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Tutankhamun's Tomb

Tutankhamun's tomb is located in the Valley of the Kings between the tombs of Rameses II and Rameses IV. Although robbers probably entered the tomb at least twice in antiquity, its contents were virtually intact when it was discovered by Howard Carter.

Black sentinel Plan of tomb

The design of Tutankhamun's tomb is typical of that of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty. At the entrance to the tomb there is a flight of stairs leading to a short corridor. The first room is the antechamber where many of the household items for Tutankhamun's voyage to eternity were found. Off this room is an annex, and at the far end is an opening that leads to the burial chamber. This chamber was guarded by two black sentry-statues that represent the royal ka (soul) and symbolize the hope of rebirth -- the qualities of Osiris, who was reborn after he died.

CMC PCD 2001-279-009 Antechamber; 
CMC PCD 2001-296-037 Antechamber; 
CMC PCD 2001-296-031

The burial chamber contains Tutankhamun's sarcophagus and coffin. Its walls are painted with scenes of Tutankhamun in the afterworld - the ritual of "opening the mouth" to give life to the deceased, the solar bark on which one travels to the afterworld, and Tutankhamun's ka in the presence of Osiris.

Doorway to burial chamber; 
CMC PCD 2001-293-044 Burial chamber; 
CMC PCD 2001-296-060 Burial chamber; 
CMC PCD 2001-297-058

Off the burial chamber is the Treasury room, where a magnificent gilded canopic shrine was found. This was the most impressive object in the Treasury. Howard Carter explains what he saw when he first looked into the Treasury:

"Facing the doorway, on the farther side, stood the most beautiful monument that I have ever seen - so lovely that it made one gasp with wonder and admiration. The central portion of it consisted of a large shrine-shaped chest, completely overlaid with gold, and surmounted by a cornice of sacred cobras. Surrounding this, free-standing, were statues of the four tutelary goddesses of the dead - gracious figures with outstretched protective arms, so natural and lifelike in their pose, so pitiful and compassionate the expression on their faces, that one felt it almost sacrilege to look at them."

Howard Carter, The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen

A gold chest held four canopic jars containing the dead pharaoh's viscera (internal organs -- lungs, stomach, intestines and liver). Four goddesses protected the shrine -- Neith to the north, Selkis to the south, Isis to the west and Nephthys to the east. Also found in this room were thirty-five model boats and a statue of Anubis, a god represented as having the head of a jackal. For conservation purposes, all these treasures have been removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Canopic shrine; 
CMC 2001-272-014 Canopic jars; 
CMC PCD 2001-276-006

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