In 1922 Howard Carter did not have much to show after five years of excavating in the Valley of the Kings. As a result, Lord Carnarvon made the decision to stop the search. But in the end, Carnarvon relented and agreed to one last season.
By November 1, 1922, Carter began his final season working in the Valley of the Kings concentrating his workers efforts at exposing the workmen's huts at the base of the tomb of Rameses VI. After exposing and documenting the huts, Carter and his workmen began to excavate the ground beneath them.
By the fourth day of work, a step cut into the rock emerged from the sand. By late afternoon on November 5th, 12 stairs leading downwards were revealed and in front of them, stood the upper portion of a blocked entrance. Carter searched the plastered door for a name but of the seals that could be read, he found only the impressions of the royal necropolis. Carter was extremely excited. "The design was certainly of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Could it be the tomb of a noble buried here by royal consent? Was it a royal cache, a hiding-place to which a mummy and its equipment had been removed for safety? Or was it actually the tomb of the king for whom I had spent so many years in search?"
On the morning of November 25th after the arrival of his patron, the sealed doorway was photographed and the seals noted. Then the door was removed, revealing a passage filled with rubble. By the following afternoon, the passageway had been cleared, revealing another sealed doorway.
Carter wrote of the moment "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." 1. Howard Carter, The Tomb of Tutankhamen (E.P. Dutton, 1972) 26.
The discovery of King Tut's tomb in November 1922 created an obsession around the world. Daily updates of the find were demanded. Masses of mail and telegrams deluged Carter and his associates. Hundreds of tourists waited outside the tomb for a peek. Hundreds more people tried to use their influential friends and acquaintances to get a tour of the tomb causing a great hindrance to work in the tomb and endangering the artifacts. Ancient Egyptian style clothes quickly hit the markets and appeared in fashion magazines. For fashion examples, check these sites:
971068: Slave bracelets were all the rage in the 1920s and this is the necklace to complete your ensemble. Rudolf Valentino, the silent screen legend, was never seen in public without the slave bracelet given to him by his wife in 1924. His untimely death on August 23, 1920 brought get sorrow internationally. This example is in magnificent condition. The oval blue lapis stones alternate with enameled medallions. Each rectangular silver link of the chain is faceted and bound to the next with a minutely detailed band. Measures 16”. $65.00 Available from The Bag Lady Emporium
The influence of Egyptomania cannot be underestimated in the free wheeling atmosphere of the Flapper Era. Handbag examples abound in evey material from celluloid to beaded bags.
990291: Wonderful 20's vintage beaded bag in Egyptian motifs, influenced by the discovery of King Tut's Tomb in 1922. Bead work is in excellent condition. Lined in deep turquoise blue brocade-like cotton, matching the blue beads if the bag. Single open interior pocket. Beautiful bag with a lot of history! Measures 8 x 8 1/2" Excellent condition. SOLD
For more on the tomb, try these sites:
See the National Geographic details of the tomb at National Geographic Interactive