By Judy Berman
Howard Carter’s candle flickered in the darkened tomb. He could see only small bits of it at a time.
It was 1922. For more than 3,000 years, it had been hidden. The tomb in the Valley of the Kings was nearly intact.
Tomb robbers had trashed a portion of the tomb in search of gold. But Carter, Lord Carnarvon (who financed the search), Carnarvon’s daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert, and Carter’s assistant, A. R. Callender, also saw incredible wealth: a gold burial mask, statues, jewelry, chariots, weapons and a solid-gold coffin.
What they’d found was the tomb of a nearly forgotten Egyptian pharaoh – the boy king. King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, was 9 years old when he became pharaoh and reigned about 10 years from 1332 B.C. to 1323 B.C.
On the third floor of a museum in Cocoa Beach, Steve Cayer has captured that scene inside the tomb, and he hopes to open it to the public this summer.
“I took pictures of the actual tomb, and we duplicated it for Al (Rao) to paint,” said Cayer, the curator of the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures.
Cayer said the people who pilfered the chamber were the ones who built it. They took the gold and jewelry, and broke pottery to see what was in them. Then, they sealed it and no one knew of its existence.
Until Carter’s discovery, Tut was almost unknown.
“There was almost no record of his life anywhere in Egypt, except on the walls of his tomb,” according to National Geographic’s website.
The burial site contains a stone sarcophagus with King Tutankhamun’s solid-gold coffin and two smaller coffins that are believed to contain his stillborn daughters.
Even more mysterious is how Tutankhamun died. That is still being investigated today.
In a nearby display case, Queen Nefertiti gazes down on the visitors in the museum. The replica, like the original in the Egyptian museum, was never finished. It has only one eye painted and an incomplete ear.
The Tourist Development Council helped finalize the money to buy the Egyptian exhibits in St. Louis before it returned to Cairo.
“I packed the stuff myself. It took two days,” Cayer said of the museum-quality exhibits.
The museum also features the famous trenches of Terra Cotta warriors. There is a painting of them on the wall, and Cayer aims to obtain replicas – about a dozen – of the soldiers.
When you walk thru the third floor, you also will see a replica of a sacrificial area from MesoAmerica, the Mayan culture. The work on this began seven years ago. It’s built in stages and then assembled here.
The tour thru these exhibits was exciting. I can’t wait to see the completed product.
What’s the coolest place you have ever visited or still hope to see?
Link to Steve Martin’s “King Tut” video on Saturday Night Live: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=127426280679189&set=vb.143791135690959&type=2&theater
Photo: King Tutankhamun – replica of his tomb – not yet open to the public – at the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida. photo by Judy Berman
Photo – King Tut’s death mask replica at the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida. Photo by Judy Berman
Photo: Terracotta Army of First Emperor – author airunp http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/Xian_guerreros_terracota_detalle.JPG/640px-Xian_guerreros_terracota_detalle.JPG
Photo: Nefertiti bust – Agyptisches Museum (Egyptian Museum, Berlin), Dec. 28, 2005 – taken by Magnus Manske (The Nefertiti bust in the Cocoa museum was excellent, my photo did not reflect that. So I chose to use the Berlin museum photo. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Nefertiti_bust_%28front%29.jpg/450px-Nefertiti_bust_%28front%29.jpg
Fore more information:
KingTutOne.com – King Tut the boy pharaoh http://www.kingtutone.com/tutankhamun/information/
King Tut’s Tomb http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/king-tuts-tomb
Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida http://www.museumofdinosaurs.org/