Thursday, April 05, 2012

Book Review: Tutankhamen’s Curse

The Lancet PDF (Andrew Robinson)

The opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt in 1922 by Howard Carter and his patron Lord Carnarvon is the most famous archaeological discovery of all time, with the possible exception of the excavation of Pompeii in the 18th century. On the 50th anniversary, in 1972, this discovery provided Britain’s fi rst “blockbuster” exhibition at the British Museum—visited by many of us as schoolchildren, including Joyce Tyldesley, author of Tutankhamen’s Curse. Although the queue that day was so long that she had to leave with only posters and postcards, the event nevertheless kindled her interest in Egyptology. Her fixation with ancient Egypt—she is a senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester—“may well be”, she writes, “my own, personal version of Tutankhamen’s curse”.

So much has been written on Tutankhamen that one might be excused for doubting the need for another book. But one would be wrong, given the developing scientifi c study of the objects from the tomb, including investigation of Tutankhamen’s mummy with x-rays, CT scans, and DNA analysis, alongside the increasing knowledge of the young pharaoh’s historical context generated by continuing excavations in such sites
as the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, and Amarna.

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