Tutankhamun: The face of Egypt

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By Teresa Saunderseducational journalist and children’s writer

Use the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb to explore Ancient Egyptian beliefs about mummies and the afterlife

Tutankhamun

For more than 80 years, one face has captured our imagination and epitomised Ancient Egypt across the globe more than any other – the golden mask of Tutankhamun. He ruled for nine years, more than 3,000 years ago.

The evidence

It is November 1922. British archaeologist Howard Carter is working in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Finding some ancient steps leading to a sealed tomb, he dismantles the door only to arrive in a rubble-strewn corridor. At the end is a second stone door. He peers apprehensively through a small hole in this second door. At first he can see nothing. Then he comes to the realisation that he has stumbled across a dazzling treasure. ‘Strange animals, statues and gold – gold everywhere,’ he exclaims.

The great discovery

Howard Carter’s exciting discovery is one of the greatest finds archaeology has ever seen. The splendour and sophistication of the many treasures, plus the sheer number of artefacts and their pristine condition, added a new dimension to the archaeologists’ quest for knowledge. But, the tomb was all the more valuable because it contained Tutankhamun’s exquisitely crafted coffin and sarcophagus – and his mummified body.

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