Case Study: The Tomb of Tutankhamun
Investigating Ancient Egypt
Since the discovery of KV62 in 1922 by British Egyptologist Howard Carter, the tomb of Tutankhamun and the life and death of the boy king has fascinated countless generations. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s virtually untouched tomb reignited an interest in ancient Egypt and sparked a new era of ‘Egyptomania.’ Tutankhamun is now synonymous with ancient Egypt and his golden death mask, housed within the Cairo Museum, has become an iconic symbol of Egypt.
The tomb of Tutankhamun is located in the Valley of the Kings near the modern-day city of Luxor (ancient Thebes). After multiple archaeological expeditions in this area, it was thought that the Valley of the Kings had been exhausted. However, after completing six unsuccessful seasons searching for an undiscovered royal tomb, Carter, during his final season made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time when he discovered the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Tutankhamun ruled during the New Kingdom in Dynasty 18 (1336–1327 BCE). Comparatively speaking, Tutankhamun is considered somewhat of a minor king, having ascended to the throne at a young age, ruling for a relatively short period in which no significant policy changes were made. However, what makes Tutankhamun so important is the exceptional state in which his tomb was preserved and the wealth of objects it contained, which gave Egyptologists a unique insight into the New Kingdom period.
Below is a list of useful resources which explore many facets of the study of Tutankhamun including the unique circumstances surrounding the discovery of KV62, current conservation projects being carried out on the tomb and a multitude of sources which relate to the life and death of Tutankhamun.
The Golden Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun
- The Griffith Institute has created ‘Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation’. This is a digital database of the photographs, drawings, diaries and maps associated with Howard Carter’s discovery of KV 62, the tomb of Tutankhamun.
- Dorothea, A. (2010), “Tutankhamun’s Funeral”, in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- The Getty Conservation Institute in conjunction with the Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities have been working together on five-year conservation and management project of the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV 62).
- Masters, T. (2014), ‘Tutankhamun: How ‘Tut-mania’ gripped the world’ BBC News 24 July 2014.
- Mascort, M. (2018), ‘Close Call: How Howard Carter Almost Missed King Tut’s Tomb’ National Geographic 12 April 2018.
- Hawass, Z., Gad, Y.Z., Ismail, S., (2010), “Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun’s Family”, JAMA 303: 7, 638-647.
- Butler, D. (2010), ‘King Tut’s Death Explained’, Nature News 16 February 2010.
- Boyer, R.S., Rodin, E.A., Grey, T.C., Connolly, R.C., (2003), ‘The Skull and Cervical Spine Radiographs of Tutankhamen: A Critical Appraisal’, American Journal of Neuroradiology 24:6, 1142-1147.
- Silverman, P., Wegner, J.W., Houser Wegner, J., (2006), Akhenaten and Tutankhamun Revolution and Restoration, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
- Than, K. (2010), ‘King Tut Mysteries Solved: Was Disabled, Malarial and Inbred’ National Geographic News 17 February 2010.
- Carter, H. & Mace, A.C. (1923/1977), The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen, New York.
- The Theban Mapping Project is developing a comprehensive archaeological database of every archaeological, geological and ethnographic feature in Thebes including the tomb of Tutankhamun.
- Allen, S.J. (2007), Tutankhamun’s Tomb: The Thrill of Discovery Photographs by Harry Burton, London.
- Allen, S. (2004), “Kings and Queens of Egypt”, in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Roehrig, C.H. & Daniel, M. (2009), “Harry Burton (1879–1940): The Pharaoh’s Photographer”, in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.