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Discovering Tutankhamun in colour

Harry Burton's photographs taken during the excavation of the Tomb of Tutankhamun reconstructed in colour by Dynamichrome (2015) and Composite Films (2020)

Harry Burton's photographs capturing Tutankhamun's tomb at the moment of its discovery have enthralled the world for generations, enabling the viewer to witness the 'Wonderful Things' the discoverers of the tomb, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon, were fortunate to experience first-hand. Burton's iconic black & white photographs have illustrated the imagination of millions for almost a century.

A selection of the original negatives and photographs, housed in the archive of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford, has been digitally colourised. The first set of colourised images were produced by Dynamichrome on behalf of SC Exhibitions and the Griffith Institute. These images were first featured in the exhibition 'The Discovery of King Tut', New York, November 2015 to May 2016.
The second set were commissioned by Blakeway Productions and colourised by Composite Films. These images were first used in the BBC documentary 'Tutankhamun in Colour', first broadcast in 2020.

Please note that the Griffith Institute owns the copyright for all the black & white scans created from the original Harry Burton negatives and the colourised versions. High-resolution scans are available—address email enquiries to griffith.institute@orinst.ox.ac.uk. For further details on image prices and licenses, see here. All images to be acknowledged as © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford.

All © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome, 2015)

Burton photograph 7 Burton photograph 7
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | View of the northern wall of the Antechamber showing the sentinel statues (Carter nos. 22 & 29) guarding the sealed doorway leading to the King's Burial Chamber | Burton photograph 0007 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 9 Burton photograph 9
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Objects, including the cow-headed couch (Carter no. 73) and boxes containing joints of meat (Carter nos. 62a to 62vv) piled up against the west wall of the Antechamber. | Burton photograph 0009 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 10 Burton photograph 10
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Sealed alabaster 'unguent' vases (Carter nos. 57, 58, 60 and 61) between the cow-headed (Carter no. 73) and lion (Carter no. 35) couches against the west wall of the Antechamber. | Burton photograph 0010 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 12 Burton photograph 12
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Disassembled chariots and the 'Toeris' (Ammut) (Carter no. 137) and cow-headed couches (Carter no. 73) at the southern end of the Antechamber. | Burton photograph 0012 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 19 Burton photograph 19
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | The rectangular white box (Carter no. 50), in front of the lion couch (Carter no. 35) in the Antechamber, contained, amongst other items, linen garments (shirts, shawls and loin cloths), 18 sticks, 69 arrows and a trumpet. | Burton photograph 0019 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 20 Burton photograph 20
December 1922, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Objects stacked under the lion couch (Carter no. 35) against the west wall of the Antechamber included an ivory and ebony chest (Carter no. 32), black 'shrine-shaped boxes' (Carter nos. 37 and 38) and a child's chair made of ebony (Carter no. 39). | Burton photograph 0020 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 291 Burton photograph 291
16th February 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | One of only two images showing Howard Carter (on the left) and Lord Carnarvon together in the tomb; they stand in the partially dismantled doorway (Carter no. 28) between the Antechamber and the Burial Chamber. Lord Carnarvon died less than two months after this photograph was taken. | Burton photograph 0291 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 491 Burton photograph 491
29th November 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter (on the left) working with his friend and colleague Arthur Callender on wrapping one of two sentinel statues of Tutankhamun (Carter no. 22) found in the Antechamber, before their removal to the 'laboratory' set up in the tomb of Sethos II (KV 15). These statues had been placed either side of the sealed entrance to the Burial Chamber. | Burton photograph 0491 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 493 Burton photograph 493
January 1924, Sethos II's Tomb ('laboratory') | Arthur Mace (standing) and Alfred Lucas (sitting) working inside the makeshift 'laboratory' (set up in KV 15, the tomb of Sethos II) on the conservation of one of the two sentinel statues from the Antechamber (Carter no. 22). The statue shows the King wearing the nemes headdress, kilt and sandals, and carrying a mace and a staff. | Burton photograph 0493 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 509 Burton photograph 509
2nd December 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter (at the top of the stairs), Arthur Callender and Egyptian workmen removing the wall between the Antechamber and the Burial Chamber to enable the dismantling of the four golden shrines enclosing the sarcophagus. | Burton photograph 0509 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 517 Burton photograph 517
November/December 1923, Sethos II's Tomb ('laboratory') | Arthur Mace (left) and Alfred Lucas working outside the 'laboratory' set up in the tomb of Sethos II (KV 15), removing solidified paraffin wax droplets from one of the gilded chariots (Carter no. 120) found in the Antechamber. During the clearance of Tutankhamun's tomb, the excavation team's conservators used gallons of this wax, which was heated and then applied while liquid, to stabilise and protect objects, especially those with gilded and inlaid decoration. Once this final conservation task was complete, the team wrapped and crated each object, ready for its transport to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. | Burton photograph 0517 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 605 Burton photograph 605
December 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter (centre), Arthur Callender and two Egyptian workmen lifting one roof section from the first, outermost shrine (Carter no. 207). With its double sloping roof, the shape of this shrine resembles that of a 'sed festival pavilion'; it was made of from twenty separate oak sections, held together by a variety of different joints. | Burton photograph 0605 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 616 Burton photograph 616
December 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | The linen pall, decorated with bronze 'rosettes' (Carter no. 209) inside the walls of the first (outermost) golden shrine (Carter no. 207) in the north west corner of the Burial Chamber. | Burton photograph 0616 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 619 Burton photograph 619
30th December 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter (left), Arthur Mace and an Egyptian workman standing on scaffolding, roll back the linen pall (Carter no. 209) which lay over a gilded, wooden frame (Carter no. 208) between the first (outermost) and second shrines. | Burton photograph 0619 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 643 Burton photograph 643
4th January 1923, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter (kneeling), Arthur Callender and an Egyptian workman in the Burial Chamber, looking through the open doors of the four gilded shrines towards the quartzite sarcophagus. | Burton photograph 0643 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 720-2 Burton photograph 720-2
October 1925, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Howard Carter working on the lid of the second (middle) coffin, still nestled within the case of the first (outermost) coffin in the Burial Chamber. | Burton photograph 0720-2 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 744 Burton photograph 744
29th/30th October 1925, Tutankhamun's Tomb | The gold mask (Carter no. 256a) in situ on the mummy of the King, still inside the third (innermost) solid gold coffin (Carter no. 255). | Burton photograph 0744 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 770 Burton photograph 770
29th/30th October 1925, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Carter and an Egyptian workman examine the third (innermost) coffin (Carter no. 255) made of solid gold, inside the case of the second coffin. (Carter no. 254). | Burton photograph 0770 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 1091 Burton photograph 1091
October 1926, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Three wooden chests (the middle one in the shape of a cartouche) on the floor of the Treasury (Carter nos. 267, 269 and 270). Amongst other items these contained earrings, sandals and a wax model of a heron. | Burton photograph 1091 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 1097b Burton photograph 1097b
November 1926, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Objects, including numerous model boats (Carter nos. 284 to 287), stacked against the southern wall of the Treasury. | Burton photograph 1097b © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 1169 Burton photograph 1169
October 1926, Tutankhamun's Tomb | The Anubis shrine (Carter no. 261) on the threshold of the Treasury viewed from the Burial Chamber. The figure of Anubis was covered with a linen shirt inscribed with the cartouche of Akhenaten. | Burton photograph 1169 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 1665 Burton photograph 1665
Winter 1926, Tutankhamun's Tomb | Statuettes of Geb (Carter no. 299), Sakhmet (no. 300), Kebehsenuf and Duamutef (no. 304) from inside black, wooden shrines found against the eastern wall of the Treasury. | Burton photograph 1665 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph 1961 Burton photograph 1961
October 1926, Tutankhamun's Tomb | A line of chests down the centre of the Treasury, ending with the canopic chest (Carter no. 266) which housed the king's linen-wrapped stomach, intestines, liver and lungs in miniature gold coffins, inside an alabaster canopic box. | Burton photograph 1961 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Burton photograph kv93 Burton photograph kv93
Herbert George Edward Stanhope Molyneux, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, reading on the verandah of 'Castle Carter', Carter's house at Elwat el-Dibbân on the Theban West Bank. | Burton photograph kv93 © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.4.10 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.4.10
1923, Thebes | Tourists crowd around the entrance to the tomb to watch a large object, possibly a couch from the Antechamber, being removed from Tutankhamun's tomb, on its way to the workroom (tomb KV 15, of Sethos II). | Photograph TAA ii.4.10 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.4.38 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.4.38
1923, Thebes, | Howard Carter accompanies the wooden portrait figure of Tutankhamun (the so-called mannequin, Carter no. 116, of uncertain purpose) on its way to the workroom (tomb KV 15, of Sethos II). Sitting on the wall on the left is Lord Carnarvon; behind him walks Arthur Weigall, a former Antiquities Service Inspector. | Photograph TAA ii.4.38 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.17 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.17
1923, Thebes | Howard Carter escorting an ornamental gilt and inlaid casket (no. 44) to the workroom (tomb KV 15, of Sethos II). Carter thought the contents of this box had been 'gathered hastily together after the robbery was discovered and thrown carelessly into the box'. They included pieces of gold openwork, two adzes, a glove, a faience collar and a leopard skin robe. | Photograph TAA.ii.6.17 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.20 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.20
1923, Thebes | Howard Carter (on the left) accompanies the body of one of Tutankhamun's chariots (no. 122) to the workroom (KV 15, of Sethos II). Made of wood, with rawhide tyres, this chariot was highly decorated with gold, coloured glass and stone inlay, and probably used on ceremonial occasions. | Photograph TAA ii.6.20 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.28 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.28
1923, Thebes | Objects from the tomb were packed into wooden crates and transported from the workroom (tomb KV 15, of Sethos II) to the banks of the Nile for transportation to Cairo by boat. Although a relatively short distance from the laboratory to the river, the journey by hand-pushed Decauville railway cars took 15 hours. | Photograph TAA ii.6.28 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.59 Tutankhamun Archive photograph ii.6.59
1923, Thebes | Standing outside tomb KV 6, of Ramesses IX, are (left to right) Arthur Callender, Arthur Mace, Harry Burton, Howard Carter, Alan Gardiner and Alfred Lucas. | Photograph TAA.ii.6.59 (photographer not known) © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Dynamichrome)

© Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films, 2020)

Carter MSS i.J.347 Carter MSS i.J.347
Carter-Carnarvon excavations in the Valley of the Kings: 1917
7 December 1917 | Valley of the Kings
Howard Carter's photograph records the removal of debris in the vicinity of the tomb of King Merneptah (KV 8), Valley of the Kings. Taken during the second excavation season, which took place between 1 December 1917 and 2 February 1918, this dig spot was some distance from the still-hidden entrance of Tutankhamun's tomb, some 170 metres away.
Carter MSS i.J.347 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Carter MSS i.J.331 Carter MSS i.J.331
Carter-Carnarvon excavations in the Valley of the Kings: 1918
30 January 1918 | Valley of the Kings
Howard Carter's photograph documents the remains of ancient workers' huts near the tomb of King Ramesses VI (KV 9), Valley of the Kings. The entrance to Tutankhamun's tomb lay buried beneath several metres of limestone chippings created during the cutting of the nearby tomb of Ramesses VI, some 150 years after the burial of Tutankhamun. The workers then built their huts on top of the mined debris.
Carter MSS i.J.331 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 274 Burton photograph 274
The sealed outer doorway of Tutankhamun's tomb
24 November 1922 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
The outer doorway of Tutankhamun's tomb, "with seals intact".
Burton photograph 0274 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 276 Burton photograph 276
Fragment with seals from the outer doorway
1923 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
A section from the blocking sealing the tomb's outer doorway (Carter no. 4), its mud-plastered surface bears stamped impressions of the official necropolis seals and Tutankhamun's cartouche.
Burton photograph 0276 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 4 Burton photograph 4
The ancient robbers' tunnel
25 November 1922 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Howard Carter's photograph of the backfilled entrance corridor in Tutankhamun's tomb documents one of the ancient robbers' tunnels, seen here at the top left, evidence that the tomb had been entered and likely robbed in antiquity. The coarser dark flint and chert materials used by the necropolis priests to close the breach starkly contrast with the original fill of fine white limestone chippings.
Burton photograph 0004 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph kv14 Burton photograph kv14
Sixteen steps
December 1922 or early 1923 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
This photograph was taken on the spot where the sealed entrance doorway was uncovered on 5th November 1922. Harry Burton's camera lens looks up the sixteen step staircase, towards the top step found on 4th November.
Burton photograph kv14 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 479a Burton photograph 479a
Head of Tutankhamun as the god Re
Probably between November 1923 and February 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
A ritual figure portraying the head of Tutankhamun emerging from a lotus flower (Carter no. 8), reported to have been found in the Entrance corridor.
Burton photograph 0479a | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 292 Burton photograph 292
Tutankhamun's "guardian statues"
Probably February 1923 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
The two ka statues of Tutankhamun (Carter nos. 22 and 29), often referred to as the "guardian statues", stand sentinel on either side of the Burial chamber's doorway (Carter no. 28), with some of the door's blocking still in place.
Burton photograph p0292 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 501 Burton photograph 501
Removing the Burial chamber wall
1 December 1923 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Howard Carter (on the left), assisted by an unidentified Egyptian team member, removing the partition wall to enable the dismantling of the four gilded shrines enclosing the sarcophagus. This wall, constructed from wood and masonry and covered on both sides by thick plaster, separated the Antechamber from the Burial chamber.
Burton photograph p0501 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 603 Burton photograph 603
The room-sized shrine
16 or 17 February 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Harry Burton's photograph, taken from the Antechamber through the entrance into the Burial chamber, records Tutankhamun's blue and gold outermost burial shrine (Carter no. 207) that almost entirely filled the room.
Burton photograph p0603 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 631 Burton photograph 631
The unbroken seal
3 January 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Harry Burton's photograph records the intact necropolis seal and cord fastening (Carter no. 238a) on the third (of four) great gilded shrines surrounding Tutankhamun's sarcophagus in the Burial chamber. The unbroken seal confirmed that the King's body remained undisturbed, despite the tomb having been broken into and robbed several times in antiquity.
Burton photograph p0631 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 626 Burton photograph 626
Howard Carter opening the burial shrine door
January 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Howard Carter opening the door of the second burial shrine (Carter no. 237), in Tutankhamun's Burial chamber.
Burton photograph 0626 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 634 Burton photograph 634
Lifting the gilded roof
January 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
A precarious moment, captured by Harry Burton's camera, during the removal of a roof section from the first (outermost) shrine (Carter no. 207), showing Howard Carter crouching in the centre with two Egyptian team members securing the hoist. The 'flatpack' form of the four gilded burial shrines surrounding Tutankhamun's sarcophagus made it easier to install them in the small room in antiquity. Dismantling the shrines in the restricted space was one of the biggest challenges the team faced during the ten-year excavation.
Burton photograph 0634 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 646f Burton photograph 646f
The sarcophagus
Mid-January 1933 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
A general view of Tutankhamun's sarcophagus (Carter no. 240) shows Isis, one of the four protective goddesses, carved in high relief on one of its corners. The goddesses' winged arms are stretched out to embrace the King. Harry Burton's photographs of the sarcophagus were the final excavation records made in the tomb.
Burton photograph 0646f | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 648 Burton photograph 648
A shrouded figure inside the sarcophagus
12 February 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
The first view inside the interior of Tutankhamun's quartzite sarcophagus (Carter no. 240) reveals a dark shrouded figure within. Harry Burton took this documentary photograph shortly after the sarcophagus lid had been lifted and removed. After completing this documentation stage, Howard Carter rolled down the linen covering to expose the King's outer anthropoid coffin (Carter no. 253).
Burton photograph 0648 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 649a Burton photograph 649a
Removing the shroud
12 February 1924 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
This photograph was probably taken moments after removing part of the shroud covering Tutankhamun's outer anthropoid coffin (Carter no. 253). The cloth piled at the end of the sarcophagus is likely part of the coffin's linen covering. Although the photographer has not captured the faces of the three team members, tentative identifications can be assigned using Arthur Mace's journal entry for the event. On the left, the south side of the sarcophagus, with his back to the camera, stands Arthur Callendar, whose elbow obscures the face of Howard Carter. On the right (north) side, with his outstretched arm and hand touching the coffin, is Mace.
