The location of stolen King Tut items after 100 years
The British archaeologist who found King Tutankhamun’s tomb a century ago this month, according to biographies, rejected rumors of the “curse of King Tut’s tomb” as superstitious “poppy-rot.” That view may have been supported by the fact that he managed to escape after stealing items from the pharaoh’s tomb, according to academics. According to Live Science, Egyptology professor Marc Gabolde has recognized and located jewelry that Howard Carter allegedly illegally removed from the tomb and brought back to England.
The young pharaoh’s collar, which was discovered on his chest when the body was unwrapped and parts of which were fashioned into a necklace at some time after it was stolen, was found when the French professor matched images from the tomb to objects available in museums and on auction sites.
According to Gabolde’s research, other components of the collar are currently on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. He also identified grave treasures held by private collectors and in other institutions. Twenty items from Carter’s collection were listed on an auction house’s valuation list as coming from Tutankhamun’s tomb after Carter passed away in 1939, outliving many other expedition members.
Carter’s niece brought some back to Egypt, but Gabolde thinks some of the unlisted goods had already been sold. As Gabolde explains to Archaeology magazine, “What shocked me was to find a little more than what had been identified by earlier scholars and to be able to give the exact match with Carter’s archives for several things.”
In 2011, the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned some artifacts to Egypt, but it’s unclear whether other institutions, such as the British Museum, will do the same. Author Bob Brier claimed in August that he had discovered a letter that proved long-held rumors that Carter had taken objects from the tomb for himself. Carter distributed several things to his friends.
Professor of Egyptology in the UK Aiden Dodson tells Live Science that he doesn’t believe Carter took anything for personal gain. He claims that Carter may have returned certain things for repair or study after determining that they were of little worth.
As someone who began his profession in the 1890s, when archaeological morals were much different, Carter had a “quite free and loose attitude,” according to Dodson.