Howard Carter (9 May 1874 – 2 March 1939) was a British archaeologist and Egyptologist. He is known for his discovery in November 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
This was one of the most important archaeological descoveries in Ancient Egypt because the tomb was virtually intact.
The fascination for Egyptian civilization
The Egyptian civilization will never cease to fascinate us with the complexity of its myths, elaborate funeral rituals, hieroglyphics and art that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, obeying strict formal principles, and that even today irresistibly attract us.
Mysterious and monumental, it was part of a culture based on polytheism, on the Nile and on after-life beliefs.
The passion for Egyptology sparked in 1798, when Napoleon arrived to Egypt, a forgotten civilization, with the French fleet.
His curiosity was aroused, resulting in several drawings of those peculiar monuments that were released as new culture discovered by him, in an attempt to increase his prestige and power.
Battle of the Pyramids, Louis-Joseph Watteau
The discovery of Howard Carter
Another great contribution was also the discovery of the tomb of the young King Tutankhamun in 1922, by archaeologist Howard Carter.
Attracting millions of curious tourists and explorers to see his virtually intact tomb and sole survivor, one of the richest finds of Egypt.
“With trembling hands I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner. Darkness and blank space, as far as an iron testing-rod could reach, showed that whatever lay beyond was empty, and not filled like the passage we had just cleared. Candle tests were applied as a precaution against possible foul gases, and then, widening the hold a little, I inserted the candle and peered in, Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn and Callender standing anxiously beside me to hear the verdict. At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold – everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment – an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by – I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, “Can you see anything?” it was all I could do to get out the words, “Yes, wonderful things.” | Howard Carter – The Tomb of Tutankhamen. E.P. Dutton, 1972.