In 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered a nearly intact tomb. The golden treasures inside—the inner coffin weighs in at 269 pounds of solid gold—have obsessed us ever since, firmly sealing the young King Tut as the most famous of Egyptian kings. But why is Tutankhamun always the first pharaoh to come to mind when we think of ancient Egypt? Is it really because of those golden objects, or also because his tomb brings up questions of our own connections to death, our understanding of race, and our deep fascination with celebrity? Tutankhamun’s place in our modern zeitgeist arguably says more about us than it does about the ancient Egyptians.
The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World, by Kara Cooney
The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, The Tomb, The Royal Treasure, by Nicholas Reeves.
Reeves, C. N. (2016). Tutankhamun’s mask reconsidered. Valley of the Kings since Howard Carter: proceedings of the Luxor Symposium November 4, 2009. H. Elleithy. Cairo, Ministry of Antiquities: 117-134
1) Why are we so obsessed with Tutankhamun today?
2) What do you think about the display of the ancient Egyptian dead? Do you think it’s problematic?
3) If this was Tutankhamun’s tomb, and he was a little-known king, what do you think the tombs of kings like Ramses II contain?