Egyptologists and discoveries


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Egyptologists and discoveries:

Dominique Vivant Denon: At Bonaparte's invitation he joined the expedition to Egypt as part of the arts and literature section of the Institut d'Egypte, and thus found the opportunity of gathering the materials for his most important literary and artistic work. He accompanied General Desaix to Upper Egypt, and made numerous sketches of the monuments of ancient art, sometimes under the very fire of the enemy. The results were published in his Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte (Journey in Lower and Upper Egypt), published as two volumes in 1802. The work crowned his reputation both as an archaeologist and as an artist, and sparked the Egyptian Revival in architecture and decorative arts. In 1804 he was appointed by Napoleon to the important office of director-general of museums and head of the new Muse Napoleon (Louvre Museum) after the Egyptian campaign of 1798-1801., which he filled until the Allied occupation of Paris in 1814.
Sphinx at Giza, being measured by French surveyors (drawing by Vivant Denon)


Giovanni Battista Belzoni (5 November 1778 – 3 December 1823), sometimes known as The Great Belzoni, was a prolific Venetian explorer of Egyptian antiquities.

Belzoni was born in Padua. His father was a barber who sired fourteen children. His family was from Rome and when Belzoni was 16 he went to work there, claiming that he 'studied hydraulics'. He intended taking monastic vows, but in 1798 the occupation of the city by French troops drove him from Rome and changed his proposed career. In 1800 he moved to the Netherlands.

In 1803 he fled to England to avoid being sent to jail. There he married an Englishwoman, Sarah Bane (1783-1860). Belzoni was a tall man at 6 ft 7 in (2m1) tall. In England, Belzoni in despair at not find any employment in engineering and mechanics and having taken on a young wife, joined a traveling circus and was billed as “Patagonian Samson.” This career lasted twelve years and included several years spent with the famous Astley's Circus due to the patronage of Henry Salt, the traveller and antiquarian.

Belzoni
On the recommendation of the orientalist, J. L. Burckhardt, he was sent by Henry Salt, the British consul to Egypt, to the Ramesseum at Thebes, from where he removed with great skill the colossal bust of Ramesses II, commonly called "the Young Memnon". Shipped by Belzoni to England, this piece is still on prominent display at the British Museum. He also expanded his investigations to the great temple of Edfu, visited Elephantine and Philae, cleared the great temple at Abu Simbel of sand (1817), made excavations at Karnak, and opened up the sepulchre of Seti I (still sometimes known as "Belzoni's Tomb"). He was the first to penetrate into the second pyramid of Giza, and the first European in modern times to visit the oasis of Bahariya. He also identified the ruins of Berenice on the Red Sea.

the Young Memnon
In 1823 he set out for West Africa, intending to travel to Timbuktu. Having been refused permission to pass through Morocco, he chose the Guinea Coast route. He reached the Kingdom of Benin, but was seized with dysentery at a village called Gwato, and died there. According to the celebrated traveller Richard Francis Burton he was murdered and robbed. In 1829 his widow published his drawings of the royal tombs at Thebes.

Jean-François Champollion (23 December 1790 – 4 March 1832) was a French classical scholar, philologist and orientalist, decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

He was raised in humble circumstances; because his parents could not afford to send him to school, and he was taught to read by his brother Jacques. Jacques, although studious and largely self-educated, did not have Jean-François' genius for language; however, he was talented at earning a living, and supported Jean-François for most of his life.

He lived with his brother in Grenoble for several years, and even as a child showed an extraordinary linguistic talent. By the age of 16 he had mastered a dozen languages and had read a paper before the Grenoble Academy concerning the Coptic language. By 20 he could also speak Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Amharic, Sanskrit, Avestan, Pahlavi, Arabic, Syriac, Chaldean, Persian and Ge'ez in addition to his native French. In 1809, he became assistant-professor of History at Grenoble University. His interest in oriental languages, especially Coptic, led to his being entrusted with the task of deciphering the writing on the then recently-discovered Rosetta Stone, and he spent the years 1822–1824 on this task. Champollion published the first translation of the Rosetta Stone hieroglyphs in 1822, showing that the Egyptian writing system was a combination of phonetic and ideographic signs. His 1824 work Précis du système hiéroglyphique gave birth to the entire field of modern Egyptology. He also identified the importance of the Turin King List, and dated the Dendera zodiac to the Roman period.

