Not Past It - King Tut Died for Tourism

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Have you heard the one about the canary and the Cobra?

It goes something like this?

Which man is living in, Egypt?

He’s an archaeologist and he’s getting ready for the winter digging season.

He tells his friends.


I’m going to need some company during those long months.

So I’m bringing a special companion for all like, ooh, la la, who could it be?

But when this special companion arrives from England, they find out.


It’s a bird.

A literal bird, I’m not being disrespectful homie sent for a canary.

What can I say now soon after the bird arrives, this British guy makes a huge Discovery over at the archaeological.


Dig like massive, and to celebrate this big achievement.

He decides to host a dinner, but Midway through, he realizes, he can’t find his Mary, he’s upset but then someone spots it.


Well, not really it but a lump about bird sized making its way through the belly of a cobra.

Okay, obviously some of these details are embellished, but the bird really did get gobbled up.


And this, I’m afraid is a bad Omen for our British friend because in Egypt, cobras are known as Protectors of the Kings.

See, this all happened soon.

After the British, dude had pried open the tomb of King tutankhamen, which apparently Unleashed a curse, the curse of the Pharaohs.


Now, some people think that’s all a bunch of silly superstitions.

There is no curse of the Tomb.

Absolutely not.

I could say that unequivocally.

I’ve been in the two million times.

There is no curse in the Tomb, but I beg to differ because I’d wager there really was a curse at play.


Just not the one everyone talks about.

From gimlet media.

This is not past it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind every episode.

We take a moment from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our world.


I’m Simone plannin on November 4th, 1922 99 years ago.

This week, the entrance to King Tut’s, tomb was finally discovered.

It was Of the most important archaeological finds in history and the discovery triggered an intense interest in the artifacts the tomb contained.


They were glittery gold and haunted by rumors of a curse cast on anyone who dared disturb the boy king’s tomb, and boy did a lot of people disturb him.

Well, I’m bandaged this baby after the break.


Before King Tut’s tomb was officially opened an archaeologist, his assistant and Earl and his daughter stood huddled at the bottom of a stairwell.

The archaeologist.

Howard Carter that British dude with a pet Canary brings a candle close to the opening so he can see through immediately.


He fell silent.

The Earl asked.

Can you see anything Carter peered into the dark?


He replied one.

Fall things.

A gospel, run demand, escaped our lips.

So gorgeous was the sight.


That met our eyes.

We realize that we were in the presence of the Dead King.

This is Carter recalling.

The moment years later, my whole, that Regal Splendor everywhere.


The glint of gold catching.

The light of Carters candle.

Gilded sculptures walls jewelry.

After three centuries have passed since human feet, lost tribes of law on which we stood.


The quest to find King Tut’s tomb, had taken close to a decade of planning and waiting and digging beginning in 1914.

And it all happened because of Howard.

Carter, you have to love a guy that loved him historian.


And writer Daniel Mayer.

Said as a big Carter fan, he wrote a book about the excavation of King Tut’s tomb called in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter was British by birth and had grown up lower class.

Fifth or sixth grade education is not polished, but he was gifted with great artistic ability and was hungry to improve his lot in life.


As a teenager.

He had kind of a weird job.

We went around to all the aristocratic ounces and he made portraits of the aristocrats Pets.

The dogs in addition to that one of those aristocratic families presented him with an opportunity, a friend of theirs needed someone who could draw.


So they told him come to Egypt and help.

Out this archaeological dig by copying pictures from tombs.

It was a chance to rub elbows with the upper social ranks.

He hoped to join Carter, was sold.

Egypt was kind of a place to be back in the day, a vacation spot for the wealthy digging around for more wealth.


Lots of ancient discoveries were being made in this one area called the Valley of the Kings, a narrow section of land near the Nile river, which had been the burial site.

For almost all Egyptian pharaohs.

By the time Carter arrived in 1891.


This area had been picked over at various points by other European archaeologists.

But Carter, he’s got.

This hunch caught is the only one who has a theory that there’s a term that’s been undiscovered in the valley, in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter thinks this tomb that’s undiscovered is actually the Tomb of the young Egyptian, king named Tutankhamun, you know, Tut for short.


