Tut treasure trove

While the Field Museum exhibits the nationally touring King Tut display, the Oriental Institute shows off its own Tutankhamun treasures. On loan from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, 50 photographs by Harry Burton, who was there when Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922, hang at the OI through October 8. They document the Valley of the Kings; the tomb's initial discovery; the moment when the excavators first glimpsed the artifacts inside; the burial chamber's entry; the series of shrines and coffins that protected the king; and the mummy, wreathed in floral collars and bedecked with gold jewelry.

Some highlights:

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Photos (left to right): In the tomb's "treasury room," a statue of Anubis, the god of embalming, sits on a portable chest. Behind it is the great gold shrine that contained the king's embalmed viscera.

Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb in 1922, stands over the nest of three coffins positioned over the stone sarcophagus.

The royal mummy's head and shoulders were covered with this gold mask, inlaid with glass and semiprecious stones. In this photograph the false beard and the necklaces have been removed.

The tomb's burial chamber was filled with four nested wood shrines surrounding the sarcophagus. The seals of the third shrine were undisturbed, indicating that the ancient robbers had not reached the king's body.

Photos courtesy the Oriental Institute Museum.

June 26, 2006