Birthday Celebrate by Google May 9, 2012.
Beginning of Career
Howard Carter was born in London, England, the son of Samuel Carter, a skilled artist, who trained him to follow in his footsteps, and Martha Joyce (Sands) Carter.
In 1891, at the age of 17, a talented young artist, he was sent out to Egypt by the Egypt Exploration Fund to assist Percy Newberryin the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan. Even at that young age he was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration. In 1892 he worked under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie for one season at Amarna, the capital founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten. From 1894 to 1899 he then worked with Édouard Naville at Deir el-Bahari, where he recorded the wall reliefs in the temple of Hatshepsut.
In 1899, Carter was appointed the first chief inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service (EAS). He supervised a number of excavations at Thebes (now known as Luxor) before he was transferred in 1904 to the Inspectorate of Lower Egypt. Carter resigned from the Antiquities Service in 1905 after an enquiry into an affray (known as the Saqqara Affair) between Egyptian site guards and a group of French tourists in which he sided with the Egyptian personnel.
Tomb of Tutankhamun
After three hard years, Carter was employed by Lord Carnarvon to supervise his excavations from 1907. The intention of Gaston Maspero, who introduced the two, was to ensure that Carter imposed modern archaeological methods and systems of recording.
Carnarvon financed Carter’s work in the Valley of the Kings from 1914, but it was interrupted by World War I until 1917, when serious work was resumed. After several years of fruitless searching, Carnarvon became dissatisfied with the lack of results and, in 1922, he gave Carter one more season of funding to find the tomb he was searching for.
On 4 November 1922, Carter’s excavation group found the steps leading toTutankhamun’s tomb (subsequently designated KV62), by far the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings. He wired Carnarvon to come, and on 26 November 1922, with Carnarvon, Carnarvon’s daughter, and others in attendance, Carter made the “tiny breach in the top left hand corner” of the doorway, and was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He made the breach into the tomb with a chisel his grandmother had given him for his seventeenth birthday. She knew he would one day make an amazing archaeological discovery. He did not yet know at that point whether it was “a tomb or merely a cache”, but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked “can you see anything?”, Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things.”.
The next several months were spent cataloging the contents of the antechamber under the ‘often stressful’ oversight of Pierre Lacau, director general of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt. On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway, and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber, and he got his first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. All of these discoveries were eagerly covered by the world’s press, but most of their representatives were kept in their hotels; only H. V. Morton was allowed on the scene, and his vivid descriptions helped to cement Carter’s reputation with the British public.
Carter’s own notes and photographic evidence, indicate that he, Lord Carnarvon and Lady Evelyn Herbert entered the burial chamber shortly after the tomb’s discovery and before the official opening.
Later Work and Death
The clearance of the tomb with its thousands of objects continued until 1932. Following his sensational discovery, Howard Carter retired from archaeology and became a part-time agent for collectors and museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts. He visited the United States in 1924, and gave a series of illustrated lectures in New York City and other cities in the United States that were attended by very large and enthusiastic audiences, sparkingEgyptomania in America.
He died of lymphoma, a type of cancer, in Kensington, London, on 2 March 1939 at the age of 64. The archaeologist’s (natural) death so long after the opening of the tomb, despite being the leader of the expedition, is the piece of evidence most commonly put forward by sceptics to refute the idea of a “curse of the pharaohs” plaguing the party that violated Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Carter is buried in the Putney Vale Cemetery in London. On his gravestone is written: “May your spirit live, May you spend millions of years, You who love Thebes, Sitting with your face to the north wind, Your eyes beholding happiness” and “O night, spread thy wings over me as the imperishable stars”.
In popular culture
Film and television
Carter has been portrayed by the following actors:
- John Cleese in the 1970 TV sketch comedy Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Archaeology Today.
- Robin Ellis in the 1980 Columbia Pictures Television production The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb
- Pip Torrens in the 1992 Lucasfilm TV movie Young Indiana Jones and the Curse of the Jackal.