And he wants to be the one to find it.

But for Carter to make any money on this pipe dream of his he needs to get money to pull it off.

So he turned to a sponsor to help him out a guy named Lord carnarvon a wealthy British Earl within a state known as Highclere Castle and a state, you might actually recognize as Downton Abbey.


Yeah, carnarvon was rich, rich and can arvin’s motivations matched card.

Where’s he also wanted money?

Spoils reputation, his name in the history books, so they formed a partnership.

Long story short, the Egyptians gave the thumbs up and then Carter started digging for Tut’s tomb in 1917 and it took a really long time, like almost a decade and just when they were about to give up after years of finding nothing.


Finally a breakthrough.

A young Egyptian laborer brought a jug of water to the site, cleared a spot on the ground for it and just like that.

He uncovered a stone.

The first step in a staircase that led directly to the tomb.


Eureka baby.

That’s the one with the tumors.

Officially discovered in the world is Ablaze and that’s the beginning of every room.

Wanting to come to the tomb Carter Center.

I grabbed his beneficiary, Lord carnarvon.

The message was triumphant at last have made wonderful Discovery in Valley.



That telegram was sent November 6th 1922 less than three weeks later carnarvon shows up in Egypt with his daughter on November 29th.

They open the tomb of King Tut.


The signs of recent life around us the tiny wreaths of flowers.

The last farewell offering of the widowed girl Queen to a husband.

They told us what a shot, period, 3,300 years.


Really was the quality and Splendor of the objects that were found is were really amazing.

This is dr.

Monica, Hannah and Professor an acting Dean for the College of archaeology and cultural heritage at the Arab Academy for science technology and Maritime transport and Aswan Egypt the objects where the objects of the daily life of the little King.


So he standards his chair, his jewelry, his perfume jars, even had this model where he probably used to put his jewelry on.

Also, we have the for canopic jars, which had all the anal organs of the King Carter and the team spent the next 10 years, Excavating studying and cataloging all five thousand artifacts inside the tomb.


The quality of craftsmanship, the amount of artifacts and funeral equipment.

That was in the Tomb.

I did not just teach us about King Tut.

It taught us about how a royal intact tomb would have looked like, dr.


Hannah says, this wasn’t just important to the Brits who were giddy.

Over The Spoils of their Discovery, I think the workmen tool were very Amazed by what they found and the workmen were telling each other.

Although they were not supposed to say what they found, but it was very exciting also for the Egyptians, but even with all of the artifacts, there was a limit to what they learned about King Tut.


The person, no one knows for sure why he died or even exactly what years he rained.

All we know is that he was sickly.

Died young and was buried in a Fantastical Chamber of Secrets.

The story is unfinished.


And this mystery is a part of why everyone was so attracted to Tut.

And that’s also may be why people kept placing meaning on some of the weird things that happened on the Dig.

Like take the statue.

I mean, this is a very delicate things.


Daniel Myerson again, when they begin to clear the tomb, they Out, wooden statue, and they photograph in the beginning, and they have those lights flash, bold kind of him were like with explodes.

And well, the whole wooden statue, after the picture is taken, just crumbles to dust and it wasn’t just a crumbling statue or even Carter’s dead Canary, suddenly people started to die to your curse.


The curse, the curse a curse is awakened.

It’s in a minute.


Welcome back before the break.

We heard that after years of searching Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King tutankhamen, but something was awry and people started to suspect that Carter might have accidentally Unleashed an ancient curse of the Pharaohs.


King Tut may have started punishing those who Disturbed his eternal slumber.

First, it was Howard.

Carter’s pet Canary, eaten by a cobra.

Okay, depending on how you feel about canaries, may be devastating to Carter, but not like scary, but soon.


Shit got real in 1923 less than six months after the tomb.

Had been discovered Carter and carnarvon stood outside it.

This was the day they were going to finally break into the innermost.

Most burial chamber kind of an is I’m doing a little song, little jig or dance, you know, he’s really happy author.


Daniel Meyerson says there was a journalist named Arthur Weigel watching and the literal dancing on Tut’s grave rubbed him the wrong way and I go is sitting there and this is really this has been documented in.

This is shocking.

He says to Carnival.


If you go down in that mood singing and dancing all that.

You don’t have six weeks to live and six weeks later.

Common one is dead.

The official cause of death was sepsis carnarvon, had gotten a mosquito bite, which became infected but he died around six weeks later.


I mean, that’s fucking weird.

What’s more according to carnarvon, son?

At the very same time, his dad kicked the can in Egypt.

Back home in England.

The family’s beloved Terrier dropped dead too.

As if all that wasn’t weird enough newspapers, reported.


Rumors that around the moment carnarvon and the terrier died.

All the lights and Cairo went out to Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

You have to admit.

I mean, yeah Fair Point.


Daniel in the years that followed as work continued in the Tomb.

The curse continued to strike.

George Jay Gould, an American railroad magnate visited Tut’s, tomb, and suddenly fell ill and died.


Arthur mace, a conservationist who helped remove Tut’s linen.

Shroud died in 1928.

Reportedly Carter’s friend, sir, Bruce Ingram received a weird gift from Carter.

A mummified hand wearing a bracelet with a phrase inscribed on it.


Cursed be, he who moves my body shortly after Ingram’s.

Estate burned to the ground when he attempted to rebuild the home.

It was ravaged by a flood.

It is the feeling that if you violate a Pharaoh’s tomb, your the committing sacrilege blasphemy and you’re doing a terrible thing, but the Mystique of the curse just fed the Mania for information about Tut newspapers.


Covered the curse extensively with headlines, like superstitious fear, Voodoo, for those who disturb Pharaoh sleep and carnarvon.

Dead priest says, curse is loosed from King Tut’s tomb.

When the dust had settled and the excavation was over the artifacts from King Tut’s, tomb were housed mostly in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.


But then in 1976, more than 50 artifacts from Tut’s, tomb, were loaded onto a US, Navy ship and sent to the states.

The artifacts were Bound for art museums across the u.s.

For a new Bling exhibit called the treasures of Tutankhamun.


The exhibition had been hastily arranged two years before by the state department.

They’ve been looking for a way to show off the new friendship.

President, Richard Nixon had established with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat after years of tension.

Solidified during a 1974 trip to Cairo to president of Egypt and the United States meeting together.


We cement the Nations of a new relationship, Nixon would resign two months after this trip, but he inadvertently set.

The stage for King Tut’s new afterlife to begin many of the treasures of King Tut’s.


Why don’t you for the first time ever in America shook from the Cairo Museum in Egypt to the National Gallery in Washington DC?

DC was the first stop on this megator.

Troodon comma.

Oh boy pharaoh of Egypt has sent Washington right on its ear lines snakes around the block to get into the exhibit and it wasn’t just the normies.


Going crazy for Tut.

Robert Redford has been here and Elizabeth Taylor.

The Rockefellers.

The Kissinger’s, I saw mrs.

Mondale in there, a few minutes ago after all these years thirty three centuries.


This Egyptian boy is a bigger.

Or even any of them.

The exhibit was so popular, the National Gallery and DC even had to repair its floors because of all the foot traffic for two and a half years.


The Tut exhibit traveled making its way from DC to Chicago to New Orleans.

I don’t think anything will ever equal that pendemonium frantic excitement the King Tut generated New Orleans on to Los Angeles.


The Tut exhibit opens here tomorrow with the run through mid-june once Ask the traffic, the money making schemes and the other hype that surrounds.

It visitors should find this display.

A very, very memorable one.

And finally to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the treasures of Tutankhamun is already sold out for its entire run at the Metropolitan Museum.


When sales opened in September.

All 900,000 general, admission tickets went in four and a half days.

I was fortunate to be just the right age a curious, you know, 10 year old or something and see it and and you were struck journalist.


David camera members attending the A bit as a child, when it traveled to the met in New York, he wrote about the Mania surrounding the tour for Vanity Fair.

It was a status symbol like being able to get into Studio 54.

Part of, it was the hype because anything you waited on a line for your kind of expecting to see something great, but it didn’t disappoint.


Either at the Met the exhibit, got some, especially theatrical staging exclusive to the New York.

Stop on the tour enter if you dare.

It was presented in dark rooms to kind of recreate the sensation of being Howard Carter.


Going down into the tomb where it’s dark and spooky in the hall shimmering artifacts.

Including Tut’s Famous Golden funerary mask depicting Osiris the god of the afterlife and topped with the Royal Insignia of the Cobra.


And so there was an element of almost a Halloween.

And you know like going, you know, you’re meant to be spooked by the process of walking through this exhibition.


There was a lot of love for King Tut and huge interest in seeing ancient Egyptian culture on display museums quickly realized that interest could make them a Kings Fortune.


The treasures of Tutankhamun exhibition was actually the first one for which museums established gift shops.

Meaning not just like little stands with trinkets, but The whole idea of the museum gift shop which is now both a wonderful thing and a huge Revenue stream for major museums was born from this, the Metropolitan Museum had everything from refrigerator magnets and and booklets to really expensive things.


And to this day, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is selling Tut stuff and still making money off of it.

One of the great art exhibits ever to tour, the United States is the treasures of Tutankhamun or King Tut.


That’s Steve Martin on Saturday Night Live In 1978.

But I think it’s a National Disgrace.

The way we have commercialized it with Trinkets and toys t-shirts and posters Harry being the rabbit consumerism, that came along with tut Mania.


He gave his life for twins.

Ironically though, this song went on to make quite a bit of money to selling a million copies.

It seemed anything King Tut touched turned to gold, or I guess Platinum.


I’ve made the joke that there was so much labor and thought that went into Tutankhamun’s burial by the people.

He ruled over in Egypt for the afterlife and the joke is that they were right about an afterlife, but it wasn’t the afterlife.


They were thinking about it.

Was this celebrity after life in the 20th century when King Tut’s as opposed to the actual king, became this archaeological celebrity that people would queue up for outside of museums.

The tour was obviously a smashing success, all told the tour and everything surrounding it is estimated to have pumped, a hundred and eleven million dollars into the New York City economy alone.


The Egyptian government, however, profited significantly Less in the end, the tour raised, nine million dollars for Egypt which was certainly useful especially for a much-needed refurbishing of the Egyptian Museum, but it was obviously a tiny fraction of the money injected into the US economy.


I mean, if I was the agents for Egypt, I would ask to renegotiate reopen those negotiations.

You’d think the story of King Tut would be a story.

That’s mostly about Egyptians about learning about history and respecting culture.


But so much of what happened to Tut’s tomb is actually about westerners and the things they were taking away from Egypt, Carter was relentless in his search because he wanted the glory carnarvon wanted riches.


And so did those American cities and museums even Steve, Martin all Of them westerners who got rich off of Tut.

I think that another aspect of the curse is a way to rationalize guilty feelings about imperialism about, who are we, as westerners, you know, English men and American archaeologist to claim our right to open up an Egyptian tomb, you know, on the continent of Africa, in fact, the entire idea of the curse was made up.


By Europeans, it’s not Egyptian at all shocker, right?

The Western world has been so eager to claim Tut and other ancient Egyptian artifacts as its own as part of an idealized Global culture.


Are this idea that it’s everyone’s history.

There is still significant debate today about where artifact should live and who owns them.

There’s this Western fantasy of ancient Egypt, golden and Gilda.

And then there are the real people.


Tut is a reminder that so much, life has come before us life filled with beautiful, wonderful things, cloth woven Pottery shaped flowers placed by Loving Hands.

There’s an Impulse to reach for those things to grab them, to keep them for oneself, but I’m not convinced that we all get equal claim to them.


These artifacts they come from a specific place from a specific time diluting or removing that context to me feels historically dishonest, you know, the historian.

Daniel Meyerson says Howard Carter learned this one really important part of archaeology an artifact found in its original context, is always more valuable than one found.


After it’s been removed, you get a much richer.

Our understanding of the place you’re exploring without that context.

You don’t get the full story of the artifact.

You lose its specificity.

You lose some of its Essence and it feels to me like King Tut got removed from his context, from his culture and got stripped of his Essence to satisfy this larger appetite for.


Aw, If there really is a curse of the Pharaohs meant to protect the Entombed, I don’t think it worked.


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