Tomb of Tutankhamun
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The tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun from the XVIII dynasty is in Egypt on the west bank of the Nile near the ancient capital - the city of Thebes. Now this city is called Luxor. All the rulers of the era of the New Kingdom were buried here in the " Valley of the Kings ", and Tutankhamun was no exception.
Pharaoh himself and his tomb became famous by chance, since it was this burial that was the only one in the valley that the ancient tomb robbers had not touched.
In addition, the tomb is associated with the "curse of Tutankhamun" and many assumptions about the falsification of the tomb itself and the contents. All these topics will be interesting for tourists, and we will touch them.
Now the tomb is open to visitors, this is a popular place for excursions, so we'll talk about it in detail.
About the pharaoh Tutankhamun
Tutankhamun was the most famous pharaoh of Egypt precisely because of his tomb, although he did not do anything significant during the reign. In fact, he never fully ruled.
The origin of the pharaoh Tutankhamun is not yet clear. According to different versions, he was the son or nephew of the previous pharaoh Akhenaten, or a more distant relative.
Tutankhamun ascended the throne at the age of 10, and the regents ruled for him. At the age of 19 he died, and did not become a full-fledged ruler. Versions about the causes of his death are numerous. Most likely he fell from a chariot on a hunt or died from a disease.
A version about his murder is spread, but this is unlikely. Tutankhamun arranged the whole top of the nobility of Egypt. During his reign they did everything they wanted.
We do not know the truth now, and maybe we will never know. After his death, he was hastily prepared for burial, and the mummy was heavily soaked with oil. In addition, it was removed from the sarcophagus not very carefully, and the mummy was severely damaged. It is now impossible to establish the true causes of death.
In his reign, there were several important events, to which he himself was not involved.
His predecessor, Pharaoh Akhenaten, conducted religious reform. He tried to introduce in Egypt the worship of the one god of the sun Aton. When Tutankhamun ascended the throne, his name was Tut-Anah-Aton, translated as "the living embodiment of Aton."
In his reign, the priests of the old religion conducted a counter-reformation, they glorified the old god Amon back, and the cult of Aten tried to be forgotten. In the fourth year of the reign at the age of 14, the pharaoh changed his name to Tut-Anah-Amon, that is, "the living incarnation of Amun." Naturally, his opinion on this account no one asked.
Previous Pharaoh Akhnaton (pictured right) was so keen on his religion reform that he did not pay attention to foreign policy. Many of Egypt's neighbors have ceased to recognize his authority and pay tribute.
During the reign of Tutankhamun, the military commanders made several victorious campaigns to Syria and, possibly, to Nubia to restore the influence of the Egyptian kingdom. The brightest commander of the time was Horemheb, who later became a pharaoh himself. These campaigns also have nothing to do with Tutankhamun.
On the history of the tomb
The tomb was found in November 1922. Before her discovery, there was even no certainty that Pharaoh Tutankhamun did exist. Archaeologists found only a few references to it in written sources, and those without cartouches.
Scanty sources - this is not surprising. After Tutankhamun's death, the courtier Eya ascended to the throne, who violently destroyed all the legacy of the previous pharaohs Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. After the death of Eyus, General Horemheb ascended the throne. He began even more vigorously to destroy the legacy of Ey, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.
It was a "wild" time in the history of Egypt . The names of the rulers were knocked down from the walls of the temples, the papyri, mentioning the pharaohs, were destroyed. It's no wonder that we have almost no documents mentioning Tutankhamun. Such documents were few, since he did not rule for long, and after "purges" there were none left at all.
The tomb was discovered by the famous English archaeologist Howard Carter. On his account, many archaeological discoveries, and the autopsy of Tutankhamun's tomb became the peak of his career, then the whole world began talking about him.
In the Valley of the Kings at that time, many tombs of pharaohs and prominent nobles were found, but they were all already plundered. The level of protection of the royal burials in ancient Egypt was not very high.
The Egyptians hoped more for the protection of the tombs by people. If you visit the Valley of the Kings, you will notice how well it is viewed. It's simply impossible to steal something from it, so as not to fall under the guards of security and not be detained.
This is a very short-sighted policy. Someone must organize protection, that is, the state apparatus should function normally in the country.
And if the crisis? And if the invasion? At such moments, when there was no guards, the thieves were dragging the contents of the tombs. In addition, officials and guards themselves were often corrupt and themselves initiated looting.
When the country was acutely lacking in money, the current rulers found in the treasures of the tombs a good source of replenishment of the budget. In this case, they simply took a number of valuable items, but did not touch the mummies. This was the most "humane" way of plunder.
The Chinese, for example, acted much more wisely. They sealed the tombs with massive marble doors and buried them deep into the ground. If you visit the valley of the tombs of the Ming emperor near Beijing , you will be able to see the only tomb opened here Dinlin . Modern archaeologists have been exposing it for more than a year!
Inside the tomb of Tutankhamun, about 3.5 thousand different objects were found. The sarcophagus consisted of three parts, a sort of "Pharaoh matryoshka." The inner sarcophagus contained 110.4 kilograms of gold. The famous mask of the pharaoh Tutankhamun of gold weighs more than 11 kilograms and is decorated with precious stones. All these items are now in museums, most in the Cairo Museum .
To see the famous mask, you do not need to go to Cairo or Luxor. You need to look at the most common in Egypt coin in 1 Egyptian pound , it shows the same mask of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Where is, how much is the entrance and how much time to allocate
The Valley of the Kings is located near the city of Luxor on the opposite bank of the Nile. The tomb of Tutankhamun is located right in the middle of the valley.
Her serial number is KV62, that is, she was opened 62nd in the account, but not the last. In 2005, the expedition of archaeologist Otto Schaden found the last tomb of KV63.
Finding the tomb of the KV62 is very easy. It is a hill about 14 meters high, around which there are always a lot of people. It is easy to navigate: where there is more people, there is the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The cost of the visit is 100 Egyptian pounds. A separate entrance fee to this tomb annoys many tourists. Especially strong negative feelings arise in travelers after visiting, since this tomb is smaller than the rest and decorated not so elegantly. However, we'll talk about this a little later.
To inspect the entire tomb missing five or ten minutes.
Tutankhamen's tomb is not always open to visitors. Sometimes it is closed for scientific research and restoration work.
Morally prepare for the situation when you arrived in Luxor, have already prepared to descend into this famous tomb, and it is closed. Moreover, the Egyptians do not consider it necessary to warn about this in advance or even publish any information in the media or the Internet.
In 2010, the tomb gates were closed completely, and for the visitors the burial was opened only in 2014. Now (note: the article was published in August 2015), they again want to close it for restoration of frescos on the walls. We can not say for sure whether it will be open when you visit the Valley of the Kings, or not.
What you see inside
Tourists are asked to leave photos and video cameras at the entrance. This is an unpleasant surprise. If you came alone, it would be risky to leave an expensive camera to an unknown Arab. Tourists go down in turn, giving cameras to their companions in a tourist group.
Tourists still take a lot of pictures of the contents of this burial, only on mobile phones. In the pockets of security does not look, until such madness in Egypt is still not thought of.
Many tourists are disappointed, since the tomb is small - only 80 square meters.
You go down a small staircase, walk down a short corridor and enter the room. On the right you will see a sarcophagus, to the left there will be an entrance to a small room, which is closed. You can not go close to the sarcophagus, it is separated from the visitors by a fence.
Behind the sarcophagus there is another room - it's a treasure trove, in which tourists are also not allowed. As a result, you can only walk around this room measuring 6.5 by 3 meters. Not surprisingly, many visitors have a feeling of "wretchedness". Tutankhamen's tomb is the most famous of all, but one of the smallest.
On the other hand, the posthumous residence of Pharaoh Tutankhamun is much larger than the average Russian's flat. In theory, the Russians here should seem spacious (hopefully the joke was a success).
There is an interesting suggestion that this is not a royal tomb at all, but it was precisely Pharaoh Tutankhamun that lay in it. He died so quickly that he simply did not have time to prepare the tomb. He was put in a cave, which was prepared for someone from the nobility.
This hypothesis explains a lot: small sizes of rooms, frescoes are not on all walls, some of the drawings were spoiled at once, as the frescoes simply were not allowed to dry.
In any case, it is worth remembering that the creation of such an underground tomb was a matter of expensive and labor-intensive. The caves were carved right in the rock, and they did it with bronze hoes, because the Egyptians did not know how to handle the iron at that moment. It's a long and complicated business.
The work of plasterers and artists was not cheap. During the time of Pharaoh Ramesses III, the treasury did not have enough money to pay for their labor, and they arranged strikes near the temples. And the larger the tomb, the more it will work, hence, the tomb is more expensive.
At the time of Tutankhamun's death, the financial situation in Egypt was disappointing. Many surrounding peoples no longer paid tribute, public administration only recovered after the recession. Money for the funeral of the pharaoh was "to spare."
Let's approach this problem from another angle, and why does Pharaoh have a large tomb? What will he do there? Running, jumping, playing football?
If Tutankhamun lived longer, then perhaps he would have organized a more spacious tomb.
All artifacts from the tomb were removed in 1922-23. Many of them bought foreign museums, but most are now exhibited in the national museum in Cairo. Artifacts inside the tomb you will not see, only a few plaster casts.
