THE announcement made early in December, 1922, of the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings in Western Thebes by the late Lord Carnarvon and Mr. Howard Carter sent a thrill of wonder and expectation through all the civilized peoples on the earth. In the accounts of the contents of the Tomb, which were published with admirable promptness and fullness in The Times, we read of bodies of chariots, chairs of state, gilded couches, royal apparel, boxes of trinkets and food and cosmetics and toilet requisites, large bitumenized wooden statues, alabaster vessels of hitherto unknown shapes and beauty, and countless other objects, until the mind reeled in its attempts to imagine the sight that met the eyes of the two discoverers when they entered the two outer chambers. Those who have seen the smaller objects and have enjoyed the privilege of examining them have been amazed at their exquisite beauty and finish; and there is no doubt that the importance of the "find," from an artistic point of view, can be expressed in words only with difficulty. It is easy to believe Sarwat Pasha when he says none of the accounts published have really done justice to the "finds," which, however, is not surprising, since their beauty is unique and indescribable (Times, Jan. 18, 1923, P. 9).
All the writers who have described and discussed the discovery have, quite rightly, lost no opportunity of proclaiming the great value and importance of Lord Carnarvon's "find" as illustrating the arts and crafts that were practised in the city of Aakhut-Aten under its founder, the famous Atenite king, Amenhetep IV. But some of them have been led astray by their eagerness to do ample justice to the great discovery, and have introduced into their eulogies statements of a historical character which are incorrect. Some have declared that the information derived from the "find" makes necessary the rewriting and recasting of the history of the XVIIIth dynasty, but there is no foundation for this statement, for the authorized accounts of the Tomb of Tutankhamen and its contents include no new historical facts. Lord Carnarvon may have obtained from the tomb information that would amplify our knowledge of the reign of Tutankhamen, but if he did so he did not publish it. As matters stand we know no more now about the reign of this king than we did before Lord Carnarvon made his phenomenal discovery. Other writers have tried to make out that Tutankhamen was one of the greatest of the kings of Egypt, but this is not the case. When he came to the throne he professed the same religion as his wife, that is to say, the cult of Aten, the Solar Disk, or Atenism, and for a short time he continued to do so. But he soon realized that Atenism had failed, and then he substituted the name of Amen for Aten in his own name and that of his wife, and became a fervent
follower of Amen and a worshipper of the old gods of his country. The fame of Tutankhamen really rests on the fact that he restored the national worship of Amen, and made the Atenites to relinquish their hold upon the revenues of this god. Other writers again have tried to show that Tutankhamen was the "Pharaoh of the Exodus," and also that it was his wife Ankh-s-en-pa-Aten (or Amen) who took Moses out of his ark of bulrushes and brought him up. But there was more than one Exodus, and Tutankhamen was not King of Egypt when any of them took place. And strange views have been promulgated even about some of the articles of furniture that Lord Carnarvon found in the tomb. Thus the funerary couch or bier with legs made in the form of a strange beast has been declared to be of Mesopotamian origin; but such is not the case. The beast represented is the composite monster called "Ammit," i.e. "Eater of the Dead," and she is found in the Judgment Scene in all the great papyri containing the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. About her component parts there is no doubt, for in the Papyrus of Hunefer it is written, "Her fore-part is crocodile, her hindquarters are hippopotamus, her middle part lion (or cat)". The Mesopotamians knew of no such beast, and the couch or bier could only have been made in
[paragraph continues] Egypt, where the existence of Ammit was believed in and the fear of her was great.
Some of the writers on Lord Carnarvon's discoveries discussed not only the Tomb of Tutankhamen, but the religious revolution which seems to have been inaugurated by Amenhetep III, at the instance of his wife Queen Ti, and was certainly carried on with increasing vigour by their son, Amenhetep IV, who believed that he was an incarnation of Aten, the god of the Solar Disk. Their discussions gave many people an entirely false idea of the character of Amenhetep IV, and of the nature of the cult of Aten. This king was described as a reformer, an individualist, and an idealist and a pacifist; but he was a reformer who initiated no permanent reform, an individualist who diverted the revenues of the gods of his country to his own uses, an idealist who followed the cult of the material, and a pacifist who lost Egypt's Asiatic Empire. His "Teaching" proclaimed the "oneness" of Aten, which has been compared to the monotheism of Christian nations; but for centuries before his time the priesthoods of Heliopolis, Memphis, Hermopolis and Thebes had proclaimed this self-same oneness to be the chief attribute of their gods. This "Teaching" was said to inculcate a religion and morality superior to any doctrine found in the Old Testament, and some enthusiasts would have us believe that in spiritual conceptions and sublime precepts it surpassed Christ's teaching as set forth in the Gospels. Practically all that we know of the
[paragraph continues] "Teaching" of Amenhetep IV is found in a short hymn, which is attributed to the king himself, and in a longer hymn, which is found in the Tomb of Ai, his disciple and successor, at Tall al-'Amarnah. The language and phrasing of these works are very interesting, for they show a just appreciation of the benefits that man and beast alike derive from the creative and fructifying influence of the heat and light of the sun. But I cannot find in them a single expression that contains any spiritual teaching, or any exhortation to purity of life, or any word of consciousness of sin, or any evidence of belief in a resurrection and a life beyond the grave. It is of course possible that all the religious works of the Atenites, except these hymns, have perished, but the fact remains that it is upon these two hymns, and the extracts from them which are found in the tombs of officials at Tall al-'Amarnah, that modem writers have founded their views and statements about the highly spiritual character of the religion and morality of the Atenites.
Whilst discussing these and similar matters here with Lord Carnarvon about the middle of last December, he suggested that I should put together, in a small book, the known facts about the reign of Tutankhamen, and add two or three chapters on the cults of Amen, Aten, and Egyptian Monotheism, which had been so completely misrepresented. He was particularly anxious that translations of some of the hymns to Amen and Aten should be given, and that the most important of them should be
accompanied by the original hieroglyphic texts, so that those who cared to go into the matter might have the means of forming their own conclusions about the character of the hymns to Aten, and deciding whether it was spiritual or material. In the following pages I have tried to carry out his suggestion, and in the circumstances perhaps it will not be out of place to say a few words about his labours in the field of Egyptian Archaeology.
In the winter of 1907-08, Lord Carnarvon carried out a series of comprehensive excavations at Drah abu'l Nakkah and in the Valley of Der al-Bahari in Western Thebes. In these, as in all his subsequent excavations, he was assisted by Mr. Howard Carter, formerly Inspector in the Service of Antiquities of Egypt. This gentleman possessed very special qualifications for the work that he undertook for Lord Carnarvon, namely, a good .knowledge of colloquial Arabic, great experience in dealing with the natives and the "antica" dealers in the country, skill in the practical work of excavation, and keen interest in Egyptian Archaeology. At Der al-Bahari, Lord Carnarvon discovered two important ostraka inscribed with texts, the one dealing with the deeds of King Kames, and the other containing a portion of a new version of the Precepts of Ptah-hetep. In 1908-09 he discovered the tomb of Tetaki, and a tomb of the XXVth dynasty containing the coffins of nine persons. In 1910-11 he discovered an unfinished temple of Hatshepsut, a ruined temple of Rameses IV, a cemetery of the XIIth
dynasty, and a number of early burials. A full account of what he did at Thebes will be found in his Five Years' Explorations at Thebes (1907-11), Oxford, 1912. This book is illustrated by eighty fine folio plates, and is one of the fullest accounts hitherto published of archaeological work done in Egypt. In 1911-12 he continued his excavations at Thebes, and broke new ground at Xoïs, in the Delta. In 1912, he discovered at Thebes a large temple-deposit of Hatshepsut, consisting of alabaster jars, tools, etc., and a number of pit-tombs of the XIIth dynasty. In 1915 he discovered and cleared out the Tomb of Amenhetep I, and in 1916-17 he discovered a tomb which had been prepared for Hatshepsut. The latter contained a magnificent sarcophagus of crystalline limestone inscribed with the Queen's name and titles as wife of the reigning Pharaoh. It is impossible to enumerate here, however briefly, the various excavations which he carried out at Thebes between 1907 and 1921, but it must be stated that he superintended them all personally, and that he alone defrayed all the expenses, which, as will be readily understood, were very considerable.
In recent years he sought for a wider sphere of excavation, and turned his attention to the Valley of the Tombs of the Kings in Western Thebes, which was one of the sites reserved for Government excavation. During the early years of this century Mr. T. Davis obtained permission to dig there from the late Prof. Maspero, Director of the Service of Antiquities of Egypt, and, with
the help of Mr. Howard Carter and Mr. Ayrton, he succeeded in locating and excavating the tombs of Queen Hatshepsut, Thothmes IV, Heremheb, Menephthah, Saptah, and the unopened tomb of Iuau and Tuau, the father and mother of Queen Ti. When he had done this he announced to Maspero, "The Valley is now cleared, there are no more royal tombs in it"; and most people were willing to accept these words as the statement of a fact. But Lord Carnarvon did not believe that Mr. Davis's opinion was correct, and, having obtained the necessary permission from the Government, he and Mr. Carter set to work to prove that it was not. Each felt that somewhere in the Valley one or two royal tombs must still exist, and knowledge, judgment, unceasing labour, and luck enabled them to light upon the most magnificent archaeological "find" ever made in Egypt. The following extract from a letter which he wrote to me on December 1, 1922, shows how he personally regarded his great triumph. He says:--
"One line just to tell you that we have found the most remarkable 'find' that has ever been made, I expert, in Egypt or elsewhere. I have only so far got into two chambers, but there is enough in them to fill most of your rooms at the B.M. (upstairs); and there is a sealed door where goodness knows what there is. It is not only the quantity of the objects, but their exceptional beauty, finish and originality, which makes this such an extraordinary discovery. There is a throne, or chair, there more beautiful than any object that has been found in Egypt; alabaster vases of the most marvellous work, and quite unknown except as represented in the tombs; couches of state, chairs, beds, wonderful beadwork,
four chariots encrusted with precious stones, life-size bitumenised figures of the king in solid gold sandals and covered with insignia, boxes innumerable, the king's clothes, a shawabti about 3 feet high, sticks of state. I have not opened the boxes, and don't know what is in them; but there are some papyrus letters, faience, jewellery, bouquets, candles on ankh candlesticks. All this is in [the] front chamber, besides lots of stuff you can't see. There is then another room which you can't get into owing to the chaos of furniture, etc., alabaster statues, etc., piled up 4 or 5 feet high. Then we come to the sealed door behind which, I am sure, is the king and God knows what. Some of the stuff is in excellent condition, some is poor, but the whole thing is marvellous; and then there is that sealed door!! Even Lacau 1 was touched by the sight. [Two paragraphs omitted.] It is going to cost me something awful, but I am going to try to do it all myself. I think it will take Carter and three assistants nearly two years to remove, if we find much behind the seals. I am coming back in ten days and will try and see you--Yours ever, CARNARVON."
