On This Day: Howard Carter discovers Tutankhamun's tomb

British Pathé
On This Day: Howard Carter discovers Tutankhamun's tomb

February 16 1923: British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter achieved worldwide fame on this day 90 years ago, when he discovered the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter's team found the Egyptian boy king's sarcophagus on February 16 1923 - the first time anyone had seen it in 3,000 years.

Having died in mysterious circumstances in 1323 BC at the age of 19, Tutankhamun was buried in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.

Raided twice by robbers in the months following his death, the entrance of the tomb was resealed to protect it from further plunder.

Soon afterwards it is believed that the tomb was buried by debris from subsequent tombs that was either dumped there deliberately or washed there by floods.

In subsequent years huts for workers were built over the tomb in an indication that what lay beneath had by then been forgotten.

It was under the hut that Carter and his team discovered steps leading to the tomb on November 4 1922.

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Carter had previously convinced the earl, an Egypt fanatic for many years, to finance one last season after years of disappointment in the hunt for Tutankhamun.

After careful preparations they opened the burial chamber containing the sarcophagus of the boy king four months later in February 1923.

The video above shows the Tutankhamun's tomb shortly after it was discovered in 1922.

George Herbert, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon, hailed the "determined and stoic behaviour" shown by his namesake ancestor, the fifth earl, and Howard Carter, in finding the ancient resting place.

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