In 1908, while excavating in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, American archaeologist Theodore Davis discovered about a dozen large storage jars. Their contents included broken pottery, bags of natron (a mixture of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium sulphate, and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt), bags of sawdust, floral collars, and pieces of linen with markings from years 6 and 8 during the reign of a then little-known pharaoh named Tutankhamun. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was given six of the vessels and a good part of their contents in 1909.
In time, Herbert Winlock, curator and field director of the Metropolitan's Egyptian excavations and in the 1930s Director of the Museum, came to realize that the natron and linen were the embalming refuse from the mummification of Tutankhamun. He also suggested that the animal bones, pottery, and collars might have come from a funeral meal. Winlock's analysis was an important clue that led to Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb some 110 meters away.
Opening March 16 at the Metropolitan Museum, the exhibition Tutankhamun's Funeral will explore the materials and rituals associated with the burial of the pharaoh. The presentation will include some 60 objects, primarily from the Metropolitan's own collection.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Originally published February 24, 2010 | Art Daily | An excerpt - click on the above link to read more: