Howard Carter immortalised in Google Doodle

9 May 2012

Tutankhamum's tomb at the Valley of the Kings. Image by Wikimedia Commons

Howard Carter, the English archaeologist and Egyptologist, is revered in a rather mythical Google Doodle today that shows off an array of Egyptian artifacts, on the 138th anniversary of his birth.

Carter, who was born on 9 May 1874 in London, is best known for having discovered the tomb of the 14th-century pharaoh Tutankhamum in 1922.

At the age of 17 he was sent out by the Egypt Exploration fund to help the British Egyptologist Percy Newberry in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan, the ancient Egyptian cemetery site.

It was in 1899 that Carter was appointed to the role of first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service. He then supervised excavations at Thebes (now known as Luxor).

Lord Carnarvon took on Carter to supervise his excavations from 1907. Carnarvon financed Carter’s work in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt from 1914. However, excavations were interrupted by World War I up until 1917.

Then, in 1922, Carnarvon decided to give Carter one more season of funding.
Howard Carter Google Doodle 9 May 2012
The Google Doodle – a stylised Google logo – in honour of archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter

Carter’s excavation group found the steps leading to Tutankhamum’s tomb on 4 November 1922. It is known for being the best preserved and most intact pharonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

On 16 February 1923, Carter managed to open the sealed doorway leading to the burial chamber of Tutankhamum. Clearing of the tomb and its thousands of objects continued until 1932.

Carter retired from archaeology and became a part-time agent for collectors and museums.

He died from lymphoma on 2 March 1939 at the age of 64. Carter’s tombstone in Putney Vale Cemetery in London bears the following inscription: “May your spirit live, May you spend millions of years, You who love Thebes, Sitting with your face to the north wind, Your eyes beholding happiness.”

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic