The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen

Carter_S 1The First Inspection.
The discovery of the tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen thrilled the world, and Nov. 26th, 1922, when the tomb was entered by the late Earl of Carnarvon, his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, and Mr. Howard Carter, proved one of the most exciting days in the lives of those renowned Egyptologists. A flight of 16 steps and a sloping passage 30 ft. long led to a sealed doorway. In this a hole was made through which the discoverers clambered. A first glimpse within the room (afterwards called the Antechamber) revealed an amazing collection of statues, couches, chests, vases, etc.

Carter_S 2Interior of Antechamber.
Although the room measured only 26 ft. by 12 ft., it was found to contain between 600 and 700 objects. Our illustration shows the northern end of the room with the two life-sized statues of the king, each with gold kilt and sandals and armed with mace and staff. The exquisitely decorated painted wooden casket on the right held many robes, one of which bore upwards of 3,000 gold rosettes. (After photo by Harry Burton, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).

Carter_S 3The Gold Coffin of Tut-Ankh-Amen.
The mummy of the Pharoah Tut-ankh-Amen rested within the innermost of three coffins of human form, which were enclosed within a carved sarcophagus of yellow quartzite. The two outer coffins are covered with sheet gold, the head and hands of the first being of solid gold. We show Mr. Howard Carter….at work on the third coffin, which is of solid gold. He is removing the consecration oils, hardened by age into a pitch-like material.

Churchman’s cigarette cards, Treasure Trove series, 1937.


Stonehenge: the Giants’ Dance.

This image has been taken from a postcard sent from Malmesbury on August 21 1907 – one hundred and ten years ago (plus one day).

Image of Stonehenge from an Edwardian postcard mailed in 1907.

The front of the card, below the crop line, repeats a popular myth about the Giants’ Dance, sometimes known as Giants’ Round or Giants’ Circle.

“A Legend states: – Aurelius, wishing to commemorate a battle, sent for Merlin, the Prophet, to consult on the proper monument to be erected to the memory of the slain; he replied: “If you want an everlasting monument, send for the Giants’ Dance in Killarus, Ireland. There are stones of a vast magnitude, & wonderful quality.” The Britons despatched 15,000 soldiers under Uther Pendragon. The removal was violently opposed by Gillomanus, a youth of wonderful valour, who exclaimed: “To Arms, Soldiers! While I have breath they shall not move one stone.” A battle was fought & won by the Britons. Merlin then directed with a mystical & wonderful facility their removal. When accomplished, Aurelius summoned the Clergy and people to the Mount Ambrius, and a great solemnity was held for 3 days in honour of the event. Aurelius at his death was buried in the midst.”

This legend, and variations of it, can be traced to Geoffrey of Monmouth – “that master historian and myth-dispenser of the twelfth century,” according to Gerald S. Hawkins in his book ‘Stonehenge Decoded’. It could contain the seeds of two or more ancient events blended together and embellished by the author. Geoffrey wasn’t a man to let facts get in the way of a good story.

Gillomanus is claimed by some to have been the “king of Ireland”, Aurelius and Pendragon were real people outside the King Arthur legend (another one of Geoffrey’s fictions), but the stones of the henge came from Wales, not Ireland.

Research into this ancient World Heritage site continues and, incredibly, new discoveries are still being made. This detailed Wikipedia page will bring you right up to date and give you as much information about Stonehenge as you ever wanted to know.