Egypt; The Tomb of Tutankhamun, A Young Pharaoh, and Behind The Scenes!


As you might notice, I have never written or mentioned any political issues in my Egypt posts. But this time, I can’t avoid it!

This is known that in Sharm al-Shaikh, the climate conference is already taking place. It might sound boring like the other climate conferences as well, though this time, something is getting loud, which doesn’t please the government of Egypt; the demand for freedom. Everybody knows about the Arab Spring that began in 2008, from Tunis to Egypt and so forth through many Arabs countries. I eagerly followed these and was almost sure it wouldn’t get its favourite goal because I am convinced democracy is a complex process and isn’t so easy to reach. However, in Egypt, it was something special!

The Egyptians have probably achieved their goal and disempowered the Mubarak regime. After that, there was a free election, and the Islamic Brotherhood party came to power. A big mistake; Ignorance? Illiteracy?!

I’m sure you already know that because it got worse thereafter. But there came a saviour “Abdel Fattah el-Sisi” and saved the folk by bringing them back to before the revolution: exactly a return to the old dictatorial regime!

Long story short, all corrupt regimes always have corrupted members; one I know well; is “Zahi Hawass”, who is “again” very active. Finally, I must say that I am thrilled that this “hopeless” conference is taking place in Egypt to show the world what sn injustice happens there and let it hear the voice of the oppressed.

Images credit:

Live Science; King Tutankhamun’s royal burial chamber, near Luxor, Egypt. (Image credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) /

/ Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities /

/ iNews Mona Seif, sister of the jailed British-Egyptian human rights activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, joined supporters outside Downing Street on Monday. (Photo: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

Now let’s read this excellent interview by Marie Grillot with a brilliant writer and researcher, Amandine Marshall, about behind the scene of all these sneaky activities. via egyptophile

Amandine Marshall: “The Tomb of Tutankhamun, Behind the Scenes”!

“Tutankhamun’s Tomb – Behind the Scenes” by Amandine Marshall – published by “Mondes Antiques”
cover illustration: Fabien Dessaux

Throughout the 148 pages of her book “The tomb of Tutankhamun, behind the scenes”, published by “Mondes Antiques”, Amandine Marshall leads us far from the golden mask, far from adornments and treasures, far from testimonies of affection. left near the young king… It is a darker reality which is revealed and which begins, shortly after his burial, with the looting, twice, of his tomb… Based on elements left behind, on the study of the context, and the examination of the photos of Harry Burton, the investigation carried out by the author (e) makes it possible to “identify” the “profile” of the looters… A beam of clues indeed converges towards the track of the craftsmen of Deir el-Medina, “covered” by medjaÿs – policemen supposed to guard the necropolis -, attracted by all these riches – and probably also sponsored by people greedy for gold, ointments, and oils.

The tomb will then be forgotten, lost under the rubble, until November 4, 1922, when Howard Carter clears the steps… If his courage, his perseverance is recognized, his complex character will be the source of many conflicts… The author (e ) also believes that if he applied himself to safeguarding the precious artefacts surrounding the pharaoh, it was not the same for his remains. The sad state of his mummy testifies to the disrespectful treatment inflicted on him, in 1925, during the autopsy performed, in the presence of Howard Carter and Alfred Lucas, by Drs. Douglas Derry and Saleh Bey Hamdi…

Amandine Marshall signs well “behind the scenes”… so much the youthful and “golden” appearance of Tutankhamun withers in the face of these desecrations, in the face of this mummy, tarred to excess and, in her own words; “decapitated ” and “cut up”…

The book is illustrated with many pictures of Harry Burton, and the magnificent cover, where the gold of the treasure room explodes on a black background, is by Fabien Sennedjem Dessaux.

Amandine Marshall, Egyptologist, author of “The tomb of Tutankhamun, behind the scenes.”

MG-EA: The first chapter is devoted to the history of the Valley of the Kings: it is a difficult challenge, as I imagine, to write a synthesis of more than 4000 years of this necropolis in seven pages?

Amandine Marshall: Yes, it was indeed necessary to make choices; the idea was to introduce the reader to the place of discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, both through its ancient history and through the history of its rediscovery in overtime to make him better understand the conditions of the discovery of the most famous burial in Egypt.

Excavations in the Valley of the Kings at the beginning of the 20th century
The Griffith Institute – Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – The Howard Carter Archives
Photographs by Harry Burton – Photo. No. PKV11 – © Copyright Griffith Institute, 2005

MG-EA: In the pages, you devoted to Howard Carter, you describe him as talented and determined and point to his complex nature… Born into a modest background, his undeniable gifts as a draftsman and painter – inherited from his father – make it happen in Egypt, and even in Egyptology… But it is indeed his stubbornness and his courage which – despite many setbacks – will lead him to the incredible discovery made with the financing of Lord Carnarvon?

