“The Complete Tutankhamun,” a Must-Own Coffee Table Book for Egyptologists
If you loved watching the Mummy movies as a kid or just consider yourself an armchair Egyptologist, Nicholas Reeves’ The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, The Tomb, The Royal Treasure is a great book to flip through.
Not only does it have a foreword by the Seventh Earl of Carnarvon, but Reeves includes extracts from Howard Carter’s diaries and notes, as well as many of his drawings and reconstructions from the archaeological dig. It’s actually the first time many of these sketches were even published.
Reeves recounts the story of Carter and Lord Carnavon’s search for the Boy King and explains the significance of many of the items that were found in the tomb. For example, the author mentions that the shape of the second shrine that concealed the sarcophagus and mummy within was designed to imitate an ancient place in Upper Egypt known as the Per-Wer. He also points out that the Goddesses Isis (Aset) and Nepthys (Nebet-Het) were carved onto the walls to stand guard over the Pharaoh’s soul. The shrine was also covered in spells from the Egyptian Book of the Dead in the hopes of leading Tutankhamun’s spirit successfully through the trials and tribulations of the afterlife.
However, a word for the die-hard Egyptology fans—this book was published in 1995 and is severely outdated in some of its information. For example, Egyptologists have found the remains of his mother and father, although they still get into cat fights over whether his parents are the infamous Ankhenaten and Nefertiti or the little known Smenkhkare and Nebetah. The theory that Tutankhamun was murdered too has long since been debunked. Most scholars believe the unlucky Pharaoh was killed by a combination of complications from a chariot accident and malaria.
However, if you don’t live near a museum and need to satisfy your craving for beautiful ancient Egyptian art history, take a peek through our gallery to get a glimpse of the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb!