Why was King Tut’s tomb so well preserved?

King Tutankhamun‘s tomb, officially catalogued as KV62, is located in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt. Discovered on November 4, 1922, by British archaeologist Howard Carter and financed by Lord Carnarvon, the tomb is one of the most significant archaeological finds in history due to its relative intactness and wealth of artifacts.

Thus King Tutankhamun’s tomb was exceptionally well preserved due to a combination of fortunate circumstances and its somewhat hidden location.

Here are the key reasons why it remained largely intact:

Secluded Placement

Unlike many other royal tombs that were prominently marked and thereby easy targets for robbers, King Tut’s tomb was relatively small and located in a less conspicuous part of the Valley of the Kings.

Its entrance was hidden by debris and the construction activities of other nearby tombs, notably the tomb of Ramses VI, which inadvertently covered Tutankhamun’s tomb with chips of stone and debris during its cutting.

Image: The interior chamber of the tomb of king Tut.

Quick Burial

Archeologists and Egyptologists unanimously hold the opinion that the boy-king died unexpectedly at a young age, which likely resulted in a hurried burial process. This might have contributed to the tomb not being as elaborate as those of other pharaohs, making it less obvious and less enticing for grave robbers.

Historical Obscurity

At the time of his death, Tutankhamun was not one of the most powerful or renowned pharaohs, which might have contributed to less attention being directed towards his tomb compared to those of other more significant or longer-reigning pharaohs.

Subsequent Building

The construction of other tombs nearby, especially the aforementioned tomb of Ramses VI, further obscured the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb, protecting it from being discovered and looted.

Tutankhamun’s Golden Funerary Mask

Other important facts about King Tut’s tomb

  • It’s been stated that British archeologist and researcher Carter had been searching for Tutankhamun’s tomb for several years under challenging conditions. The breakthrough came when his team found steps leading to the tomb’s entrance buried under debris. Upon opening the tomb, Carter discovered multiple chambers, some of which had been entered by ancient tomb robbers but were still remarkably well-stocked with artifacts.
  • KV62 features a typical layout for an 18th Dynasty tomb, albeit smaller and less elaborate than those of more prominent pharaohs. It consists of an entrance leading to a descending corridor, an antechamber, an annex, a burial chamber, and a treasury.
  • The tomb contained over 5,000 items, including golden chariots, thrones, jewelry, clothes, and weapons. The most significant find was Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus containing three nested coffins, the innermost made of solid gold, and the pharaoh’s mummy adorned with a now-iconic gold funeral mask. These items provided unprecedented insights into the material culture and burial practices of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt.

Image: A mid-1920s picture of Carter examining Tut’s coffin.

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