Does the Curse of Tutenkhamun’s Tomb Exist?

Howard Carter a young archaeologist in the late nineteenth century was convinced that the remains of the Boy King, pharaoh Tutenkhamun were hidden without any disturbance somewhere in Egypt. Carter arrived in Egypt in 1891 and got funding for his research from a wealthy person named Lord Carnavron in 1917. But for the initial five years he got little success, and Carnavron gave one last season to Carter to complete his find. Then on November 4, 1922 Carter and his team found steps cut from the rock floor in the Valley of Kings. As they continued to dig they removed the covering and went down the steps tp find a door inscribed “Tutenkhamun”. Carter stopped all excavations until Lord Carnavron reached the site. He sent a telegram to Carnavron immediately and he rushed to Egypt from Britain in quick time. Carnavron and Carter entered the tomb together.

Inside Tutenkhamun's Tomb

On entering the tomb they found a fake room, a storage room and then the burial chamber. Though the tombs of many other pharaohs had been dug up and plundered, but Tutenkhamun’s tomb lay undisturbed since his death. When carter entered with a candlelight he found vast treasures in the tomb. His team catalogued all the items found in the tomb, but the most impressive item was the sarcophagus of the king. The sarcophagus had three interlocking coffins and the last one depicted the earthly form of Tutenkhamun with beautiful gold metalwork. Inside the coffin lay the body of Boy King. Carter and his team felt winners with their find. But the locals claimed that the team had committed a wrong which they would have to pay for as the tomb was cursed. Some even felt that Carter had removed a sign above the tomb door that read “Death shall come on swift wings to him that toucheth the tomb of the Pharaoh”.

Carter inspects the Body of Tutenkhamun

Soon there were unnatural occurrences reported. In the spring of 1923 Lord Carnavron was bitten on the neck by a mosquito and he accidentally cut the bite spot while shaving. The wound became infected and Carnavron suffered from high fever and chills. He died shortly afterwards in Cairo hospital. When he passed away the lights in the hospital went out and his pet dog in England howled and dropped dead at the instance of his death. When the mummy of the Boy King was unwrapped remarkably it also had a similar bite mark on its cheeks in exactly the same place as Lord Carnavron. In the next few years two of Carnavron’s relatives, Carter’s secretary and some other people connected with the discovery died in strange circumstances. The British media attributed each of these deaths to the curse of Tutenkhamun’s tomb. Historians believe there were poisons placed within the tombs to punish the grave robbers.

Lord Carnavron and Howard Carter at the entry of the tomb

Some scientists feel that the tradition of placing food inside the tomb to help the dead body in its spiritual journey helps in breeding microscopic spores that enter into the lungs of the explorers. This volatile fungus of over 3000 years causes high fever and terrible fatigue. Lord Carnavron was not in the best of his health when he entered the tomb and he is bound to have fatigue after a long journey. But such a theory cannot be entertained as only six out of the 26 people entering the tomb died in the following ten years. When the sarcophagus was opened there were 22 people out of which six died within a decade but nobody involved with unwrapping the body were harmed. Carter who was at the forefront of all events died of natural causes at the age of 66.

Carter and his team peeping into the tomb

But the story about lights failing in the Cairo hospital when Carnavron died and his pet dog howling are true. Another rumor was that Carnavron had gifted Carter with a pet canary as token of appreciation. On the day of discovering the tomb that canary was eaten by a cobra, which was symbolic of the pharaohs. However there is no truth to this story as the canary was healthy and alive and Carter passed it on to a bank manager later on.

Even after intensive research it cannot be claimed with certainty whether there is any curse on the Tutenkhamun’s tomb or not.

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