Howard Carter

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Dates: 
1874 - 1939

British Egyptologist, and artist; he was born in Kensington, London, 9 May 1874, son of Samuel John C. artist, and Martha Joyce Sands; owing to delicate health Carter was educated privately and later taught to draw and paint by his father who was an animal painter; on the recommendation of Lady Amherst, he joined the staff of the Arch. Survey under P. E. Newberry in 1891 when he was seventeen, and thus began his career in Egyptology; he was trained under Petrie, Griffith, Naville; after some preliminary training for the EEF in England, he did drawings for the Survey at Beni Hasan and El Bersheh, 1892-3; in 1892 Carter joined Petrie in excavating at Amarna where he worked for Lord Amherst under Petrie’s supervision; he was then made draughtsman to the Deir el-Bahri expedition under Naville where he worked for six years, 1893-9, his pencil drawings being reproduced in collotype in the six published vols.; this gigantic task, undertaken with the help of other artists, involved the copying of all the scenes and inscriptions then visible on the temple for the folios, and showed him to be the equal of the greatest copyists; in 1899 he was appointed Chief Inspector of Antiquities of Upper Egypt in the Antiquities Service of the Egyptian Government, and he reorganized the antiquities administration for Upper Egypt under Sir William Garstin and Maspero; in this capacity he installed electric light for the first time in the Tombs of the Kings and at Abu Simbel; from 1902 he supervised the excavations of Theodore Davis in the Valley of Kings; in 1904 Carter was given the inspectorate of Lower Egypt; he was at Saqqara in 106 Jan. 1905 when a dispute with some French tourists led to his transfer to new headquarters at Tanta; his dissatisfaction with his treatment in this matter led to his resignation from the Service in Nov. 1905; he spent the next four years as a water-colour painter and guide, returning to work in the Theban necropolis for Lord Carnarvon, 1909; in all at different times he discovered no less than six royal tombs, including his most famous find, that of Tutankhamun; the first in chronological order was the dummy tomb of Nebhepet-re Mentuhotep, Queen Hatshepsut’s later tomb, the tomb of Thutmose IV, a tomb identified as that of Amenhotep I, and that of Hatshepsut when consort, and the valley temple of Hatshepsut; after the war Carter spent the winters from 1917 to 1922 searching the Valley of Kings but found little until the dramatic discovery of Tutankhamun in Nov. 1922, the greatest archaeological discovery ever made in Egypt; the clearance of the tomb, the packing and removal of its contents to Cairo Museum, took Carter and a staff of experts a full ten years to complete, the extensive records, a body of material, much of which yet remains unpublished, and together with Carter’s diaries and papers is preserved in the Griffith Institute, Oxford, to which they were given by his niece Miss Phyllis Walker; Carter was unable to bring out a definitive report on his discovery and only published a popular but detailed account of it; during his last years he suffered much ill-health, and did no further archaeological work; he published a number of articles in journals, particularly ASAE and the following books; The Tomb of Thoutmôsis IV, with Newberry, 1904; The Tomb of Hâtshopsîtû, with Theodore M. Davis and others, 1906; The Tomb of Iouiya and Touiyou, with Maspero and Newberry, 1906; Five Years’ Explorations at Thebes; a record of work done, 1907-1911..., with Lord Carnarvon, 1912; The Tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen, 3 vols., with A. C. Mace, 1923-33, and his privately circulated statement Tut.ankh.amen. The Politics of Discovery, 1998; Carter died in Kensington, London, 2 March 1939 and was buried in Putney Vale cemetery, London.

Excavation Roles: 
Excavations Excavation Role
Archaeologist
Archaeologist
Director Roles: