Howard Carter (archaeologist)

Howard Carter (archaeologist)

Infobox Scientist
name =Howard carter
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image_width =150px
caption = Howard Carter
birth_date = birth date|1874|5|9
birth_place = Kensington
death_date = death date and age|1939|3|2|1874|5|9
death_place = London
residence =
citizenship =
nationality = English
ethnicity =
field = archaeologist and Egyptologist
work_institutions =
alma_mater =
doctoral_advisor =
doctoral_students =
known_for = Discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun
author_abbrev_bot =
author_abbrev_zoo =
influences =
influenced =
prizes =
religion =
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Howard Carter (May 9 1874ndashMarch 2 1939) was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist, noted as a primary discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

In 1891, at the age of 17, Carter began studying inscriptions and paintings in Egypt. He worked on the excavation of Beni Hasan, the grave site of the princes of Middle Egypt, c. 2000 BC. Later he came under the tutelage of William Flinders Petrie.

He is also famous for finding the remains of Queen Hatshepsut's tomb in Deir el-Bahri. In 1899, Carter was offered a job working for the Egyptian Antiquities Service (EAS), from which he resigned as a result of a dispute between Egyptian site guards and a group of French tourists in 1905.

Tutankhamun's tomb

In 1907, after several hard years, Carter was introduced to Lord Carnarvon. Soon, Carter was supervising all of Carnarvon's excavations.

Carnarvon financed Carter's search for the tomb of a previously unknown Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, whose existence Carter had discovered. After a few months of fruitless searching, Carnarvon was becoming dissatisfied with the lack of return from his investment and, in 1922, he gave Carter one more season of funding to find the tomb.On 4 November 1922, Carter found the steps leading to Tutankhamun's tomb (subsequently designated KV62), by far the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings. He wired Carnarvon to come, and on 26 November 1922, with Carnarvon, Carnarvon's daughter, and others in attendance, Carter made the famous "tiny breach in the top left hand corner" of the doorway, and was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He did not yet know at that point whether it was "a tomb or merely a cache", but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked him if he saw anything, Carter replied: "Yes, wonderful things". [ [ King Tutankhamen's Tomb - Crystalinks ] ]

The next several weeks were spent carefully cataloging the contents of the antechamber. On February 16, 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.

Carter's own papers suggest that he, Lord Carnarvon and Lady Evelyn Herbert entered the tomb shortly after its discovery – without waiting for the arrival of Egyptian officials (as stipulated in their excavation permit).Fact|date= January 2008 Artifacts and jewelry from the tomb were found in Carter's home after his death, suggesting that he had violated his permit.Fact| date= January 2008

When he discovered the tomb, it was said he also found 150 gold amulets and even a death mask weighing 11 kilograms, with which the pharaoh was buried. Carter was thought to have used an axe to retrieve the gold charms and the mummy was broken into 18 pieces.Fact| date= January 2008 Due to the poor archaeological knowledge at the time, Carter left the mummy for hours without protection under the sun (in November, more than 35 degrees Celsius).Fact| date= January 2008

Later work and death

Following his extensive finds, Howard Carter retired from archeology and became a collector. He visited the United States (USA) in 1924, and gave a series of illustrated lectures in New York City which were attended by very large and enthusiastic audiences, sparking egyptomania in the United States. He died of lymphoma, a type of cancer, in England on March 2, 1939 [ [ Howard Carter, 66, Egyptologist, Dies ] ] 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 most common piece of evidence put forward by skeptics to refute the idea of a curse (the "Curse of the Pharaohs") plaguing the party that violated Tutankhamen's tomb. His living descendants include Valerie Darroch, née Carter, and her family.

Howard Carter is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery in West 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" [from the Wishing Cup of Tutankhamun] and "O night, spread thy wings over me as the imperishable stars". [C.f the prayer to the Goddess Nut found on the lids of New Kingdom coffins: "O my mother Nut, spread yourself over me, so that I may be placed among the imperishable stars and may never die." (]

In popular culture

Film and Television

Carter has been portrayed by the following actors in film and television productions;cite web | url = | title = Howard Carter (Character)| accessdate = May 8 | accessdaymonth = | accessmonthday = | accessyear = 2008 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | year = | month = | format = | work = | publisher = | pages = | doi = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = ]
*John Cleese in the 1970 TV sketch comedy "Monty Python's Flying Circus": "Archaeology Today".
* Robin Ellis in the 1980 Columbia Pictures Television production "The Curse of King Tut's Tomb"
* Pip Torrens in 1992 Lucasfilm TV movie "Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal".
* Pip Torrens in the 1995 Lucasfilm TV movie "Young Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Peacock's Eye"
* Timothy Davies in the 1998 IMAX documentary "Mysteries of Egypt"
* Stuart Graham in the 2005 BBC docudrama "Egypt".


He appears as a character throughout most of the "Amelia Peabody" series of books by 'Elizabeth Peters' (a pseudonym of Egyptologist Dr Barbara Mertz).


"In Search of the Pharaohs" - a 30-minute cantata for narrator, junior choir and piano by composer Robert Steadman, commissioned by the City of London Freemen's School which uses extracts from Carter's diaries as its text.Fact|date=February 2007


A paraphrased extract from Howard Carter's diary of November 26 1922 is used as the plaintext for Part 3 of the encrypted Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. [ [ - Cracking the code - Jun 19, 2005 ] ]


Further reading

*James, T.G.H. "Howard Carter: The Path to Tutankhamun". London: Kegan Paul International, 1992 (hardcover, ISBN 0710304250); London: Tauris Parke, 2001 (paperback, ISBN 1-86064-615-8)
*Reeves, Nicholas; Taylor, John H. "Howard Carter: Before Tutankhamun", London: British Museum Press, 1992 (hardcover, ISBN 0714109525); New York: H. N. Abrams, 1993 (hardcover, ISBN 0810931869)
*Vandenberg, Philipp. "The Forgotten Pharaoh: The Discovery of Tutankhamun". London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1980 (hardcover, ISBN 0340246642)
*Winstone, H.V.F. "Howard Carter and the Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun". Manchester: Barzan Publishing, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 1905521049; paperback, ISBN 1905521057)

External links

* [ The Search for Tutankhamun] ndash from the Griffith Institute website, Howard Carter's records of the five seasons of excavations, financed by Lord Carnarvon, in the Valley of the Kings 1915–1922.
* [ Tutankhamunndash The Anatomy of an Excavation]
* [ Grave of Howard Carter]
* [ Transcripts of Howard Carter's excavation diaries]
* [ Swaffham, Norfolk museum - Howard Carter exhibit]
* [ Carter's ‘wonderful discovery’]

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