The Rosetta Stone

Champollion was appointed Conservator of the Egyptian collections at the Louvre, Paris in 1826. He made his sole visit to Egypt in 1828-29, conducting the first systematic survey of the country's monuments, history and archaeology. On his return, the first chair in Egyptian history and archaeology was created for him at the Collège de France, Paris. Champollion died on 4 March 1832 as a result of a stroke, while preparing the results of his expedition for publication. His Egyptian grammar was published posthumously.

Karl (or Carl) Richard Lepsius (23 December 1810 – 10 July 1884) was a pioneering Prussian Egyptologist and linguist and pioneer of modern archaeology.

Richard Lepsius
In 1836, Lepsius travelled to Tuscany to meet with Ippolito Rosellini, who had led a joint expedition to Egypt with Champollion in 1828–1829. In a series of letters to Rosellini, Lepsius expanded on Champollion's explanation of the use of alphabetic signs in hieroglyphic writing, emphasising (contra Champollion) that vowels were not written.

In 1842 Lepsius was commissioned (at the recommendation of Alexander von Humboldt and Christian Charles Josias Bunsen) by King Frederich Wilhelm IV of Prussia to lead an expedition to Egypt and the Sudan to explore and record the remains of the ancient Egyptian civilization. The Prussian expedition was modeled after the earlier Napoléonic mission, and consisted of surveyors, draftsmen, and other specialists. The mission reached Giza in November 1842 and spent six months making some of the first scientific studies of the pyramids of Giza, Abusir, Saqqara, and Dahshur. They discovered over sixty-seven pyramids and more than 130 tombs of noblemen in the area. While at the Great Pyramid of Giza, Lepsius inscribed a graffito written in Egyptian hieroglyphs that honours Friedrich Wilhelm IV above the pyramid's original entrance; it is still visible.

[The Karnak king list was located in the southwest corner of the Akh-Menu Hall. Composed during the reign of Thutmose III, it lists sixty-one kings beginning with Sneferu from Egypt's Old Kingdom. Only the names of forty-eight kings are still legible, and one is not written in a cartouche.

In 1843, French adventurer Emile Prisse dismantled and stole the blocks containing the king list at night, claiming to act "in the interests of France." He had found out that a German expedition led by egyptologist Karl Richard Lepsius was making its way up the Nile to Karnak.Severely damaged, it is now on display at the Louvre in Paris]

Working south, stopping for extended periods at important Middle Egyptian sites, such as Beni Hasan and Dayr al-Barsha, Lepsius reached as far south as Khartoum, and then traveling up the Blue Nile to the region about Sennar. After exploring various sites in Upper and Lower Nubia, the expedition worked back north, reaching Thebes on 2 November 1844, where they spent four months studying the western bank of the Nile (such as the Ramesseum, Medinet Habu, the Valley of the Kings, etc.) and another three on the east bank at the temples of Karnak and Luxor, attempting to record as much as possible. Afterwards they stopped at Coptos, the Sinai, and sites in the Egyptian Delta, such as Tanis, before returning to Europe in 1846.

Lepsius was president of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome from 1867–1880, and from 1873 until his death in 1884, the head of the Royal Library at Berlin. He was the editor of the Zeitschrift für ägyptisches Sprache und Altertumskunde, a fundamental scientific journal for the new field of Egyptology, which remains in print to this day.

Working south, stopping for extended periods at important Middle Egyptian sites, such as Beni Hasan and Dayr al-Barsha, Lepsius reached as far south as Khartoum, and then traveling up the Blue Nile to the region about Sennar. After exploring various sites in Upper and Lower Nubia, the expedition worked back north, reaching Thebes on 2 November 1844, where they spent four months studying the western bank of the Nile (such as the Ramesseum, Medinet Habu, the Valley of the Kings, etc.) and another three on the east bank at the temples of Karnak and Luxor, attempting to record as much as possible. Afterwards they stopped at Coptos, the Sinai, and sites in the Egyptian Delta, such as Tanis, before returning to Europe in 1846.

