Friday, June 04, 2010

Exhibition: More re Tutankhamun's Funeral

The year is 1908.

Barely 110 meters away from the young pharaoh Tutankhamun’s yet-unopened tomb lies a small cache of jugs, linens, bowls, shrouds and floral collars.

In amongst all the strewn objects stands a wealthy American man of about 60, an amateur archaeologist, hoping, like everyone else at the time, to find the next unopened tomb in the Valley of the Kings. This group of objects was not it.

The American was Theodore Davis, who had been conducting excavations at that time for 6 years. If only Davis knew how close he was to the treasures of a forgotten pharaoh – how history would have changed!

As it was, the cache Davis discovered contained many of the items used at Tutankhamun’s funeral, giving archaeologists a critical insight into the ancient Egyptian rite of mummification. Davis however, unable to comprehend the importance of his work, was unimpressed, disappointed even, with his findings, and offered them, with the Egyptian Antiquities Authority’s permission, to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met acquired some 40-odd artifacts from the cache, and this is what is currently on display.

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