Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s Eternal Rest: A SEO-Optimized Tribute ‎

On November 4, 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, but he had to wait until February 16 of the following year to officially open the seals of this extraordinary burial which had remained inviolate since the fourteenth century BC. Inside, a very rich funeral kit was found: 2000 artifacts, as well as a massive gold sarcophagus weighing 110 kg and the famous gold mask that we all know.

This year marks the centenary of this discovery, one of the most important in the history of archaeology, and in homage to the figure of Tutankhamun, a pharaoh still shrouded in legend and mystery today, the exhibition “Tutankhamon – Viaggio verso l’eternità” (Tutankhamun – Journey to eternity).

I personally went to visit the exhibition hosted at the Palazzo della Promotrice delle Belle Arti in Turin (from February 19 to July 3 2022), in the suggestive Valentino park, if the theme of the exhibition intrigued you, I invite you to continue reading the ‘article, where I will tell you about my experience and the impressions I had about it.

For my part, I sincerely thank the organizer of the Innovation CGMZ Srl exhibition, which has been dealing with historical and informative exhibitions for years, and the staff with whom I interacted for the courtesy and availability reserved for me, in particular I thank Germana Grasso of the Press Office,  the social manager of the Instagram’s profile (here you will find the relative page) and to the rest of the team, from the call center to the ticket office, up to the employees of the virtual room, all very professional and very kind.

The exhibition

The exhibition, curated by the Egyptologist Clarissa Decembri, already on display at the Castel dell’Ovo in Naples (until 30 September 2022), doubles the possibility of visiting with the Turin office in the Palazzo della Promotrice delle Belle Arti in Turin.

It is actually an event that is part of a world tour with the aim of bringing the general public closer to the fascinating Egyptian culture, through the story of the life and death of Tutankhamun, the young pharaoh of the 18th dynasty who ascended the throne in he was nine years old, he reigned for almost ten years and after his death he was buried in the Valley of the Kings, in a tomb containing a very rich set that has come down to us almost intact.

The importance of the discovery, the most famous in the history of Egyptology and one of the most relevant in world archaeology, lies precisely in the fact that it is one of the very few ancient Egyptian burials that have survived almost intact, the only one of a sovereign and consequently, among those known, the richest.

Mostra Tutankhamon ©Lorena Cannizzaro
Mostra Tutankhamon – Viaggio verso l’eternità, one of the exhibition rooms, ©Lorena Cannizzaro

The exhibition in Castel dell’Ovo in Naples includes sixty authentic finds from the Egyptian collection of the Archaeological Museum of Florence and about one hundred official replicas of the most important objects of Tutankhamun’s treasure made in Cairo in collaboration with the Ministry of Egyptian Antiquities. These artifacts, in addition to the elaborate sets and the application of virtual reality, created by Unsquare Life, allow the visitor a journey into the past and specifically at the time of Carter’s discovery of the burial.

«“The decisive moment had come. […] enlarging the hole a little, I inserted a candle and peered inside. Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn and Callender stood behind me, anxiously waiting […] as my eyes became accustomed to the dark, the details of the room slowly emerged from the darkness: strange-looking animals, statues and gold, everywhere the glitter of gold. For a moment I was speechless with astonishment, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to wait any longer, asked me anxiously: “Can you see anything?” I was only able to answer: “Yes, wonderful things”».

With these words, the archaeologist Howard Carter described the exciting moment in which he saw for the first time the contents of part of Tutankhamun’s funerary equipment. Retracing the various rooms of the exhibition it is possible to relive this experience in an immersive way, both materially thanks to the reproduction of some rooms of the tomb, but also virtually.

Among the rooms reproduced there is, for example, the anteroom, the interior of which is visible through the tactical openings on a wall. One way to see with your own eyes what Carter saw in the semi-darkness that enveloped the room. Precious works stacked on the floor and on the walls of the room: disassembled chariots, zoomorphic golden beds and many other objects that were part of the very rich funeral kit of the young pharaoh.

