When King Tut’s tomb was opened over a century ago, the world was instantly captivated by the discovery. British explorer Howard Carter had sought the tomb for quite some time, but even he couldn’t have anticipated the impact its discovery would have, not just on our understanding of ancient history but on modern culture as well.
In his official account, Howard Carter states that he waited for the arrival of his benefactor, Lord Carnarvon, before opening the tomb. Carter’s team had already uncovered the staircase leading to the entrance on November 4, 1922, but it wasn’t until late November that the tomb would be opened. According to Carter, the tomb was not fully opened at this time either. Instead, the team cut a hole into the door of the tomb before venturing in. The archaeologist inserted a candle into the hole and peered in to examine the interior. Lord Carnarvon asked if Carter could make out anything in the darkness, and Carter replied, “Yes, it is wonderful.”
Not long after that the crew began the task of opening the tomb. Once they managed to unseal the entrance they found that the interior had remained virtually untouched for over 3,000 years! This meant that the treasures which were left for King Tut to take into the afterlife remained inside the tomb. Carter and his team set to work, thoroughly documenting each item. They found over 5,000 individual artifacts and the process of sorting them all took nearly 10 years to complete.
King Tut’s tomb was found to be comprised of four small rooms. These rooms included an annex, an antechamber, a treasury and, last of all, the burial chamber. Despite having already opened the tomb, Carter and his team wouldn’t open the burial chamber until February 16, 1923. When the chamber was finally unsealed, they discovered the boy king’s sarcophagus and unveiled his golden coffin.