Travelling in Edwardian style - the 5th Earl relaxes in Egypt
In total the Earl spent 15 years sponsoring and excavating in Egypt and by 1922 he had spend some £50,000 - 10 million pounds in today's money. The Earl was seriously thinking of giving up funding anymore projects having sold three of the four estates he had inherited. He informed Carter that he would not fund another season - a desperate Carter said he would fund it himself. Carnarvon knew that this would bankrupt his old friend, and touched by Carter's willingness to risk everything he owned, the Earl agreed to pay for one last season.
The gamble paid off. Carter sent the following cable to Carnarvon "At last have made wonderful discovery in the Valley. A magnificent tomb with seals intact. Await your arrival. Congratulations."
The Earl arrived by train in Luxor on the 25th January 1923 to prepare for the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb. The tomb was finally opened on the 17th February which as we now know was packed with rooms full of priceless treasurers. Having only seen a small fraction of the wonderful artefacts within the tomb, 7 weeks later on the 5th April Carnarvon died of blood poisoning from an infected mosquito bite. In all it took Carter a further 10 years to unpack the tomb.
It was said that at the moment of Carnarvon's death all the lights went out in Cairo - not an unusual event it still happens regularly today. That back in England his dog, Susie, howled and died in the same instant. However, most of the facts surrounding his death were simply invented, much of it sensationalism created by the press. One newspaper printed a curse reportedly found in the tomb, but there was no such curse. There was an inscription found on an Anubis that stated: "It is I who hinder the sand from choking the secret chamber. I am for the protection of the deceased." However, one reporter added his own words to the inscription: "and I will kill all those who cross this threshold into the sacred precincts of the Royal King who lives forever."
Anubis was one of many Egyptian gods. He was usually portrayed as a human with a jackals head or sometimes in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail. He protected the dead on their journey to the afterlife.
Let us now head up the grand stately driveway to the very portals of the 5th Earl's castle back in England.
A house which will be familiar to many of you, home to the current 8th Earl of Carnavon.
Highclere Castle alias Downton Abbey
Now you know the story, albeit brief, should you have the opportunity to visit the castle then you can see the 5th Earls extensive Egyptian collection displayed throughout the cellars of the Castle. The treasures from Tutankhamen's tomb are housed in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
This post is the result of a request by Val at the blog Val's Alentejo.
Note: Regarding the architecture of Highclere Castle, and without peeking further down the post, I wonder if any of you have noticed its similarity to another iconic British building?
Egypt is a place where you can have strange experiences and adventures especially if you travel around under your own steam as H and I did. However, you do need to keep your wits about you. I have only been there once but H has visited several times when he worked for the UN. One day I will endeavour to write down some of the unusual things that happened to us
The Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, our Houses of Parliament
It is no coincidence that the buildings bare a strong resemblance to one another they were both designed by the Victorian architect, Charles Barry.