Howard Carter

Image
02

Howard Carter

01
Howard Carter
02

Howard Carter

Howard Carter was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist known for having a primary role in the discovery of the tomb of 14th-century BC pharaoh Tutankhamun.

01
Howard Carter
02

Howard Carter

Howard Carter was born in London, England, the son of Samuel Carter, and Martha Joyce Carter. Howard Carter developed an early interest in Egypt, so when he was 17 years old, under the influence of Lady Amherst, a family acquaintance, he set sail for Alexandria, Egypt. It would be his first trip outside of England, and he hoped to work with the Egyptian Exploration Fund as a tracer. His first assignment came at Bani Hassan, where he was tasked with recording and copying the scenes from the walls of the tombs of the princes of Middle Egypt. It is said that he worked diligently throughout the day, and slept with the bats in the tombs at night.

01
Howard Carter
02

Howard Carter

It was under the direction of William Flinders Petrie that Carter grew into his own as an archaeologist. Considered as one of the best field archaeologists of this time, Petrie really did not believe that Carter would ever become a good excavator. Yet Carter could have had no better teacher at this point in time. At el Amrna, Carter proved Petrie wrong by unearthing several important finds. During this training period, Carter also worked under Gaston Maspero, who would later become the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service.

01
Howard Carter
02

Howard Carter

After his resignation from the Antiquities Service he spent the next four years as a watercolor painter and dealer in antiquities. However, seeking private funding for excavation work, Carter became the Supervisor of Excavations for the 5th Lord of Carnarvon (George Herbert). While World War I delayed Howard Carter's work, by 1914, Lord Carnarvon owned one of the most valuable collections of Egyptian artifacts in private hands. He would eventually discover six tombs in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor. But Carter had become somewhat obsessed with finding the tomb of a fairly unknown pharaoh named Tutankhamun, and year after year, searched in vain for this the pharaoh's lost tomb.

01
Howard Carter
02

Lord Carnarvon was becoming frustrated with Carter's efforts, and by 1922, issued an ultimatum to the Egyptologist that this would be his last season of funding. Confident of his eventual success, on November 1, 1922, Carter began digging for his final season and three days later unearthed the staircase to Tutankhamun's tomb. After excavating down to the plaster blocks of the tomb, at 4 PM on November 26, 1922, Howard Carter broke through and made one of the 20th century's most amazing discoveries. It would take another ten years just to catalog the artifacts from this one tomb, which are currently in the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo, though they are scheduled to be moved in the near future.

01
02

Several months were spent cataloging the contents of the antechamber under the "often stressful" oversight of Pierre Lacau, director general of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt. On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway, and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber, and he got his first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. All of these discoveries were eagerly covered by the world's press, but most of their representatives were kept in their hotels; only H. V. Morton was allowed on the scene, and his vivid descriptions helped to cement Carter's reputation with the British public.

01
02

The clearance of the tomb with its thousands of objects continued until 1932. Following his sensational discovery, Howard Carter retired from archaeology and became a part-time agent for collectors and museums. He visited the United States and gave a series of illustrated lectures in New York City and other cities in the United States. He died of lymphoma, in Kensington, London, at the age of 64. The archaeologist's death so long after the opening of the tomb, despite being the leader of the expedition, is the piece of evidence most commonly put forward by sceptics to refute the idea of a "curse of the pharaohs" plaguing the party that violated Tutankhamun's tomb.

01
02

Howard Carter

Carter is buried in the Putney Vale Cemetery in London. On his gravestone is written: "May your spirit live, May you spend millions of years, You who love Thebes, Sitting with your face to the north wind, Your eyes beholding happiness" and "O night, spread thy wings over me as the imperishable stars".

01
Howard Carter
02

Lord Carnarvon

During the time of the excavations, Lord Carnarvon died in Cairo of pneumonia. This sent the already sensational press into a frenzy. Media hype about the mummy's curse set the media on fire, and much to Carters displeasure, he began receiving letters from spiritualists from around the world. Legend has it that by 1929, eleven of the people connected with the discovery of the tomb had died, including two of Lord Carnarvon's relatives, and Carter's personal secretary, Richard Bethell. This would spawn mummy movies through the end of the the twentieth century and beyond.

01
Lord Carnarvon
Share facebook twitter gplus

Related Slideshows