Monday, January 17, 2011

Lord Carnarvon's collection

Asharq Alawsat (Zahi Hawass)

It is sometimes best to start at the end of a Hawass article to get to the point, and this is very much the case in this piece. It begins as an apparently straight forward account of Lord Carnarvon's role in the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, but ends with the remark that Egypt is now taking on the Carnarvon family to acquire items removed from Egypt by Carnarvon some of which are now kept at the Carnarvon family home at Highclere Castle. Hawass beleives that the Carnarvon family will be unable to prove that the items under dispute were taken legally. Hawass does not make it clear whether his organization will also be chasing the items on loan at Newbury Museum and the British Museum in the UK and sold to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Carnarvon, the man who financed the Tutankhamen tomb excavation. Lord Carnarvon travelled to Egypt for the first time in 1898, following Victor Loret’s discovery of a second crypt to the tomb of King Amenhotep II, in the Valley of the Kings, which was known as tomb KV35. The side chamber was found hidden behind one of the tomb's walls, and this discovery was both a unique and significant event. The fact that 13 mummies were discovered in this tomb, the majority of whom were royalty, is a clear indication that there are a lot of puzzles and secrets surrounding the Pharaohs which archaeologists are determined to solve.

Lord Carnarvon began to spend much of the winter in Egypt since 1906, after physicians advised him to avoid humid weather and live in a dry climate. Egypt was therefore ideal for him, and during his stay he managed to obtain a permit to search for, and excavate, Egyptian antiquities. During the 16 years he spent in Egypt, the majority of the excavations financed by Lord Carnarvon were based in Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and the Tombs of the Nobles. Lord Carnarvon was known for holding on to the pieces he discovered, as well as purchasing antiquities on the market.


AliceG said...

He's at it again. "He wants.. He wants.." Like a very spoiled little boy. We used to spank little boys who always had the wants.

William Cross FSA Scot said...

A fresh appraisal of when George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, actually first visited Egypt and the very much later circumstances that prompted him into turning his attention to first digging in the Valley of the Kings, is made in my biography of the Earl's widow, Almina, the 5th Countess. The book, "The Life and Secrets of
Almina Carnarvon" is availble from me in the UK.

William Cross, FSA Scot