The discovery of Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 is without a doubt the greatest archaeological find in history, but it certainly didn’t come about easily – in fact, it took Egyptologist and archaeologist, Howard Carter, no less than 15 years to find it.
Carter had initially been hired in 1907 by the 5th Earl of Carnarvon to oversee ongoing excavations in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings because of his excellent reputation for recording and preserving discoveries, however the ensuing years were not fruitful. In fact, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb was made during the very last season of digging that Lord Carnarvon was willing to fund.
November 26th, 1922 was the date when Carter made the first small breach in the doorway of the tomb. Lord Carnarvon was by his side.
“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.” - Howard Carter
Although evidence indicated the tomb had twice been raided by ancient grave robbers, it was almost intact. Thousands of priceless artifacts lay inside, including the boy-king’s sarcophagus. Cataloging and recording all of them prior to their removal and storage took almost eight years to complete.
These incredible color photographs, which document the tomb’s discovery and were originally black and white, were created for an exhibition that was held in New York City in November 2015.
December 1922: A ceremonial bed in the shape of the Celestial Cow, surrounded by provisions and other objects in the antechamber of the tomb.
December 1922: A gilded lion bed, clothes chest and other objects in the antechamber. The wall of the burial chamber is guarded by statues.
Circa 1923: An assortment of model boats in the treasury of the tomb.
December 1922: A gilded lion bed and inlaid clothes chest among other objects in the antechamber.
December 1922: Under the lion bed in the antechamber are several boxes and chests, and an ebony and ivory chair which Tutankhamun used as a child.
Circa 1923: A gilded bust of the Celestial Cow Mehet-Weret and chests sit in the treasury of the tomb.
Circa 1923: Chests inside the treasury.
December 1922: Ornately-carved alabaster vases in the antechamber.
January 1924: In a "laboratory" set up in the tomb of Sethos II, conservators Arthur Mace and Alfred Lucas clean one of the sentinel statues from the antechamber.
November 29, 1923: Howard Carter, Arthur Callender and an Egyptian worker wrap one of the sentinel statues for transport.
December 1923: Arthur Mace and Alfred Lucas work on a golden chariot from Tutankhamun's tomb outside the "laboratory" in the tomb of Sethos II.
Circa 1923: A statue of Anubis on a shrine with pallbearers' poles in the treasury of the tomb.
December 2, 1923: Carter, Callende, and two workers remove the partition wall between the antechamber and the burial chamber.
December 1923: Inside the outermost shrine in the burial chamber, a huge linen pall with gold rosettes, reminiscent of the night sky, covers the smaller shrines within.
December 30, 1923: Carter, Mace and an Egyptian worker carefully roll up the linen pall covering the second shrine.
December 1923: Carter, Callender and two Egyptian workers carefully dismantle one of the golden shrines within the burial chamber.
October 1925: Carter examines Tutankhamun's sarcophagus.
October 1925: Carter and a worker examine the solid gold innermost sarcophagus.
Circa 1923: Lord Carnarvon, financier of the excavation, reads on the veranda of Carter's house near the Valley of the Kings.