When Carter discovered his tomb, Tutankhamen was probably the most famous son-in-law in ancient Egypt's history. At the time of the excavation, archaeologists believed the young pharaoh had married into the royal family through his union with Ankhesenpaaton, the daughter of Nefertiti and Akhenaton, and became king in 1334 BC.(7) Akhenaton was the first pharaoh to declare that his subjects worship one god, the Aten or (Aton),(8)and he began the Amarna period of Egypt, which was marked by great discontent among the people of Egypt, as well as deterioration of the Egyptian empire.(9) As the heir to Akhenaton, Tutankhamen was originally named Tutankhaten, but in a pivotal move returned his people to a polytheistic rule during his second year as pharaoh. Scholars now know that Tutankhamen was actually the son of Akhenaton and possibly another wife, Kiya.(10) Tutankhamen ruled for about nine years, although his relative Ay and the general Horemheb likely ruled for him most of the time, before he died at about 16 or 17.(11) By the time Carter and his team of excavators found Tutankhamen, he had been dead for over 3,000 years.


(7) A.C. Mace. quoted in Wonderful Things: The Discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976. xx.

(8) Nicholas Reeves. The Complete Tutankhamun. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990. 18.

(9) Mace, xx.

(10) Reeves, 24.

(11) Reeves, 24.

Tutankhamen Links

National Geographic's Site on Tutankham en

Compton Encyclopedia's Entry

Tutankhamen Web site--nice graphics

Discovery Channel's Offerings


Picture Sources: Black and White photos taken by Harry Burton can be found in: Carter, Howard. The Tomb of Tutankhamen. New York: George H. Doran Company, 1927: 91. and the first picture as well as the plan are in Wonderful Things: The Discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976: 2, xxviii.


Uncovering Tutankhamen I The Boy King I Buried Treasure I Metropolitan Connections I Cinematic Contributions Stop the Presses I Literary Illusions I Fashion is King I Americans Abroad I Main