Like Pharaoh Khufu, I have built a great tomb. But, tonight, I’m not gonna bury you in it with me. Except with the admittedly generous mounds of peanuts that you’ll see I’ve provided. No, tonight I just want to say that this book is a disaster! It’s a travesty! It’s proof of a broken promise.
Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old city in Luxor, Egypt.
The “lost golden city” dates back to the 18th-dynasty of King Amenhotep III (1391 to 1353 BC). Experts believe the city may have been used by Tutankhamun.
Dr Zahi Hawass, a former antiquities minister who lead the mission, said:
“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it. […] Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions. What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.”
Amongst the discoveries were items of jewellery, pottery, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks “bearing the seals of Amenhotep III”. Let’s hope none of this finds its way into the British Museum as they have enough stolen artefacts as it is.
Howard Carter found the tomb of Tutankhamun on 22nd November 1922. I know that date well because it’s my birthday. It’s also the day the ancient pharaoh became a superstar thousands of years after his death.
Carter’s discovery was just the beginning of King Tut mania. Herbert died in 1923, shortly after entering the tomb—most likely from an infected mosquito bite—and a series of people connected with him and Carter suffered mysterious traumas. Rumors of King Tut’s curse circulated.
Since then, his tomb and its contents have toured the globe in numerous exhibitions. But there have been questions of looting from Egypt, centring on a sculpture that had the features of Tutankhamun. The country tried to stop auction house Christie’s from selling it, alleging it had been stolen from the Temple of Karnak in Luxor in 1970. Christie’s disagreed.
According to them, the statue was in the private collection of Prinz Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis by the 1960s. Christie’s went ahead with the July auction and sold the disputed object for nearly $6 million. Days later, Egypt sued Christie’s. The ongoing brouhaha typifies the disagreements that still pervade the market for Egyptian antiquities.
Subsequent sales of King Tut antiques have garnered huge prizes in auctions. His likeness warrants big bucks. The deeper implications of this—making money from a person of colour (I won’t get into the debate of racial identity in Ancient Egypt but knock yourself out) after death—isn’t addressed in the article and it probably wasn’t the place to do so. But it’s something that should be analysed overall, especially when we see how quickly the death of a Black person like Breonna Taylor can turn the victim into a meme and a painting before her murderers see the inside of a courtroom (if they do).