Tutankhamen Gold Rollerball
Discovering Tutankhamen’s tomb west of Thebes on November 25, 1922 provided the world with the first glimpse of the most incredible burial treasure in existence. Egyptology had been established as a scientific vocation 100 years earlier by Frenchman Jean-Francois Champollion, but nothing as extraordinary as Tutankhamen’s tomb and treasure had ever been found. And the west bank of the Nile had been a veritable treasure trove of Egyptian artifacts. Archaeologists had been able to piece together 4000 years of Egyptian life, including the study of temples and tombs, the remains of pharaohs and monuments discovered by Napoleon Bonaparte’s expeditions in the early 1800s. All served to piece together centuries of human experience, ranging from ancient customs to the details of daily life to the recounting of military campaigns. But nothing approached the treasure that Lord Carnarvon and his party saw as they pulled back the first stones from Tutankhamen’s tomb.
In spite of the wealth of his dynasty, Tutankhamen remained a shadowy figure. There were few objects that bore his name and in fact two important monuments bore the name of the dynastic god Armun, supplanting the significance of the boy pharaoh to some degree. Virtually all of the artifacts that bore Tutankhamen’s face had been obliterated, showing the hate and ruthlessness of his enemies. And littlewas known of Tutankhamen when British archaeologist Howard Carter, supported by Lord Carnarvon, put together an expedition to find Tutankhamen’s grave. Carter had been encouraged by his finding in the Valley of Kings and wanted to press on.
There were in fact many broken monuments of Tutankhamen, as Egyptian gods were transformed anthropomorphically to resemble the pharaoh or “dear son”, but all of these had been later appropriated by King Haremheb, who had been one of the powers behind the throne when Tutankhamen ruled.
No royal sepulchers had ever been found intact in the burial grounds on the west bank of the Nile, but Carter and Carnarvon’s perseverance led to Tutankhamen’s tomb 3265 years after it had been sealed. It was earth shattering news that instantly became world headlines and made celebrities out of the discovers. Soon the curse and myth of Tutankhamen would be famous the world over and the stories became more fantastic as the expedition got closer to the sarcophagus itself.