When the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922, it caused a sensation. The nearly intact tomb was a time capsule waiting to be explored, allowing scholars to gain vital information about life and death in ancient Egypt. When British Egyptologist Howard Carter stumbled upon the tomb in the Valley of the Kings, no one could have known what riches awaited them inside. Luckily, photographer Harry Burton was on hand, documenting the excavation of King Tut’s tomb for eight years.
These incredible images, which have been colorized by Dynamichrome, give an unparalleled overview of the excavation. The photographs are a complement to Carter’s diaries and journals, where he recorded his impressions throughout the excavation. Reading his words and looking at the photos, it’s hard not to be drawn into this piece of history.
“It was sometime before one could see, the hot air escaping caused the candle to flicker, but as soon as one’s eyes became accustomed to the glimmer of light the interior of the chamber gradually loomed before one, with its strange and wonderful medley of extraordinary and beautiful objects heaped upon one another,” Carter wrote in his journal of the moment when they were able to open the tomb’s second door and step inside for the first time.
Burton’s photographs not only show the wealth of objects—from animal-shaped statues and vases to garments and musical instruments—but also the working environment of the archeologists. Some photographs show how the objects were tagged and arranged meticulously, while others picture the team carefully wrapping and conserving these precious treasures.