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King Tut’s Tomb Is Discovered: November 26, 1922

This text comes from our book, All Ye Lands.

Some 1,000 years after construction of the Sphinx, an Egyptian prince, Thutmose IV, was sleeping in its shade after hunting. While he slept, the Sphinx appeared to him in a dream and told him to clear away the sand that nearly buried it, and that if he obeyed he would become king. Thutmose did as he was told, and due to the untimely death of his older brother, he became king during the Eighteenth Dynasty, the first dynasty of the New Kingdom. The story of Thutmose’s dream is recorded on a stele, a stone marker placed between the giant lion’s paws.

Guardian spirit from Tutankhamun’s tomb
Guardian spirit from Tutankhamun’s tomb

Egyptian pyramids and tombs contained vast storehouses of treasure, which throughout the ages were stolen by clever tomb robbers. Despite the builders’ best efforts—installing false doors and passageways going nowhere—the burglars outwitted them. Nearly all the tombs were stripped of their riches, often in the very lifetime of those who buried the kings.

Pharaoh Tutankhamen (TOOT•in•COM•mon) (1333–1323 b.c.) was an exception—his burial chamber was untouched until it was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, an English archaeologist. The remains from the tomb included the king’s mummy inside three nested coffins, the innermost one of solid gold and the outer two of gilded wood.

King Tutankhamen’s contained artwork and ritual objects for the pharaoh’s use in the afterlife.
King Tutankhamen’s contained artwork and ritual objects for the pharaoh’s use in the afterlife.

The pharaoh’s sarcophagus, bore a beautiful mask of the dead king’s head, depicting his face in gold, and around it the symbols of the kingdom, the vulture, and the cobra. The chamber also held jewelry, sacred writings, gilded furniture, clothes, weapons, and other objects. Though the achievements of this boy king were minor, he became known to all the modern world through the discovery of his tomb. His funeral possessions have traveled around the world, on display in museums.

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