Nicholas Reeve Lecture: 90th Anniversary of the Discovery of King Tut’s Tomb at the Carlos Museum

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Dr. Nicholas Reeves shared that being an Egyptologist is like being thrown into a room with a shopping list and telephone book, then being told go and make a story out of this.  Reeves also acknowledged that if you get ten different Egyptologist together you are likely to get eleven different stories.

Before a packed audience at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the campus of Emory University, Dr. Nicholas Reeves, Lila Acheson Wallace Associate curator of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, spoke on the 90th anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Reeves talk was a bit unusual; he focused on his hypothesis of the condition of this burial site and on some of the history centered on the most famous artifact: the death gold mask of the young King Tut.

The gold mask is probably the most recognized and well known Egyptian artifact.  It resides in a museum in Cairo, Egypt. The approximate value of the gold itself is half a million dollars and is compromised of eight separate features. The blue around the eyes is a blue lapis lazuli stone with glass in the headdress.  There also seems to be two different alloys of gold that comprise the metal.

There is some damage in the back, with two small punctures, probably made in the funeral feeder ceremony. There is also a :bent in” area near the shoulder; Reeves hypothesis was that the coffin may have been lifted up and dropped.

The ears in the mask have an indention and when the coffin was opened, gold fold was found, assumed to plug the ear piercing.

Reeves contended that this mask was not made for King Tut, but was modified after his unexpected death.  His hypothesis is that the inlay face mask was inserted.  One of the rituals of the pharaohs was to have a good funeral for your predecessor to ensure success in your own reign.

He felt this mask was made for Nefertitti and that other items in King Tut’s tomb were borrowed as well. This was common practice, and there were even objects removed and replaced because it was thought to have some power associated with them.

Reeves acknowledged that there is much more to understand from the objects and history of King Tut’s tomb, and that there are still other tombs to be discovered and explored.

For upcoming events at the Michael C. Carlos Museum visit: www.carlos.emory.edu/connect or www.Carlos.emory.edu

 

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