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King Tut was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule at the end of the 19th Dynasty during the New Kingdom. Known as “the boy king,” he inherited the throne at just nine years old and mysteriously died less than a decade later, with his burial rushed and his legacy seemingly wiped, leading many to claim he was murdered. In 1922, Howard Carter discovered KV62 in the Valley of the Kings, but the incredible breakthrough would come at a shocking price, exposing the tale to the whole world and sensationalising the “Curse of the Pharaohs”.
Reports at the time claimed that the tomb was engraved with a curse promising that “death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the king,” and whether the curse was real or not, that promise was fulfilled when Lord Carnarvon – the man who sponsored Mr Carter’s dig – died four months later.
Channel 5’s new documentary ‘The Curse of King Tut’ revealed the details of the day Mr Carter found KV62.
The series said on Thursday: “Beyond the 12 steps descending into the bedrock to a sealed doorway laid a passageway that took Carter down to another sealed entrance, beyond which was an antechamber – an annex – and the burial chamber.
“Throughout the tomb were references to the pharaoh buried inside – Tutankhamun.
“The morning that Carter first entered the tomb a hawk was spotted flying above the excavation site – his Egyptian workforce considered it to be a bad omen.
“Within four months the financier – Lord Carnarvon – would be dead.
“After five years of excavating Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Carter and his team had found the long-log tomb of Tutankhamen.”
The Griffith Institute holds over 1,000 glass-plate photographs taken from inside the tomb on discovery.
Historian Elizabeth Fleming revealed one of them during the series.
She said: “We have in front of us a glass negative, it’s one of several thousand created by photographer Harry Burton who was assigned to Carter’s team right from the beginning of the excavation.
“It shows the first room that the entered in the tomb of Tutankhamen.
“All of these objects were just as they had been placed over 3,000 years ago.”
Ms Fleming went on to detail some of the artefacts that can be seen in the photo.
She added: “On the left-hand side you can see we have the dismantled chariot of the king for use in the afterlife.
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“Round to the right we can see two guided couches – there were three – and on those are his furniture, we have chairs and stools and boxes with the king’s garments and medicines.
“Underneath there is even more, including the child-size throne.
“Moving along to the next couch we can see these oval-shaped boxes, which were found to contain cuts of meat.”
Manchester University Egyptologist, Dr Campbell Price, revealed why the photographs are so special.
He said: “It’s the first major archaeological find to use photography in a very stylised way.
“We know the finds through the photographs and it really was an aesthetic that Carter contributed to, but Harry Burton invented.”
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