Howard Carter, the 20th century Indiana Jones, discovers tomb, finds ancient pharaoh

Peyton Powell
Staff Writer

Howard Carter, the 20th Century Indiana Jones. No, not like the fedora wearing, whip carrying crusader who went on epic adventures, but an archeologist who made one of the greatest discoveries of his time. His great discovery was finding the tomb of King Tutankhamen, and on this exact day, February 16, 1922, he opened King Tut’s burial tomb.

King Tut
After extensive searching, King Tut’s tomb was finally discovered by Howard Carter (Photo courtesy of Flickr).

In the year 1907, Lord Carnarvon commissioned Howard Carter to supervise excavations in the Valley of the Kings, where he was searching for the tomb of King Tut. Carter was financed up until the year 1914, but due to WWI his studies and excavations were interrupted. Lord Carnarvon was not satisfied with the little that was found by Carter and his team. Then, in 1922, he told them that they had one more fully funded season to find the tomb.

After many years of searching, on November 4, 1922, Carter’s excavation group found steps that they hoped led to King Tut’s tomb. Upon finding these steps, he sent for Lord Carnarvon to come to Egypt to and see for himself. On November 26, with Lord Carnarvon and his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert in attendance, Howard Carter made a “tiny breach in the top left hand corner” of the door and peered in. After looking inside, Howard Carter uttered his famous words, “Yes, wonderful things,” to Lord Carnarvon after being asked what exactly he saw. When Carter considered the tiny opening, he saw with a little candlelight that the room was filled with many gold and ebony treasures that looked untouched and a doorway between two statues.

It wasn’t until this exact day 94 years ago, after many months of cataloging the chamber’s content, Howard Carter opened the doorway to what he thought was a burial chamber. Carter then got a shock when he saw the sarcophagus of King Tut and realized that it was, in fact, the tomb of the 18th century Dynasty Pharaoh. Per Carter’s notes, himself, Lord Carnarvon, and Lady Evelyn were the first people inside the burial chamber. Press from all around the world was covering the newly discovered tomb, but only one man, named H. V. Morton, was allowed on the excavation site. Through his coverage, Howard Carter’s reputation skyrocketed, and he was forever known for his discovery.