Burton photograph 0649a | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 705 Burton photograph 705
Tutankhamun's outer coffin in situ inside the sarcophagus
5 February 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Tutankhamun's outer coffin (Carter no. 253), as found, inside the sarcophagus (Carter no. 240), in the King's Burial chamber.
Burton photograph 0705 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 709 Burton photograph 709
A tiny garland on the coffin's head
5 February 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
A garland on the royal insignia of cobra and vulture on the forehead of Tutankhamun's outer coffin (Carter no. 253), as found in the King's Burial chamber.
Burton photograph 0709 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 717 Burton photograph 717
The veiled middle coffin
17 October 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Howard Carter's entry in his excavation journal mentions Harry Burton taking photographs of the lid of Tutankhamun's middle coffin (Carter no. 255), commenting "early this morning Burton completed successfully the photographic records of the second coffin, covered with its shroud and floral garlands, as it rested in situ in the shell of the outermost coffin".
Burton photograph 0717 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 725 (2) Burton photograph 725 (2)
Removing Tutankhamun's middle coffin from the outer coffin
22 or 23 October 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Harry Burton's photograph records the equipment in place and ready for the delicate stage of removing the middle coffin from the lower part of the outer coffin. The team attached wire cables to the middle coffin, fixing these to the overhead scaffold, and then screwed strong metal eyelets into the top edge of the outer coffin's lower portion. After removing the planks laid on top of the sarcophagus beneath the coffins, they lowered the outer coffin case back down into the sarcophagus, freeing it from the middle coffin, now suspended on cables. The team quickly lowered the second coffin onto a wooden tray, wide enough to span the sarcophagus.
Burton photograph 0725 (2) | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 719b Burton photograph 719b
The lid of the innermost coffin revealed
24 October 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Howard Carter's journal entry describes his examination of Tutankhamun's innermost coffin lid (Carter no. 255), noting, "the first part of this morning was occupied by [Harry] Burton making photographic records of the third coffin. [After] these photographic records were made, [I was then] able to remove the linen covering and inspect for the first time the coffin itself ... it disclosed an astonishing fact - namely that this third coffin is made of solid gold".
Burton photograph 0719b | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 719c1 Burton photograph 719c1
The lid of the innermost gold coffin
Probably shortly after 21 November 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Tutankhamun's third innermost coffin (Carter no. 255) is pure gold weighing 110 kg. Like all of the King's coffins, it incorporates iconography associated with the god of the dead, Osiris; the ancient Egyptians believed the dead remanifested as the deity. Accordingly, the coffin features the god's tightly bandaged body, with face and hands exposed and wearing a ceremonial beard. Tutankhamun wears the nemes headdress, and his divine sovereignty is symbolised by the vulture and cobra insignia on his forehead and the crook and flail held in his hands.
Burton photograph 0719c1 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 939 Burton photograph 939
The Tutankhamun Examination Committee
11 November 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
The Tutankhamun Examination Committee watch as Dr Douglas Derry makes the first incision in the wrappings covering Tutankhamun's mummified body. Derry is assisted by his colleague Dr Saleh Bey Hamdi (on his right), while Pierre Lacau (left), Howard Carter (second left) and others look on.
Burton photograph 0939 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 780 Burton photograph 780
The autopsy of Tutankhamun
12 November 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
The examination and autopsy of Tutankhamun's body occurred over nine days in November 1925. The linen used to wrap the King's body was carbonised and reduced to powder. The examination committee removed the powdery remains of the cloth, to reveal the King's body protected by multiple layers of symbolic jewellery and ritual objects. Harry Burton took a series of photographs before and after each layer of items was lifted away. The photograph documents a falcon collar covering Tutankhamun's chest and a ceremonial dagger at his waist. The famous gold mask is in place over the King's head and upper chest.
Burton photograph 0780 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 1545 Burton photograph 1545
Tutankhamun's mask
Between 16 and 31 December 1925 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
Placed over the head of Tutankhamun's wrapped body, the gold mask is the most iconic object from the tomb. Harry Burton's photograph of the mask, its surfaces dulled by a layer of wax, is supported on a wooden stand. Howard Carter described the King's face as bearing a "sad but tranquil expression", commenting later that it was "suggestive of youth overtaken prematurely by death".
Burton photograph 1545 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 1189 Burton photograph 11890
An Egyptian boy wearing one of Tutankhamun's pectorals (1)
Late 1926 or early 1927 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
An Egyptian boy wearing one of Tutankhamun's pectorals (Carter no. 267g-h) from a box found in the so-called Treasury in the king's tomb. Many years later, Hussain Abd el-Rassul identified himself as the boy in the photograph. This image is one of a sequence of photos Harry Burton took of the boy wearing the same pectoral (see following)
Burton photograph 1189 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 1190 Burton photograph 1190
An Egyptian boy wearing one of Tutankhamun's pectorals (2)
Late 1926 or early 1927 | Tutankhamun's Tomb
An Egyptian boy wearing one of Tutankhamun's pectorals (Carter no. 267g-h) from a box found in the so-called Treasury in the king's tomb. Many years later, Hussain Abd el-Rassul identified himself as the boy in the photograph. This image is one of a sequence of photos Harry Burton took of the boy wearing the same pectoral (see following)
Burton photograph 1190 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph kv40 Burton photograph kv40
Carter-Carnarvon excavations in the Valley of the Kings, 1920
January 1920 | Valley of the Kings
Taken by Howard Carter during the third season of the Carnarvon-Carter excavations in the Valley of the Kings, this image captures the Egyptian workforce, which, shockingly for modern audiences, includes children. They are clearing an area between the tombs of Ramesses IV (KV 2) and Ramesses II (KV 7) and, unknowingly, are gradually working in the direction of the entrance to Tutankhamun's tomb, still concealed under several metres of debris.
Burton photograph kv40 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph 1544 Burton photograph 1544
Lunch in the tomb
16 February 1923 | Valley of the Kings
Lunch in the tomb of Ramesses XI (KV 4), this photograph was taken by Lord Carnarvon, whose seat at the head of the table (near front) is unoccupied. The diners are (left to right) James Henry Breasted, Harry Burton, Alfred Lucas, Arthur Callender, Arthur Mace, Howard Carter and Alan Gardiner.
Burton photograph 1544 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


