In 1327 BC, Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
On 25 November 1922 AD his tomb was discovered by a team of archaeologists lead by Howard Carter.
Modern archaeologists began excavating the valley seriously in 1898, but they never found a tomb with its treasures still intact due to tomb robbers. It wasn’t until the summer of 1922 that the hidden staircase to Tutankhamun’s tomb was uncovered. Large amounts of debris were cleared away and finally the top of a blocked doorway covered with ancient seals was discovered.
Carter and his team dug out the rough stones that blocked the doorway and found a corridor filled from floor to ceiling with limestone chippings. After digging for about 9 metres they came across a second sealed doorway and broke it open.
This doorway lead to the antechamber and Carter and his men were bewildered by what they found. The chamber was filled with inlaid caskets, alabaster vases, egg-shaped boxes, huge chariot parts and three guilded couches in the shapes of strange animals. Two black statues were guarding another sealed doorway.
On 17 February 1923, after seven weeks spent clearing the antechamber, the formal opening of the door to the burial chamber took place. Stepping into the chamber they came up against one side of a gilded shrine, so huge that it almost filled the chamber. This was the first of four shrines, fitted one inside the other, with a great carved sarcophagus (stone coffin) at the centre. Inside this were three coffins, again one inside the other.
In the last coffin, wearing a mask of beaten gold, lay the mummy of Tutankhamun.
Beyond the burial chamber was yet another chamber. In this chamber Carter found a dramatic statue of Anubis (the jackal-headed god of mummification) and a huge gilded shrine, protected by the figures of four goddesses. All around the chamber lay caskets, shrines, and chests containing jewellery, amulets, magical objects and gold statuettes. There were also model boats with their sails and rigging still intact and a plain wooden box containing two tiny coffins. Each held a mummified foetus. After examination, these are believed to be the bodies of two stillborn baby girls and are thought to be the children of Tutankhamun and his wife, Ankhesenamum.
The last chamber to be opened was another chamber off the antechamber. It was only very small yet contained over 2,000 objects meant for Tutankhamun’s use in the next life. This chamber was filled with oils, ointments, food, wine, clothing, sandals, beds, stools, bows, arrows, board games, cosmetics and the list goes on.
Carter and his men thought it would take a few months to remove all the objects from the tomb. It took them 10 years!