“After five years of toil in the Valley of the Kings, the vast desert funerary complex close to modern day Luxor, Howard Carter had little to show for his relic-hunting efforts.
Time was running out, and Lord Carnarvon, his benefactor back in Britain, had reluctantly granted him just one more season to come up with something spectacular.
In the mid-morning heat exactly 90 years ago today, it arrived.
As Carter and his men cleaned up the debris near some ancient stone huts, they inadvertently stumbled upon the steps leading down into the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The unprecedented find – the first time a royal burial chamber had been found containing all of its treasures – triggered a wave of Egyptmania in the West and cemented Carter’s place in history.
Yet although Egyptologists initially hailed the discovery for the unique insights it provided into ancient burial rites, the tomb itself has not fared well since being prised open after 3000 years of regal isolation.
Decades of mass tourism has taken its toll, with the fluctuating humidity levels from thousands of panting visitors causing the elaborately painted plaster walls to peel away from the bedrock.
Egyptian officials have announced that the burial chamber is in such bad condition that it will have to be closed.
Instead, visitors will be able to pay to see a replica of the tomb – a perfect facsimile which has been painstakingly created by a British artist, Adam Lowe” – via The Independent.
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