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Tomb of King Tut Found! (Page 2)

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Inside King Tut's Tomb

The first glimpse of Tutankhamun's tomb, Egypt, 1933-1934. The sight that met the eyes of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter when they broke down the sealed doorway which divided the ante-chamber of the tomb and the sepulchral hall of the departed Pharaoh.

. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

On the morning of November 25th, the sealed doorway was photographed and the seals noted. Then the door was removed. A passageway emerged from the darkness, filled to the top with limestone chips. Upon closer examination, Carter could tell that tomb robbers had dug a hole through the upper left section of the passageway (the hole had been refilled in antiquity with larger, darker rocks than used for the rest of the fill).

This meant that the tomb had probably been raided twice in antiquity. The first time was within a few years of the king's burial and before there was a sealed door and fill in the passageway (scattered objects were found under the fill). The second time, the robbers had to dig through the fill and could only escape with smaller items.

By the following afternoon, the fill along the 26-foot-long passageway had been cleared away to expose another sealed door, almost identical to the first. Again, there were signs that a hole had been made in the doorway and resealed.

We were firmly convinced by this time that it was a cache that we were about to open, and not a tomb. The arrangement of stairway, entrance passage and doors reminded us forcibly of the cache of Akhenaten and Tyi material found in the very near vicinity of the present excavation by Davis, and the fact that Tutankhamun's seals occurred there likewise seemed almost certain proof that we were right in our conjecture. We were soon to know. There lay the sealed doorway, and behind it was the answer to the question.4

Wonderful Things

Tension mounted. If there was anything left inside, it would be a discovery of a lifetime for Carter. If the tomb was relatively intact, it would be something the world had never seen.

With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner. Darkness and blank space, as far as an iron testing-rod could reach, showed that whatever lay beyond was empty, and not filled like the passage we had just cleared. Candle tests were applied as a precaution against possible foul gases, and then, widening the hold a little, I inserted the candle and peered in, Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn and Callender standing anxiously beside me to hear the verdict. 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."5

The next morning, the plastered door was photographed and the seals documented. Then the door came down, revealing the Antechamber. The wall opposite the entrance wall was piled nearly to the ceiling with boxes, chairs, couches, and so much more - most of them gold - in an "organized chaos."6

On the right wall stood two life-size statues of the king, facing each other as if to protect the sealed entrance that was between them. This sealed door also showed signs of being broken into and resealed, but this time the robbers had entered in the bottom middle of the door.

To the left of the door from the passageway lay a tangle of parts from several dismantled chariots.

As Carter and the others spent time looking at the room and its contents, they noticed another sealed door behind the couches on the far wall. This sealed door also had a hole in it, but unlike the others, the hole had not been resealed. Carefully, they crawled under the couch and shone their light.

In this room (later called the Annexe) everything was in disarray. Carter theorized that officials had attempted to straighten up the Antechamber after the robbers had plundered, but they had made no attempt to straighten the Annexe.

I think the discovery of this second chamber, with its crowded contents, had a somewhat sobering effect on us. excitement had gripped us hitherto, and given us no pause for thought, but now for the first time we began to realize what a prodigious task we had in front of us, and what a responsibility it entailed. This was no ordinary find, to be disposed of in a normal season's work; nor was there any precedent to show us how to handle it. The thing was outside all experience, bewildering, and for the moment it seemed as though there were more to be done than any human agency could accomplish.7
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