What is really interesting for visitors is the mummy of Tutankhomon himself. She was returned here in 2007. The mummy is stored in a special glass box with climate control.
None of the other tombs in the Valley of the Kings has mummies of their owners, this is a local "exclusive".
The second thing to look inside is the frescoes. They are bright and colorful, although they are damaged by bacteria.
As in all burials of the New Kingdom era, the murals depict the pharaoh in the company of Osiris, Anubis and other gods. You will notice one more feature. Frescos are painted only on the wall near the sarcophagus, but on the other walls they simply do not exist. This is another side effect of the rush, in which Pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried.
The Curse of Tutankhamun
Howard Carter worked on the search for Tutankhamun's tomb with his companion Lord George Carnarvon. In 1923, Lord Carnarvon suddenly died in a hotel in Cairo. The official cause of death was not exactly established, since the level of development of medicine in Egypt at that time was still weak. It was either pneumonia or the infection of blood from a cut with a razor.
It was after this death that the press began actively "blowing" about the "curse of Tutankhamun." Talk began about some mythical fungi and microorganisms that the priests left to destroy the robbers. And then Hollywood picked up the idea.
Of course, this is nothing more than fables. Lord Carnarvon was not a 20-year-old boy, at the time of his death he was already 57 years old. Inflammation of the lungs and infection of blood in those days were deadly diseases, since antibiotics had not yet been invented.
Howard Carter died in 1939 at the age of 64 years. Logically, if the curse exists, then it should have touched it first.
Another version says that there is no mysticism in the deaths of some members of the expedition. They, allegedly, were killed by the Egyptian special services in order to conceal the falsification. This version is more realistic, we'll talk about it in detail.
Accusations of falsification
There is an opinion that these excavations and the entire tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun are a fake. Allegedly, Carter and the Egyptian authorities built a fake tomb. In this there is some sense, because Egypt earned a lot of money on the sale of treasures.
Fans of this theory give the following arguments:
First , at the time of the discovery of Carter, the entire Valley of the Kings had already been rummaged, and it was already impossible to find something new there.
This argument can immediately be dropped. How is this impossible? Archaeologist Otto Schaden found another tomb in 2005. And they will probably find it.
The second argument . Carter spent a very long time digging - about 5 years. He allegedly spent this time building a fake.
This argument also means nothing. Can dig for 5 years, maybe 10, what's so surprising?
Third , some items look completely new. This is also possible, some objects are better preserved, some worse.
Fourthly , the lid of the coffin was split. Allegedly it was done on purpose, since she did not climb through the door of the tomb. This argument is very doubtful - the lid of the coffin split, what's so surprising about it?
And there are a lot of similar arguments that cast doubt on the matter, but they do not prove anything.
Let's think sensibly. These people claim that Carter spent 110 kilograms of gold to make a sarcophagus out of it, another 11 kilograms of gold for a mask. Found or produced about 3500 artifacts.
He cut down the tomb in the rock, produced two stone sarcophagi. Found somewhere an orphan mummy of a man of about 20 years old. Then he packed it all in a tomb and announced the discovery.
Read it all! He should have made all this unnoticed! Do you believe that this is possible? Where does gold and money come from? How could this be done in secret? This is just unreal.
Museums that bought these artifacts are conducting an examination of the objects of their collections. If Carter and the Egyptian government had conducted such a scam, it would have long been exposed by scientific methods.
Where do these accusations of falsification come from?
Recently there are more and more doubtful hypotheses, and accusations of falsifying the history of ancient cultures. And this applies not only to Egypt, but also to China, Greece and Mesopotamia. These assumptions arise "like mushrooms after the rain."
There are several reasons for this trend. Firstly, many scientists dream of becoming famous, but it is difficult to do, doing classical science. If you say something sensational, then you have much more chances to become famous. So people are striving for "dirty glory."
The second reason is deeper. Look at what civilizations are now leaders in the world. USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China. China we will reject and we will talk about the rest.
Our peoples are very young. The US is only 250 years of history. Russia is 1300 years of history. England in its present form is 1500 years of historical development. France in its present form is 1200 years old.
All our peoples are strong, but we all experience a subconscious feeling of inferiority and envy of ancient cultures that can boast of thousands of years of history.
Let's look at our Russia. What they did not come up with in the last ten years. And that the Great Wall of China was built by the Rus, dug up Arkaim and now they compose all kinds of fables about it. Of course, Arkaim is a great monument of antiquity, you can not argue with this. But you should not ascribe to it the status of the center of all ancient civilizations, as some adventurers do.
Such tendencies prevail in modern history, and the press with pleasure "inflates bubbles of falsehoods."
Have a nice visit to Luxor, and read our articles about Egypt ( links below )