Page last updated at 23:06 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Tutankhamun finder's home on show

By Yolande Knell
BBC News, Luxor

The tomb of Tutankhamun was very well preserved

The Egyptian mud-brick house of British archaeologist Howard Carter has been re-opened as a museum.

Carter was living in the house 87 years ago when he made his most famous discovery, the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.

He had been employed by collector Lord Carnarvon to search for the tomb of the then relatively unknown pharaoh.

Relatives of Carter and his patron were among the first visitors to the newly-renovated property.

"This is where the two men spent long winter months over many years," said the modern-day Lord Carnarvon.

"It is poignant to come back.

"My great-grandfather was so persistent and determined to find objects of beauty and Howard Carter was such a great organiser, draughtsman and scholar."

'Unlocking secrets'

The museum displays tools Carter used in excavations and a collection of photographs of work under way.

Howard Carter's office
Visitors can see the office in Carter's home where he catalogued his finds

It was in November 1922 that the archaeologist made his extraordinary find.

It proved to be the most intact and best preserved tomb ever discovered in the Valley of the Kings.

It was packed with over 5,000 treasures - including the boy king's golden burial mask.

Carter continued to live at the house for some time after the tomb was uncovered, meticulously cataloguing the contents.

He worked in his office and laboratory on the site.

"Howard had a dedication to applying scientific techniques of the day to the discovery," says Stuart Carter, who has looked into his great-uncle's life.

"He spent from 1922 when the tomb was discovered to 1931 or so unlocking the secrets of the tomb."

Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said it had decided to renovate the property and turn it into a museum to satisfy visitors' continuing fascination with Carter and to celebrate his contribution to Egyptology.

"It was time to take good care of his house," says Mustapha Al-Wazeri, director of the Valley of the Kings.

"We have thousands of tourists coming every day and all their guides point to the Carter house. Many people asked us if they could take a look."

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