Amandine Marshall: The term “obstinate” has a negative connotation; I prefer, in the case of Carter, his determination and his conviction which are meritorious and must be rightly underlined. On the other hand, I will not use the qualifier “courageous” against him; I will give it more willingly to Auguste Mariette, who had to face much more dangerous situations and twice failed to be murdered. He clearly showed courage on several occasions, not Carter.

Portrait of Howard Carter (author and date unknown) – draftsman, Egyptologist and discoverer, in November 1922
with Lord Carnarvon from the tomb of Tutankhamun
London 9-5-1874 – 2-3-1939

MG-EA: The tomb’s discovery takes place in a complicated political climate while Egypt is trying to free itself from the tutelage of the English, and also in a context where the service of antiquities, directed by the Frenchman Pierre Lacau, wishes to regain control over the excavations… What anger Carter?

Amandine Marshall: It is evident that the much less lax position of Pierre Lacau compared to that of Gaston Maspero towards the diggers aroused the concern and the anger of Howard Carter and his patron, who quickly understood that they could not negotiate as they might have hoped to do with his predecessor. Pierre Lacau was a very upright personality, reluctant to negotiate his loyalty to Egypt, and his rigorous positions on the future of archaeological discoveries were inevitably severely perceived by the two Englishmen and by others. For years he had been excavating the Valley of the Kings; Howard Carter never ceased to dangle Lord Carnarvon with the prospect of beautiful finds, and the succession of Lacau at the head of the Service of Antiquities has called everything into question. The final blow came in April 1922, when he initiated a new law, according to which the Egyptian state decided alone whether or not it wished to hand over to the excavators some of the objects found. It was officially adopted on December 6, 1922, a month after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

MG-EA: 5398 objects of incredible diversity will be extracted from the hypogeum… They would represent only part of the treasure which accompanied Tutankhamun… You indeed relate the passage of two bands of looters who would ” largely” be used?

Amandine Marshall: Presumably, the first squad of looters stopped at the first room of the tomb, the antechamber, which indicates that they did not have time to go further in their prospecting. On the other hand, the second group of thieves had the possibility of returning several times to the scene, they entered all the rooms, and several clues allowed Howard Carter to estimate that they had embarked 60% of the royal finery.

Linen (used by looters) in which eight solid gold rings were wrapped.
The Griffith Institute – Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – The Howard Carter Archives
Photographs by Harry Burton – Photo. No. P0220 – © Copyright Griffith Institute, 2005

MG-EA: Can you tell us what happened to these grave robbers?

Amandine Marshall: To be found guilty of violating the royal tomb was considered a great criminal. Unsurprisingly, the death penalty was applied to them after torture sessions intended to make them suffer and to ensure that all the culprits had indeed been arrested.

Vase à parfum retrouvé sans couvercle
The Griffith Institute – Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – The Howard Carter Archives Photographs by Harry Burton – Photo. No. P0469 – © Copyright Griffith Institute, 2005

MG-EA: You denounce the terrible treatment inflicted on the mummy, considering that Carter and his team took more care to preserve the artefacts than the pharaoh’s body… In your opinion, the “anatomical disconnection” of the mummy, practised in particular by Dr Derry, was more than sacrilege?

Amandine Marshall: When we consider the facts, it is no longer just an estimate; it is the description of proven facts with supporting photos: Tutankhamun had his head torn off and was dismembered at the level of the abdomen, wrists, elbows, shoulders and feet to more easily extract him from his coffin to which he was glued and to remove the ornaments that adorned his limbs more easily. It would be difficult to consider the treatment of his body – of which the butchering is only a part – as anything other than sacrilege. When we see the state of the royal mummies damaged by ancient looters, we see that many of them came out better than Tutankhamun. This is my observation.

The Egyptologist Howard Carter, leaning over the second gilded wooden bowl,
break the black resin into small pieces to release the golden coffin
The Griffith Institute – Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation – The Howard Carter Archives
Photographs by Harry Burton – Photo. No. P0770 – © Copyright Griffith Institute, 2005

Interview by Marie Grillot for Egypt-news & egyptophile

Amandine Marshall: “The tomb of Tutankhamun, behind the scenes”.

Published by “Mondes Antiques” – 148 pages – 22 €

Contents and excerpt from the online book on Calameo:

8 thoughts on “Egypt; The Tomb of Tutankhamun, A Young Pharaoh, and Behind The Scenes!

  1. Thank you so much Aladin for sharing not only Marie’s brilliant Egyptian article (as always) but also Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s plight. It’s heart-breaking story to read. I only hope our PM will and can intervene. Whatever you’re doing this weekend, enjoy! Love and light, Deborah.

    Liked by 3 people

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