There has never been a discovery quite like that of Tutankhamun, not before, nor since. On the 26th November 1922, after five long years of scouring Egypt’s legendary Valley of the Kings, British Egyptologist Howard Carter and his aristocratic backer Lord Carnarvon, broke into the tomb of Tutankhamun. The wonders they discovered captivated the world, a coffin made of solid gold, and the famous gold mask were just two of over five thousand precious objects. Not to mention the fact it provided the world with some much needed good news following the events of the Great War and Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know what it felt like when the discovery was first made, for the archeologists, the spectators, and for people around the world? The discovery itself was captured using amateur films and early newsreel for the cinema along with thousands of high quality black and white photographs, but these images can seem to consign the story to history and make it difficult to capture the true intensity of this extraordinary event.
In this film we see Oxford University Egyptologist, Elizabeth Frood on a mission to relive the discovery of Tutankhamun, just as people did at the time. Using cutting edge technology we can now witness these events for the first time in a century almost as they were in colour. By transforming old images Frood rediscovers these stunning objects just as they were found and in incredible detail.
We start off in 1891 witnessing an old black and white being brought back to life with colourisation, it’s a family photo of the young Carter. When he was 17 years old he met the British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie, who inspired him to become an archaeologist, and Lord Carnarvon who hired him as help. In December 1917, we see how Carter divided the valley up into a grid and began excavating each sector, right down to the bedrock. This film reveals the sheer scale of the operation. However, in 1923, Carter and Carnarvon finally managed to break through into Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.
Directed by: Paul Bradshaw