The tragic death of Lord Carnarvon from pneumonia at Cairo, news of which has just been made public, is an unfortunate event that will be deeply deplored by everyone interested in Egyptian history and antiquity.
Mr.Fisher, Leader of the Museum’s Expedition to Egypt, was one of those present at the opening of the Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen. His first impressions as recorded in a letter to the Museum were as follows.
“28 November, Tuesday. In late afternoon Lord Carnarvon came to invite me to the opening of a new tomb they have found in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings. He says it is one of the most magnificent yet found and full of beautiful stuff. Lunch is to be served in the Valley near the Tomb.
“29 November, Wednesday. Went to the Tombs of the Kings, where luncheon was served to a party of about thirty, including local officials. After luncheon two by two Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Carter took us into the new tomb. Only the outer chamber is fully open, but a small door leads to another chamber also filled with things. One end of the other room is plastered over and sealed with the seals of Rameses XI. No one can say what this chamber contains. The outer room is packed with royal furniture of Tuten-khamon (ca. 1353 B. c.). A few boxes were moved to one side to permit a space for the visitors to stand and a special electric light was installed to illuminate them. Along the inner wall were three large beds each about eight feet long and four wide. The legs were carved and ended in large heads of animals at the top, Hathor cow, etc. These beds are gilded and covered with color inlay decoration. At the end in opposite corners were two nearly life size figures of the king in ebony with solid gold sandals, head ornaments and bracelets. A small box beautifully decorated with hunting scenes in color contained some costumes of the king, fine linen sewn with jewels and golden ornaments. Sandals of bead work. On one bed was a pile of walking sticks and staves with carved heads and gold decoration. Four large alabaster vases with cut open work handles with lily pattern. Under another bed was the throne; this was of ebony carved and inlaid in colored faience and gold, the greatest piece certainly ever found anywhere. Three full size chariots, also inlaid and gilded and a host of other things too numerous to describe. In fact until the contents are removed piece by piece and catalogued no one can tell just what the chamber contains. Through the door into the inner room I glimpsed several harps, another bed and other furniture.”
This letter was written from the Camp of the Museum’s Expedition at Thebes where the concession granted the Museum in 1921 is adjacent to that of Lord Carnarvon. During his two seasons’ digging on this ground, Mr. Fisher has found a group of tombs hewn in the cliffs. These were tombs of high officials buried near the kings. All when uncovered were open and looted. The objects found in them were such as robbers would leave behind: inscribed stelæ, canopic jars, statuettes and papyri. Two sealed cylinders containing rolls of Demotic papyri provided the principal find yet made on our Theban concession and is the largest deposit of Demotic papyri ever found.
Our excavations have been continued also at Memphis, the old capital that antedated Thebes, where architectural details continue to come to light at a great depth. The lowest level reached corresponds to the building operations of the 12th Dynasty and other building levels are disclosed at still lower levels.