do to get out the words, “Yes, wonderful things.” Tomorrow, Tut Revealed Rita Bay