Howard Carter enters Tutankhamen’s Tomb, 1922

On today’s date in 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon  became the first people to enter “King Tut’s” tomb (also known as KV62)  in 3000 years. Archaeologist Carter’s search for and excavation of KV62 was financed by Lord Canarvon.

In 1907, Carter began working for Lord Canarvon, who took up archaeology as a hobby after an automobile accident left him in bad health. Their work was interrupted at the onset of World War I, but in 1917, they began excavating the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Carter examines Tut’s coffin with an assistant.

According to Carter, several artifacts found with Tutankhamen’s name on them seemed to point to a certain location for excavation. Initially, Carter did not have much luck. Lord Canarvon decided to stop the search after 5 years of searching in the Valley of the Kings without much to show for it. However, Carter pleaded to dig for one more season and Lord Canarvon obliged.

And by the fourth day of work, Carter’s crew found a step cut into the rock- a step leading to to King Tut’s tomb. It wasn’t until three weeks later that Lord Canarvon arrived to enter the tomb with Carter.

They discovered a tomb filled with wealth and treasures that took eight years to empty (its contents were transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo).

A glimpse of the ornateness of KV26.

In April 1923, Lord Canarvon died from an infected mosquito bite, which led to rumors of a “Mummy Curse.” That much is debatable, but the historic significance of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb is incontestable.

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