Lepsius published widely in the field of Egyptology, and is considered the father of the modern scientific discipline of Egyptology, assuming a role that Champollion might have achieved had he not died so young. Much of his work is fundamental to the field. Indeed, Lepsius even coined the phrase Totenbuch ("Book of the Dead"). He was also a leader in the field of African linguistics, though his ideas are now mainly considered to be outdated.

François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette (February 11, 1821 – January 19, 1881) was a French scholar, archaeologist and Egyptologist, the designer of the rebuilt Egyptian Museum under Maximilian of Austria orders when the later had gained control of the artifacts collected to that point.

Born at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Mariette proved to be a talented draftsman and designer, and he supplemented his salary as a teacher at Douai by giving private lessons and writing on historical and archaeological subjects for local periodicals.

Statue of Egyptologist François Auguste Ferdinand Mariette at Boulogne-sur-Mer
Entrusted with a government mission for the purpose of seeking and purchasing the best Coptic, Syriac, Arabic and Ethiopic manuscripts for the Louvre collection so that it retained its then-supremacy over other national collections, he set out for Egypt in 1850.  In 1851, he made his celebrated discovery of this avenue and eventually the subterranean tomb-temple complex of catacombs with their spectacular sarcophagi of the Apis bulls. Breaking through the rubble at the tomb entrance on November 12, he entered the complex, finding thousands of statues, bronze tablets and other treasures, but only one intact sarcophagus. He also found the virtually intact tomb of Prince Khaemweset, Ramesses II's son.

Accused of theft and destruction by rival diggers and by the Egyptian authorities, Mariette began to rebury his finds in the desert to keep them from these competitors. Instead of manuscripts, official French funds were now advanced for the prosecution of his researches, and he remained in Egypt for four years, excavating, discovering — and despatching archaeological treasures to the Louvre, following the accepted Eurocentric convention. However, the French government and the Louvre set up an arrangement to divide the finds 50:50, so that upon his return to Paris 230 crates went to the Louvre (and he was raised to an assistant conservator), but an equal amount remained in Egypt.

However, unsatisfied with a purely academic role after his discoveries at Saqqara (he said "I knew I would die or go mad if I did not return to Egypt immediately"), after less than a year he returned to Egypt on the insistence of the Egyptian government under Ismail Pasha, who in 1858 created the position of conservator of Egyptian monuments for him.

Moving with his family to Cairo, his career blossomed into a chronicle of unwearying exploration and brilliant successes. He cleared the sands around the Sphinx down to the bare rock, and in the process discovered the famous granite and alabaster monument, the "Temple of the Sphinx".

In 1869, at the request of the Khedive, he wrote a brief plot for an opera. The following year this concept, worked into a scenario by Camille du Locle, was proposed to Giuseppe Verdi, who accepted it as a subject for Aida. For Aida, Mariette and Du Locle oversaw the scenery and costumes, which were inspired by the art of Ancient Egypt. The premiere of Aida was originally scheduled for February 1871, but was delayed until 24 December 1871, due to the siege of Paris at the height of the Franco-Prussian War (which trapped Mariette with the costumes and scenery in Paris). The opera met with great acclaim.

In 1878, his museum was ravaged by floods, which destroyed most of his notes and drawings. By the spring of 1881, prematurely aged and nearly blind, Mariette arranged for the appointment of the Frenchman Gaston Maspero (a linguist rather than an archaeologist, who he had met at the Exposition in 1867), to ensure that France retained its supremacy in Egyptology, rather than an Englishman. At this time, the English comprised the majority of Egyptologists in Egypt. He died in Cairo and was interred in a sarcophagus which is on display in the Garden of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Gaston Camille Charles Maspero
(June 23, 1846 – June 30, 1916) was a French Egyptologist. Gaston Maspero was born in Paris to parents of Lombard origin. While at school he showed a special taste for history, and by the age of fourteen he was already interested in hieroglyphic writing. It was not until his second year at the École Normale in 1867 that Maspero met fellow Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who was in Paris as commissioner for the Egyptian section of the Exposition Universelle. Mariette gave him two newly discovered hieroglyphic texts of considerable difficulty to study, and the young self-taught scholar produced translations of them in less than a fortnight, a great feat in those days when Egyptology was still almost in its infancy. The publication of these texts in the same year established his academic reputation.