TAA Archive ii.6.62 TAA Archive ii.6.62
The excavation team travelling by donkey to the Valley
Probably early 1923 | Valley of the Kings
Travelling by donkeys to the Valley of the Kings was the Tutankhamun excavation team's usual mode of transport since they all stayed in nearby dig houses at Thebes. From left to right are Alfred Lucas, Arthur Callender, Howard Carter and an unidentified man.
TAA Archive ii.6.62 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


TAA Archive ii.4.47 TAA Archive ii.4.47
Travelling by donkey to the Valley
Probably early 1923 | Valley of the Kings
Travelling to the Valley of the Kings was a challenge. Most journalists and tourists stayed in Luxor hotels, and to visit the tomb, they first needed to cross the Nile to the West bank by boat. It was then a five-mile journey on unmade roads to reach the Valley, so many journalists and tourists hired donkeys to take them there.
TAA Archive ii.4.47 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


Burton photograph kv15 Burton photograph kv15
Transporting objects from of the Valley of the Kings
Mid-May 1923 | Valley of the Kings
Moving crates containing objects from Tutankhamun's tomb, using a Decauville railway system, from the Valley of the Kings to the Nile bank. The crates were loaded on a barge destined for Cairo then finally transported to the Egyptian Museum.
Burton photograph kv15 | © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford (colourised by Composite Films)


(Updated: October 2022)