Having found the archaeological "pearl of great price," with characteristic generosity he was anxious that all who could should come to Luxor to see it and to rejoice over it with him. He made an arrangement with The Times to publish detailed accounts of the clearing of the outer chambers, and to reproduce the splendid photographs of the most striking objects, which were made for him by a member of the American Archaeological Mission, and thus people in all parts of the world were able to watch almost daily the progress of the work. Visitors from many countries thronged to Luxor to see Tutankhamen's tomb and the wonders that it contained, and Lord Carnarvon
spent himself freely in helping them in every way in his power. He gave them his time and energy and knowledge ungrudgingly, but this work, alas! used up his strength and exhausted him. He was not physically a strong or robust man, and the effects of a serious motor accident, sustained many years ago, and of two illnesses in recent years, had taken toll of his vitality. His spirit and courage were invincible, nothing could daunt those, but the work that he had imposed upon himself was too exhausting for him. Then, when he was overtired and overworked, came the mosquito bite on his face. Every traveller in Egypt who has been the victim of the malignant and deadly mosquitoes, which are blown into the country in millions by the hot south winds in March and April, knows how serious are the fever and prostration that follow their successful attacks on the human body. The days passed and his work increased, and, as he refused to spare himself, serious illness came upon him, and he was obliged to go to Cairo and place himself in the hands of the doctors. There everything that medical science and skill could devise was done for him, but little by little he sank, and early in the morning of April 5 he passed peacefully away. The sympathy of the whole world went forth to him as he lay in that sick chamber in Cairo, fighting his fight with Death; that he should die so soon after winning such a glorious triumph seemed incredible.
The death of Lord Carnarvon is a serious blow for Egyptian Archæology, and his loss is irreparable.
[paragraph continues] For sixteen long years he devoted himself to excavations in Egypt, and he gave to them time, energy, and money on a scale which no other archaeologist has ever done. The spirit of Ancient Egypt gripped him nearly twenty years ago, and every year that passed strengthened its hold upon him. The dry bones of Egyptian philology left him cold, and when Egyptologists squabbled over dates and chronology in his presence his chuckle was a delightful thing to hear. But he was fired by the exquisite beauty of form and colour which he found in the antiquities of Egypt, and his collection of small Egyptian antiquities at Highclere Castle is, for its size, probably the most perfect known. He only cared for the best, and nothing but the best would satisfy him, and having obtained the best he persisted in believing that there must be somewhere something better than the best! His quest for the beautiful in Egyptian design, form, and colour became the cult of his life in recent years. His taste was faultless, and his instinct for the true and genuine was unrivalled. When compared with a beautiful "antica" money had no value for him, and he was wont to say, with Sir Henry Rawlinson, "It is easier to get money than anticas." His work in Egypt brought him into contact with natives of all kinds, and he was universally popular with them, and he will be remembered for a long time as a generous employer and friend. His keen sense of humour, his quick wit, his capacity for understanding a matter swiftly, his ready sympathy, and his old
world courtesy appealed greatly to the governing classes in Egypt, and endeared him to his friends, who were legion, both Oriental and Occidental. Here I have only ventured to speak of Lord Carnarvon as the great and disinterested archaeologist, who gave years of his life and untold treasure for the sake of his love for science, for I have neither the knowledge nor the ability to deal with his successes as a pioneer of colour photography, and as a collector of prints, pictures, books, etc. These, and many of the phases of his character and pursuits, are treated felicitously and sympathetically in a careful appreciation of his life and character which appeared in The Times, published on the day of his burial on Beacon Hill (April 30)
E. A. WALLIS BUDGE.
May 7, 1923.
xix:1 The present Director of the Service of Antiquities.