Introduced by Professor David P. Silverman
Illustrated by Sandro Vannini
Carter’s own thrilling testimony, with spectacular colour images by Sandro Vannini and the original photographs by Harry Burton.
There have been countless accounts of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, from the sober to the sensational, but none is as powerful as Howard Carter’s own firsthand testimony. He recalls the evidence that first drew him to the Valley of the Kings in 1914; the six seasons of patient, fruitless searching; moonlit encounters with would-be tomb-robbers; and the near-miraculous discovery at the eleventh hour, just as funding was about to run out, of the royal necropolis seal – the jackal and nine captives – which signalled a pharaoh’s resting-place. With admirable restraint, Carter cabled Lord Carnarvon, the excavation’s sponsor, and waited two weeks for him to arrive before breaking the sealed doorway. What they found was beyond imagining. Unlike most royal tombs, Tutankhamun’s had largely escaped plundering; with more than 5,000 artefacts, it remains the most complete Egyptian burial ever discovered.
Colour photographs by Sandro Vannini.
Bound in buckram.
Blocked with a design by Peter Suart.
Set in Minion.
Vol. 1: 448 pages.
Frontispiece and 32 pages of black & white plates.
Vol. 2: 128 pages with 140 colour illustrations
Book size: 10" × 6¾".
‘Three thousand, four thousand years maybe, have passed and gone since human feet last trod the floor on which you stand, and yet, as you note the signs of recent life around you — the half-filled bowl of mortar for the door, the blackened lamp, the finger-mark upon the freshly painted surface, the farewell garland dropped upon the threshold — you feel it might have been but yesterday.’
With the discovery of the tomb, Carter’s work was only beginning. As well as exploring the significance of the objects found, he describes the careful cataloguing and photographing, the precautions taken against looting and the constant stream of visitors, who, for diplomatic and other reasons, had to be shown the site, wasting valuable time. Carter expresses his frustration with press sensationalism, and the ‘unpardonable and mendacious’ rumours of a curse that supposedly killed Lord Carnarvon, which he saw as an insult to the deceased.
‘Tutankhamun can indeed rest in peace; his wish for immortality has been granted, and as Tutankhamun’s discoverer, Howard Carter’s memory is etched in history’
This two-volume edition features an entire volume dedicated to magnificent colour photography of Tutankhamun’s treasures taken by Sandro Vannini. In recent years, Vannini has been given rare access by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to carry out photography at the Cairo Museum. He uses a digital sensor to create high-resolution enlargements that would be impossible with film alone, meaning that we can appreciate these artefacts in unprecedented detail as well as from new angles. In the other volume, we have reproduced the text together with the original photographs by Harry Burton, who worked with Carter at the excavation site and was the first to photograph the tomb. Professor David P. Silverman of the University of Pennsylvania, a leading authority on Egyptology and curator of the major exhibition ‘Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs’, has contributed an introduction. The binding designs are by Peter Suart, based on images of winged guardian goddesses. The endpapers to the first volume show the ropes and royal necropolis seal that secured the doors to the second shrine before being opened by Carter.
Click here to read a blog post on Carter by Hazel Gray of The Egypt Exploration Society.
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Howard Carter (1874–1939) was an English archaeologist who made one of the richest and most celebrated contributions to Egyptology – the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Carter was the son of a portrait artist, and his first endeavours in Egyptology were as a painter and draughtsman rather than as an excavator. At the age of seventeen, he joined his first expedition to Egypt, working with Percy Newberry as an artist at the site of Beni Hasan. His progression was swift, however, and in 1899 he was appointed the first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. By 1907 he was conducting his own excavations, financed by the Earl of Carnarvon. The sensational discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 brought Carter worldwide fame and re-created an interest in the glories of ancient Egypt. The task of clearing the contents of the tomb took ten years and, when complete, Carter turned to other researches. He also travelled throughout Europe and America, giving lectures on the discovery, and acted as an agent for collectors and museums. In recognition of his achievements, Yale University conferred upon Carter the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, and the Real Academia de la Historia of Spain made him an honorary member. He was the author of a number of books on Egyptology, and a frequent contributor to scientific journals.
David P. Silverman is the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr., Professor of Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania, Curator of Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section and one of the leading authorities on the civilisation of ancient Egypt. He was the national curator, advisor and academic content creator for the blockbuster exhibition ‘Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs’ and was also responsible for the curatorial content in the original 1977 ‘Treasures of Tutankhamun’ exhibition. His extensive publications include numerous books and articles on Egyptian language, art and religion, and he has directed several field expeditions at sites throughout Europe.
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Review by firstname.lastname@example.org on 7th Sep 2016
"Having studied Egyptology at University, coupled with the knowledge of having seen the original exhibits at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, I was dubious about the spend on this item. In retrospect so w..." [read more]
Review by anon on 19th Mar 2016
"This is great fun. From the endpapers showing a photo of the entrance to the unopened tomb, you share the excitement of the original explorers. I'm amazed at their patience and self-control. Each fin..." [read more]
Review by portend on 30th Oct 2015
"Absolutely gorgeous book! The photographs are stunning. The books could've been a bit bigger though but perhaps that would have made reading a bit less comfortable."