Maspero

Aware that his reputation was then more as a linguist than an archaeologist, Maspero's first work in the post was to build on Mariette's achievements at Saqqara. He expanded their scope from the early Old Kingdom to the later, with particular interest in tombs with long and complete hieroglyphic inscriptions that could help illustrate the development of the Egyptian language. Selecting five later Old Kingdom tombs, he was successful in that aim, finding over 4,000 lines of hieroglyphics which were then sketched and photographed.

As an aspect of his attempt to curtail the rampant illegal export of Egyptian antiquities by tourists, collectors and agents for the major European and American museums, Maspero arrested the Abd al-Russul brothers from the notorious treasure-hunting village of Gorna, who confessed under torture to having found the great cache of royal mummies at Deir el-Bahri in July 1881. The cache was moved to Cairo as soon as possible to keep it safe from robbers.

In 1886 he resumed work begun by Mariette to uncover the Sphinx, removing more than 65 feet (20 m) of sand and seeking tombs below it (which he did not find, but have later been found and left unopened). He also introduced admission charges for Egyptian sites to the increasing number of tourists to pay for their upkeep and maintenance.
View of the collapsed columns from the north gate in 1900
figure found at Karnak
Maspero resumed his professorial duties in Paris from June 1886 until 1899, when, at 53, he returned to Egypt in his old capacity as director-general of the department of antiquities. On October 3rd that year an earthquake at Karnak collapsed 11 columns and left the main hall in ruins. Maspero had already made some repairs and clearances there (continued in his absence by unofficial but authorized explorers of many nationalities) in his previous tenure of office, and now he set up a team of workmen under French Egyptologists and regularly visited to oversee its reconstruction work, opposing some Romantics who wished the ruins left as they were. In 1903 an alabaster pavement was found in the court of the 7th Pylon, and beneath it a shaft leading to a large hoard of almost 17,000 statues, with  every part of the dig drawn, recorded and photographed.

Ludwig Borchardt (5 October 1863 – 12 August 1938) was a German Egyptologist who was born in Berlin.His main focus was Ancient Egyptian architecture. He began excavations in Amarna, where he discovered the workshop of the sculptor Djhutmose, amongst its contents was the bust of Nefertiti, (now in the Neues Museum in Berlin). He also directed the excavations in Heliopolis and the tombs of Old Kingdom nobles in Abu Gorab. He died in Paris, on 12 August 1938. Recently, controversy has arisen with the assertion he smuggled the bust of Nefertiti out of Egypt by reporting it as an artifact made of gypsum. It has also been claimed by Swiss art historian Henri Stierlin that the bust is a copy dating from 1912.

William Matthew Flinders Petrie (3 June 1853 – 28 July 1942), commonly known as Flinders Petrie, was an English Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artifacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated at many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt, such as Naukratis, Tanis, Abydos and Amarna. Some consider his most famous discovery to be that of the Merneptah Stele, an opinion with which Petrie himself concurred.

Born in Maryon Road, Charlton, Kent (now part of south-east London), England, the son of William Petrie (1821–1908) and Anne (née Flinders (1812–1892). Anne was the daughter of Captain Matthew Flinders, surveyor of the Australian coastline.

Flinders Petrie was encouraged from childhood in his archaeological interests. At the age of eight he was being tutored in French, Latin, and Greek, until he had a collapse and was taught at home and self-taught.

After surveying British prehistoric monuments in his teenage years (commencing with the late Romano-British 'British Camp' that lay within yards of his family home in Charlton) in attempts to understand their geometry (at 19 tackling Stonehenge), Petrie travelled to Egypt early in 1880 to apply the same principles in a survey of the Great Pyramid at Giza, making him the first to properly investigate how they were constructed. On that visit he was appalled by the rate of destruction of monuments (some listed in guidebooks had been worn away completely since then) and mummies. He described Egypt as "a house on fire, so rapid was the destruction" and felt his duty to be that of a "salvage man, to get all I could, as quickly as possible and then, when I was 60, I would sit and write it all down".

Having returned to England at the end of 1880, Petrie wrote a number of articles and then met Amelia Edwards, journalist and patron of the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the Egypt Exploration Society), who became his strong supporter and later appointed him as Professor at her Egyptology chair at University College London. Impressed by his scientific approach, they offered him work as the successor to Édouard Naville. Petrie accepted the position and was given the sum of £250 per month to cover the excavation’s expenses. In November 1884, Petrie arrived in Egypt to begin his excavations.

Petrie
He then went straight to the burial site at Fayum, particularly interested in post-30 BC burials, which had not previously been fully studied. He found intact tombs and 60 of the famous portraits, and discovered from inscriptions on the mummies that they were kept with their living families for generations before burial. Under Auguste Mariette's arrangements, he sent 50% of these portraits to the Egyptian department of antiquities. However, later finding that Gaston Maspero placed little value on them and left them open to the elements in a yard behind the museum to deteriorate, he angrily demanded that they all be returned, forcing Maspero to pick the 12 best examples for the museum to keep and then returning 48 to Petrie, which he sent to London for a special showing at the British Museum.

In 1890, Petrie made the first of his many forays into Palestine, leading to much important archaeological work. His six-week excavation of Tell el-Hesi (which was mistakenly identified as Lachish) that year represents the first scientific excavation of an archaeological site in the Holy Land.

Next, from 1891, he worked on the temple of Aten at Tell-el-Amarna, discovering a 300-square-foot (28 m2) New Kingdom painted pavement of garden and animals and hunting scenes. This became a tourist attraction but, as there was no direct access to the site, tourists wrecked neighbouring fields on their way to it. This made local farmers deface the paintings, and it is only thanks to Petrie's copies that their original appearance is known.

painted pavement of garden at Tell-el-Amarna

The chair of Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology at University College, London was set up and funded in 1892 by Amelia Edwards. Petrie's supporter since 1880, she made him its first holder. He continued to excavate in Egypt after taking up the professorship, training many of the best archaeologists of the day. In 1913 Petrie sold his large collection of Egyptian antiquities to University College, London, where it is now housed in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology (The museum contains over 80,000 objects and ranks among some of the world's leading collections of Egyptian and Sudanese material. It ranks behind only the collections of the Cairo Museum, The British Museum and the Ägyptisches Museum, Berlin in number of items).

In early 1896, Petrie and his archaeological team were conducting excavations on a temple in Petrie's area of concession at Luxor. This temple complex was located just north of the original funerary temple of Amenhotep III which had been built on a flood plain. Two splendid stelae were found, both of them usurped on the reverse side by Merenptah, who had turned them face to the wall (a temple had been built by Merenptah, the son and successor of Ramesses II, almost entirely from stone which had been plundered from the temple of Amenophis III nearby) In one of the It was the first mention of the word "Israel" in any Egyptian text and the news made headlines when it reached the English papers.'

Petrie offered important collections of artefacts to the University of Strasbourg. In 1897, the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität Straßburg gratefully conferred to Petrie the title of doctor honoris causa.  1923 saw Petrie knighted for services to British archaeology and Egyptology. In 1926, the focus of Petrie’s work shifted permanently to Palestine (though he did become interested in early Egypt, in 1928 digging a cemetery at Luxor which proved so huge that he devised an entirely new excavation system, including comparison charts for finds which are still used today)

By linking styles of pottery with periods, he was the first to use seriation in Egyptology, a new method for establishing the chronology of a site. Flinders Petrie was also responsible for mentoring and training a whole generation of Egyptologists, including Howard Carter.

Upon his death in Jerusalem in 1942, influenced by his interest in science, races and different civilisations, Petrie donated his head to the Royal College of Surgeons of London, so that it could be studied for its high intellectual capacity. Petrie, who was also affiliated with a variety of far right-wing groups and anti-democratic thought in England and was a dedicated believer in the superiority of the Northern peoples over the Latinate and Southern peoples (Silberman, 1999), derided Budge's belief that the ancient Egyptians were an African people with roots in eastern Africa as impossible and "unscientific", as did his followers.

Howard Carter (9 May 1874 – 2 March 1939) was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist, noted as a primary discoverer of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

In 1891, at the age of 17, Carter, a talented young artist, was sent out to Egypt by the Egypt Exploration Fund to assist Percy Newberry in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan. Even at that young age he was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration. In 1892 he worked under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie for one season at Amarna, the capital founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten.

In 1899, Carter was appointed the first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service (EAS). He supervised a number of excavations at Thebes (now known as Luxor) before he was transferred in 1904 to the Inspectorate of Lower Egypt. Carter resigned from the Antiquities Service in 1904 as a result of an affray between Egyptian site guards and a group of French tourists, in which he sided with the Egyptian personnel.

After three hard years, Carter was employed by Lord Carnarvon to supervise his excavations from 1907. The intention of Gaston Maspero, who introduced the two, was to ensure that Carter imposed modern archaeological methods and systems of recording.

Carnarvon financed Carter's work in the Valley of the Kings from 1914, but it was interrupted by World War I until 1917, when serious work was resumed. After several years of fruitless searching, Carnarvon became dissatisfied with the lack of results and, in 1922, he gave Carter one more season of funding to find the tomb he was searching for. On 4 November 1922, Carter's water carrier found the steps leading to Tutankhamun's tomb (subsequently designated KV62), by far the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb was underneath the remains of workmen's huts built during the Ramesside Period (The creation of Ramesses VI's tomb, however, protected Tutankhamon's own intact tomb from grave robbers since debris from its formation was dumped over the tomb entrance to the boy king's tomb); this explains why it was spared from the worst of the tomb depredations of that time. He wired Carnarvon to come, and on 26 November 1922, with Carnarvon, Carnarvon's daughter, and others in attendance, Carter made the famous "tiny breach in the top left hand corner" of the doorway, and was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He made the breach into the tomb with a chisel his grandmother had given him for his seventeenth birthday. She knew he would one day make an amazing archaeological discovery. He did not yet know at that point whether it was "a tomb or merely a cache", but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked "can you see anything?", Carter replied: "Yes, wonderful things."

The next several months were spent cataloging the contents of the antechamber under the 'often stressful' oversight of Pierre Lacau, director general of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt. On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway, and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber, and he got his first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. All of these discoveries were eagerly covered by the world's press, but most of their representatives were kept in their hotels; only H. V. Morton was allowed on the scene, and his vivid descriptions helped to cement Carter's reputation with the British public.

The tomb was densely packed with items in great disarray. Carter was able to photograph garlands of flowers, which disintegrated when touched. Due to the state of the tomb, and to Carter's meticulous recording technique, the tomb took nearly a decade to empty, the contents all being transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Tutankhamun's tomb had been entered at least twice, not long after he was buried and well before Carter's discovery. The outermost doors of the shrines enclosing the king's nested coffins were left opened, and unsealed. It is estimated that 60% of the jewellery which had been stored in the "Treasury" was removed as well. After one of these ancient robberies, embalming materials from KV62 are believed to have been buried at KV54: it is thought that after the first robbery attempt of the tomb, the embalming cache material was moved to the pit that was KV54, and the corridor filled with rocky debris in order to stop any future robbery attempts.The food and other related items likely came from a funerary banquet held at the pharaoh's interment. He estimated that there had been a total of eight official mourners who had attended the burial.

In design, the tomb appears to have originally been intended for a private individual, not for royalty. There is some evidence to suggest that the tomb was adapted for a royal occupant during its excavation.


