Art – Remembering Howard Carter

Howard Carter

Today, Google doodle pays tribute to Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun‘s tomb, in 1922. The birthday of Howard Carter is celebrated with a colourful graphic depicting the British archaeologist admiring an array of ancient Egyptian treasures.

Howard Carter was born on 9 May 1874, in London, originally trained as an artist and was sent to Egypt, at the age of seventeen, to assist in the excavation and recording of ancient Egyptian tombs. He was appointed as the first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service (EAS), in 1899 and supervised a number of excavations at Thebes, now known as Luxor, before he was transferred, in 1904, to the Inspectorate of Lower Egypt.

Howard Carter

In 1907, Carter was hired by wealthy English aristocrat Lord Carnarvon, who was fascinated by Egyptology. With Carnarvon’s backing, Carter led the excavation of Egyptian nobles’ tombs. In 1914, Carnarvon received a license to dig at KV62 – known as Valley of the Kings – the site where it was believed the tomb of King Tutankhamun rest. Carnarvon gave the job to Howard Carter, that hired a crew of workers to help find the tomb, which was believed to be at a site in the Valley of the Kings.

The discovery made a huge impact. King Tut’s tomb was by far the most intact of all the tombs that were excavated, and artifacts were well-preserved, including the sarcophagus and Tut’s mummy. An interest in ancient Egypt and Egyptology was sparked around the world, largely in thanks to the uncovered tomb of Tutankhamun. Carter then became the first human in 33 centuries to enter the tomb, and spent years documenting the thousands of artefacts from the tomb.

tutankamon and howard carter

A total of 5,398 objects were found, covering every aspect of ancient Egyptian life, from weapons and chariots to musical instruments, clothes, cosmetics and a treasured lock of the royal grandmother’s hair. He died from Lymphoma in 1939 at the age of 64, just seven years after his excavation ended, and before he could fully publish his findings. Carter’s complete records of the excavation were deposited in the Griffith Institute Archive at the University of Oxford.