The Discovery of Tutankhamun


The discovery of the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun has inspired millions for decades. For the first time, thirty of Harry Burton's iconic photographs documenting the most sensational event in archaeology have been painstakingly reconstructed in colour for the exhibition The Discovery of King Tut on New York's 5th Avenue.

"At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold — everywhere the glint of gold."

- Howard Carter, archaeologist

Working with the Griffith Institute, who own the original photographs, every single item in each photograph was identified using original archaeologist Howard Carter's own handwritten inventory notes, and compared to the restored artefacts in several museums. 


December 1922
The Antechamber

A ceremonial bed in the shape of the Celestial Cow, surrounded by provisions and other objects in the antechamber of the tomb.


December 1922
The Antechamber

Sealed alabaster 'unguent' vases between the cow-headed and lion couches against the west wall of the Antechamber.


The Treasury

The Anubis shrine on the threshold of the Treasury viewed from the Burial Chamber. The figure of Anubis was covered with a linen shirt inscribed with the cartouche of Akhenaten.


December 2nd, 1923
The Burial Chamber

Howard Carter (centre), Arthur Callender and two Egyptian workmen lifting one roof section from the first, outermost shrine. With its double sloping roof, the shape of this shrine resembles that of a 'sed festival pavilion'; it was made of from twenty separate oak sections, held together by a variety of different joints.


January 4th, 1924
The Burial Chamber

Howard Carter (kneeling), Arthur Callender and an Egyptian workman in the Burial Chamber, looking through the open doors of the four gilded shrines towards the quartzite sarcophagus.


29th/30th October, 1925
The Burial Chamber

Howard Carter and an Egyptian workman examine the third (innermost) coffin made of solid gold, inside the case of the second coffin.


29th/30th October, 1925
The Burial Chamber

The iconic gold funerary mask in situ on the mummy of the King, still inside the third (innermost) solid gold coffin.


1922 - 1925
The Valley of the Kings, Egypt

by Harry Burton

Thank you to
Christoph Schulz, Wolfgang Wild, Catherine Warsi, Dr Wolfgang Wettengel

Produced by
SC Exhibitions at Premier Exhibitions

Exhibition Photograph
© Limor Garfinkle

© The Griffiths Institute