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King Tut

Discovering King Tut's Tomb

Fan: A gilded wooden fan found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber. The fan was a symbol of kingship and depicts Tut's rule over Upper and Lower Egypt.

On November 26, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter peered into a tomb in the Valley of the Kings—a tomb that had been sealed for more than 3,000 years. Eager to know what lay inside, his financial sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, asked whether he could see anything. Carter replied, "Yes, wonderful things."

The "wonderful things" were the priceless treasures of King Tutankhamun's long lost tomb. Carter made the discovery on November 4, 1922, after six seasons of searching. A young Egyptian boy hired to bring drinking water to Carter's workers aided in the find. As the boy was digging a hole to hold one of the water jars, he uncovered the top of a carved stone step. The step was dug out, revealing stairs, which led down to the tomb.

In the late New Kingdom period of ancient Egyptian history, royal tombs were frequently robbed. When Carter explored King Tut's tomb, he found evidence that robbers had entered at least twice. Soon after Tutankhamun's burial his tomb was broken into. During the second robbery Necropolis police caught the thieves, and the tomb was resealed. Despite these invasions, King Tut's tomb proved to be the most intact ancient Egyptian tomb ever found, cementing his reputation in historical records and in people's imaginations.