Photographs taken by `”King Tut” discoverer to be put on display at Nov.15 exhibition

November 14th, 2007 - 8:20 am ICT by admin  
Approximately 900 photographs, taken mostly between 1907-14, convey the enormous scale of excavations that Lord Carnavon and the archaeologist Howard Carter conducted in the decade before their most sensational discovery, which was first announced to the world by The Times.

Fiona, 8th Countess of Carnarvon, found the photographs recently inside three ordinary-looking albums in the archives of the family home, Highclere Castle, Berkshire.

She said that that the discovery of the photographs was “like going back in time”.

John Taylor, an assistant keeper in the British Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, described the images as “important historically . . . very evocative of what it was like to be an Egyptologist in 1910 and 1920″.

“They give an idea of the scale of it. Nowadays, Egyptologists are concerned with quite small areas, with small numbers of workers digging. In those days, there were dozens and dozens of workers clearing large areas. These photographs show them carrying baskets, the dust flying up, the hive of activity. You see them bringing objects out of the tombs, including mummy cases. You wouldn’t see that kind of thing happening today.”

There are also images of Carnarvon and Carter directing the operation, wearing three-piece suits despite the intense heat of the Egyptian sun. The Earl is shown in shots from 1911 at the cobra-infested Tel el Balamun site in the Delta, and at a tomb discovery in 1910 at Thebes. Carter can be seen staffing a desk as he supervises the workers’ pay day.

Some of the treasures went to Carvarvon’s collection, which is today open to visitors at Highclere Castle. Others were transported to Cairo and the Metropolitan in New York.

The photographs have emerged as more than 130 spectacular treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun, including the gold crown that adorned the boy-king’s head, are set to go on display in the Millennium Dome, the 02 in Greenwich, on November 15.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of Pharaohs comes to London after a four-city tour of the United States, where “Tutmania” drew more than three million visitors, setting records in each host city.

It will recreate the excitement of the discovery of the Pharaoh’s burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings in 1922, where Carter saw “gold - everywhere the glint of gold”.

The Earl died in mysterious circumstances in 1923, helping to build the popular myth of “the Mummy’s curse” afflicting those responsible for opening Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Lady Carnarvon, who is married to Carnarvon’s great-grandson, will publish some of her ancestor’s newly discovered photographs to coincide with the touring exhibition, in an illustrated book, titled Carnarvon and Carter. (ANI)

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