King Tut’s mask

King Tutankhamun is possibly the most famous Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of all time. He is known as the Boy King, because he was only nine years old when he became pharaoh. He married his half-sister, which was very common in Ancient Egypt, but he died around the age of 18 years, possibly from an infection gained following a broken leg.

He only ruled for around nine years, so why has he caught our imagination so extensively?

Fast forward over 3000 years to 1922, when an English archaeologist named Howard Carter made an incredible discovery in The Valley of the Kings in Egypt. He found the lost tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, but the most exciting part of the discovery was that it had never been emptied by grave robbers. It was the first tomb that was almost fully intact, left largely undisturbed since the day it was sealed up after the young pharaoh’s funeral.

Inside the tomb, there were thousands of stunning objects, from which we’ve learnt a great deal about how people in Ancient Egypt lived. There were weapons, clothes and statues inside, intended to help the pharaoh on his journey into the afterlife. Historians have studied the various materials and techniques used and also learnt a great deal from the images painted on the tomb’s walls.

The most iconic item from inside Tutankhamun’s tomb was inside his sarcophagus, which is his elaborately decorated coffin. There were three layers. The final layer was a gold mask, called the Death Mask. It is decorated with pure gold and colourful gems and is instantly recognisable as a symbol of Ancient Egypt. It is simply thanks to the unique find in Tutankhamun’s tomb that he is so famous today!

You can visit most objects found inside Tutankhamun’s tomb, including his famous Death Mask, at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.


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