Tutankhamen’s Curse

Tutankhamen’s Curse, Profile Books (UK) 2012: Published in the US as Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King, Basic Books.

The discovery and opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb is one of the most exciting moments in the history of archaeology. It has everything: gold, treasures, a sudden death, a mummified king and a curse – all the elements which make ancient Egypt perennially fascinating. Tutankhamen’s Curse uses the tomb and its story as a window to look at key aspects of New Kingdom Egypt, and to examine how we approach the ancient past.

Tutankhamen lay in a golden coffin, surrounded by an extraordinary array of grave goods: everything from religious symbols and near life-sized statues to loincloths. The only thing missing was a library. The tomb was remarkably devoid of written information, and this led several Egyptologists to announce that it had little value beyond showcasing the artistic and technological achievements of the New Kingdom Egyptians. They could not have been more wrong. Today it is recognised that the individual artefacts stored in the tomb have their own tales to tell, and modern science is allowing experts to reconstruct these stories using the grave goods, the tomb itself, and the king’s mummified body.

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