The burial chamber is also quite impressive, the only room with the painted walls of the tomb. The discoverer himself seems to take us by the hand, accompanying us inside, and through a very useful and pleasant play of lights, it is possible to recognize and interpret the different images on the walls, depicting Tutankhamun’s journey into the afterlife.

The same environments can also be explored through a virtual tour, during which you can get information on different elements of the funeral kit and relive the experience Carter lived a hundred years ago.

The mummification department is also very interesting, which allows you to observe and understand the various phases of this procedure which, according to the opinion of the ancient Egyptians, allowed the body to be preserved and then “relived” in the kingdom of the dead.

Mostra Tutankhamon ©Lorena Cannizzaro
Tutankhamon – Viaggio verso l’eternità, reproduction of the golden sarcophagus, ©Lorena Cannizzaro

But that’s not all, the last part of the exhibition is dedicated to historical photos relating to the discovery of the tomb. Panels reproduce the shots that have immortalized the seals of the burial still intact, Carter and the workers at work, the spectacular sarcophagus of the pharaoh, the smaller sarcophagi of his presumed daughters, and much more.

A riot of gold

However, the exhibition is also a very pleasant riot… of gold, I’m not kidding! As I mentioned, the visitor can admire the detailed reproductions of various objects belonging to Tutankhamun’s grave goods, many of which were made with this precious material.

To better understand the value that the ancient Egyptians attributed to this metal, we must consider that it was linked to the deities. In fact, it was common belief that the skin of the gods was gold while their bones were silver. This idea is closely linked to the inherent property of this metal to maintain its golden color despite the passage of time. This characteristic was in fact interpreted as a symbol of incorruption and consequently of immortality. In particular, gold was associated above all with the solar god Ra and consequently with the pharaoh, the earthly incarnation of the solar god Horus, son of Ra.

Mostra Tutankhamon © Carlo Marrazzo
Tutankhamon – Viaggio verso l’eternità, reproduction of the golden mask, ©Carlo Marrazzo

Among the reproductions on display, I cannot fail to mention the splendid golden throne, the statues of the Ka, the golden beds, the famous mask and the equally precious sarcophagus of the young sovereign, all made with extreme skill and care.

The unfortunate pharaoh

A particular focus is dedicated to the examinations carried out on the mummy of Tutankhamun, carried out to ascertain any pathologies and possible causes of death.

We know that the body was subjected to radiographs which verified the absence of malformations or traumatic damage to the head and trunk, while instead there was a fracture, not completely sealed, in the left leg; an examination of the feet also made it possible to ascertain that the right foot presented characteristics compatible with a possible deformity attributable to equinus, as well as necrosis of some tissues that were missing; the left foot, in turn, presented the second and third toes in abduction; the second finger was also shorter because it lacked the middle phalanx.

The resulting diagnosis was that the subject suffered from Köhler’s disease and that this was still in progress at the time of death; such a condition that lasted over time, together with the right clubfoot, certainly caused an incorrect distribution of body weight, and consequent difficulty in the king’s ambulation, which could only be partially corrected by the use of a stick. This diagnosis would be combined, however, with the high number of walking sticks (about 130) found inside the burial, all bearing evident traces of wear.

Unfortunately, although the sarcophagus remained untouched for over 3,000 years, the pharaoh’s mummy remained in poor condition. This cause was identified in an action of slow self-combustion of the skin tissues triggered by the oils abundantly spread by the embalmers on the deceased before wrapping him in bandages. Further damage was then caused to the body by the attempts of extraction from the sarcophagus carried out by Dr. Douglas Derry, collaborator of Carter, at the time of the rediscovery…

As for the pharaoh’s cause of death, as we have seen, his clinical activities trace a decidedly critical overall picture and certainly some of the ailments he suffered from, added together, could have been responsible for cumulative and immuno-suppressive inflammations that made a malarial infection fatal. However, it was not possible to formulate a univocal diagnosis of the cause of death, but only hypotheses of contributing causes.

So

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