May 9, 1874: Howard Carter is born.
Eight years before Egypt came under British control, the future discoverer of the tomb of King Tut was born in London. Howard Carter first traveled to Egypt in 1891, still a young man - but he came not as a student of archaeology, but as an artist. He worked under archaeologists at sites across Egypt, from Thebes to Beni Hasan to Abu Simbel. In 1907, he was hired by one Lord Carnarvon to lead and supervise excavations pf Egyptian nobles’ tombs. It was per the financial backing of this Lord Carnarvon that Carter was able to begin an excavation in the Valley of the Kings, and it was here that years of fruitless searching paid off when he finally discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun.
The tomb was remarkably intact and full of ”wonderful things”, as Carter described them: the boy-king’s sarcophagus, naturally, but also thrones and other pieces of furniture, jewelry, pottery, weapons, sculptures and statues, and hundreds of other items that Carter and his associates meticulously cataloged and photographed. Excavation of the site lasted a full decade, but the work paid off. Not only was the field of Egyptology revitalized, but both the tomb and its discoverer earned places in history - the former as the greatest archaeological find of modern times, and the latter as the man who made it.