The clearance of the tomb with its thousands of objects continued until 1932. Following his sensational discovery Howard Carter retired from archaeology and became a part-time agent for collectors and museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts. He visited the United States in 1924, and gave a series of illustrated lectures in New York City and other cities in the United States which were attended by very large and enthusiastic audiences, sparking Egyptomania in America.

Hometric view of the corridor and four chambers of Tutankhamun's tomb with its contents.
On 5 April 1923, Carnarvon died in the Continental-Savoy Hotel in Cairo, in the Kingdom of Egypt. This led to the story of the "Curse of Tutankhamun", the "Mummy's Curse". His death is most probably explained by blood poisoning (progressing to pneumonia) after accidentally shaving a mosquito bite infected with erysipelas. His colleague and employee, Howard Carter, the man most responsible for revealing the tomb of the young king, lived safely for another sixteen years.

Carter died of lymphoma, a type of cancer, in Kensington, London, on 2 March 1939 at the age of 64.

Ernesto Schiaparelli (July 12, 1856– 1928) was an Italian Egyptologist, born in Occhieppo Inferiore (Biella), who found Queen Nefertari's tomb in Deir el-Medina in the Valley of the Queens (1904) and excavated the TT8 tomb of the royal architect Kha (1906), found intact and displayed in toto in Turin. He was appointed director of the Egyptian Museum in Florence, where he professionally reorganized the collection in new quarters in 1880, then at the peak of his career was made director of the Museo Egizio di Torino (It houses the second world's largest collections of Egyptian antiquities after Cairo), which became with him and his many seasons of excavating, the second biggest Egyptian museum in the world.

The pyramid-chapel of Kha and his wife Merit had already been well known for many years; indeed, scenes from it had already been copied by several Egyptologists including John Gardiner Wilkinson and Karl Lepsius in the 19th century. The items found in the tomb show that Kha and Merit were quite wealthy during their lifetime. Unlike the more chaotic burial of Tutankhamun, Kha's burial had been carefully planned out, the more important items had been covered by dust sheets, and the floor had been swept when the last person had left.The coffins of Kha and Merit had been buried in two nested coffins; Kha's mummy had been tightly wrapped with several items of jewelry included within the wrappings.

Statue of Kha


Pierre Montet (June 27, 1885, Villefranche-sur-Saône, Rhône – June 19, 1966) was a respected French Egyptologist.

He excavated at Byblos (modern Jbail) in Lebanon between 1921 and 1924, excavating tombs of rulers from Middle Kingdom times. Between 1929 and 1939, he excavated at Tanis, Egypt, finding the royal necropolis of the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Dynasties — the finds there almost equalled that of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

In the 1939-1940 Egypt excavation season, he discovered the completely intact tombs of 3 Egyptian pharaohs at Tanis: Psusennes I, Amenemope, and Shoshenq II along with the partially plundered tomb of Takelot I in Lower Egypt at Tanis.

During his academic career, he served as Professor of Egyptology at the University of Strasbourg from 1919 to 1948 and then at the Collège de France, Paris between 1948 and 1956. He died in Paris on June 19, 1966.

Montet believed that his excavations at Tanis had uncovered Pi-Ramesses. After his death, Austrian Egyptologist Manfred Bietak discovered that although Montet had discovered Pi-Ramesses stonework at Tanis, the true location of the ancient city lay some 30 km to the south. Montet can be credited, however, as the discoverer of the "transplanted" city of Pi-Ramesses.

Richard H. Wilkinson (born 1951) is an archaeologist in the field of Egyptology. He is Regents Professor of Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Arizona and Director of the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition. He has conducted research and excavation in Egypt for more than 20 years, mainly in the Valley of the Kings, and is currently excavating the memorial temple of Queen Twosret, a queen of the 19th dynasty who ruled Egypt as a king.



Richard H. Wilkinson
Wilkinson has held a number of professional offices, he is the editor of the Directory of North American Egyptologists and also editor of the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections, an online publication concerning the interactions of ancient Egypt with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. He is the author of many scholarly articles and books on Egyptology and his books have been translated into many languages. He is best known for his studies of Egyptian symbolism and his work in Egyptian archaeology.