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THE TOMB OF TUT-ANKH-AMEN (2009) by Howard Carter. 3 Volumes (Full Leather Facsimile Collector's Edition)

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THE TOMB OF TUT-ANKH-AMEN (2009) by Howard Carter. 3 Volumes (Full Leather Facsimile Collector's Edition)

425.00

CARTER, Howard, and A. C. Mace

The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen (Tutankhamen) Discovered by the Late Earl of Carnarvon and Howard Carter (3 Volumes in full leather)

Norwalk, CT: The Easton Press (Collector's Edition), 2009. Facsimile of the original editions (1923-1927). 3 Volumes. Hardcover. Tall octavo. All volumes beautifully bound in full light brown calf with gilt scarab design (on black background) and gilt titles to front. Spines with 4 raised bands and gilt titles. All edges gilt. Silk patterned endpapers. Unused Easton Press bookplates laid in to each volume. Page marker ribbon to each volume. xxiii + 231, xxxiv + 277, xvi + 248 pp. Volume 1: 104 illustrations; volume 2: 153 illustrations; volume 3: 156 illustrations, all from photographs by Harry Burton (of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). An extremely heavy set of books.

Very slight evidence of handling. A fine unread set. 

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This is Carter's first hand account of the events leading up to, and full details of, the discovery of Tutankhamen's undisturbed tomb (KV62) in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. The tomb was discovered by Carter in 1922, underneath the remains of workmen's huts built during the Ramesside Period which helps to explain why it was largely spared from desecration and from the tomb clearances at the end of the 20th Dynasty, although the tomb was robbed and resealed twice in the period after its completion. The tomb was densely packed with items in great disarray, partly due to its small size, the two robberies, and the apparently hurried nature of its completion. Due to the state of the tomb, and to Carter's meticulous recording technique, the tomb took eight years to empty, the contents all being transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The outermost doors of the shrines enclosing the king's nested coffins were unsealed, though the inner two shrines (three and four) remained intact and sealed.

In 1907, just before his discovery of the tomb of Horembeb, Theodore M. Davis's team uncovered a small site containing funerary artifacts with Tutankhamen's name and some embalming parts. Erroneously assuming that this site, numbered finally as KV54, was Tutankhamen's complete tomb, Davis concluded the dig. The details of both findings are documented in Davis's 1912 publication, The Tombs of Harmhabi and Touatankhamanou; the book closes with the comment, "I fear that the Valley of the Kings is now exhausted." But Davis was to be proven spectacularly wrong. Carter (employed by Lord Carnavron) hired a crew to help him excavate at the site of KV62. Carter went back to a line of huts that he had abandoned a few seasons earlier. After the crew cleared the huts and rock debris beneath, their young water boy accidentally stumbled on a stone that turned out to be the top of a flight of steps cut into the bedrock. Carter had the steps partially dug out until the top of a mud-plastered doorway was found. The doorway was stamped with indistinct cartouches (oval seals with hieroglyphic writing). Carter ordered the staircase to be refilled, and sent a telegram to Carnarvon, who arrived two-and-a-half weeks later on 23 November along with his 21-year-old daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert. The excavators cleared the stairway completely, which allowed clearer seals lower down on the door to be read, seals bearing the name of Tutankhamen. However, further examination showed that the door blocking had been breached and resealed on at least two occasions. Clearing the blocking led to a downward corridor that was completely blocked with packed limestone chippings, through which a robbers' tunnel had been excavated and anciently refilled. At the end of the tunnel was a second sealed door that had been breached and re-sealed in antiquity. Carter then made a hole in the door and used a candle to check for foul gases, before looking inside. After a pause, Carnarvon asked Carter, "Can you see anything?" Carter famously replied, "Yes, wonderful things!" He later wrote: "At first I could see nothing ... the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold - everywhere the glint of gold."