- Pip Torrens in the 1995 Lucasfilm TV movie Young Indiana Jones and the Treasure of the Peacock’s Eye
- Timothy Davies in the 1998 IMAX documentary Mysteries of Egypt
- Stuart Graham in the 2005 BBC docudrama Egypt
He appears as a character throughout most of the Amelia Peabody series of books by ‘Elizabeth Peters’ (a pseudonym of Egyptologist Dr Barbara Mertz); and in much of Arthur Phillips’s The Egyptologist.
In the book The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq he is a key character.
He appears as a main character in A Cloudy Day on the West Side, a novel by Egyptian writer Muhammad Al-Mansi Qindeel.
James Patterson and Martin Dugard’s book “The Murder of King Tut” focuses on Carter’s search for King Tut’s tomb.
He is referenced in Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin, The Seven Crystal Balls published in 1944 by Le Soir. ISBN 2-203-00112-7
He is referenced in Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Guhrke. In this historical romance novel, Carter’s telegram to the fictional British Egyptologist the Duke of Sunderland reports discovering “steps to a new tomb” and creates a climatic conflict. Published 2011 by Avon Books. ISBN 978-0-06-196315-5 
In Search of the Pharaohs - a 30-minute cantata for narrator, junior choir and piano by composer Robert Steadman, commissioned by the City of London Freemen’s School which uses extracts from Carter’s diaries as its text.
The Finnish metal band Nightwish mentions Carter in the song “Tutankhamen” on its debut album Angels Fall First: “For Carter has come / To free my beloved”.
A paraphrased extract from Howard Carter’s diary of 26 November 1922 is used as the plaintext for Part 3 of the encrypted Kryptos sculpture at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Google made a tribute to Howard Carter on his 138th birthday with a Google doodle.
- James, T. G. H. Howard Carter, I.B.Tauris Publishers, Revised edition 2006, ISBN:978-1845112585, chapter “Saqqara Affair”.^ Winstone, H. V. F. (2006).
- Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (rev. ed.). Manchester: Barzan. ISBN 1-905521-04-9.
- David, Elisabeth (1999). Gaston Maspero 1846-1916: le gentleman égyptologue. Paris: Pygmalion; Gérard Watelet. ISBN 2-85704-565-4.
- James, T. G. H. (1992). Howard Carter: the path to Tutankhamun. London: Kegan Paul. ISBN 0-7103-0425-0.
- Carnarvon, Fiona (2011). Highclere Castle. Highclere Enterprises. p. 59.
- Lord Carnarvon’s description, 10 December 1922, quoted in: Reeves, Nicholas; Taylor, John H. (1992). Howard Carter before Tutankhamun. London: British Museum. p. 141. ISBN 0-7141-0952-5.
- Wikipedia – French edition
- Reeves, C. N. (1990). Valley of the Kings: the decline of a royal necropolis. London: Kegan Paul. p. 63. ISBN 0710303688.
- “Howard Carter, 64, Egyptologist, Dies”. The New York Times.
- “Putney Vale cemetery”. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
- from the Wishing Cup of Tutankhamun
- cf the prayer to the Goddess Nut found on the lids of New Kingdom coffins: “O my mother Nut, spread yourself over me, so that I may be placed among the imperishable stars and may never die.” ”Text From Egypt Centre Trail: Reflections Of Women In Ancient Egypt”. 2001. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- “Howard Carter (Character)”. IMDb.com. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- The Tutankhamun Affair Retrieved 23 May 2009
- Book reviews Retrieved 17 March 2010
- Patterson, Dugard, James, Martin (2010). The Murder of King Tut. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-53977-7.
- Redmond, J.; Ensor, D. (19 June 2005). ”Cracking the code: Mysterious ‘Kryptos’ sculpture challenges CIA employees”. CNN.
- Howard Carter Google Doodle 2012