The Griffith Institute
University of Oxford

Excavation journals and diaries made by Howard Carter and Arthur Mace

Arthur C. Mace's excavation diaries (transcripts and scans)

1st Season, December 27th 1922 to May 13th 1923

This is Arthur Mace's journal for the 1st excavation season of the tomb of Tutankhamun which took place during Winter 1922 and Spring 1923. The events covered by this journal are the recording and conservation of the painted box (Carter object no. 21) (January 6th to February 3rd 1923), a comment on the ancient tomb robbery (March 25th 1923) and the death of Lord Carnarvon (April 5th 1923).

The journal is a small blue bound volume and measures 18.3 by 12.8 by 1 cm., a printed label has been glued to the inside front cover board and reads: "1890. "Graphic Bank Book." Manufactured by Percy Young, 131 Gower Street, W.C., London, England.". Each page is perforated along the left margin enabling the easy removal of individual pages and the journal entries are written on 19 unlined pages. TAA Archive i.4.2, pages 1 to 19. All entries are in Arthur Mace's hand.

This journal is the property of Mr David Orr who has kindly given permission to make it available on the the Griffith Institute website. The diary is currently on loan to the Archive of the Griffith Institute.

This transcript follows the format of the original document, and any insertions, deletions or duplications are indicated accordingly. Scans of the original journal pages are provided and are positioned to the right of the transcript, these are magnified by positioning the pointer on the image.

First box (21) moved out of
tomb. Contained bead garments and
sandals. Treated bad joint with
balsam and removed two sandals.

Working on painted box (21)

" " " "

Box 50 brought out, cont. cloth
and sticks.

Noting cloth garments from 50,
shirts, loin cloths etc. Tapestry
weaving.

Noting sticks from Box 50 etc.

Box 50 almost finished. Plunderers
had stripped gold bands from sticks,
and broken off all arrow heads.
Why was linen replaced ? On a bed, near
this box there were other similar
staves. ? Did this box contain
originally only staves, and was linen
packed in on top by priests.
In that case which box was linen
originally in?

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 1 (TAA iv.2.1) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 1 (TAA iv.2.1)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 1 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.1)

Gardiner over doing inscriptions.
Finished & put away Box 50. Started
working on collar from lid of 54.
This saturated with salt: first
thing so far affected that way.

Noted collar: spread out and
put in water to soak. ? How did
salt get on lid of box.

Started on Box 54.

Removed part of bead garment
from Box 21. Noted order of
bead bands. Below this full
of sandals. These badly stuck
together.

Working almost entirely on Box
21. Quite evident from state of
this that plunderers had turned
it upside down. Beaded robe
in too bad a condition to save,
so decided to preserve parts
in wax, and reconstruct whole
on new cloth.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 2 (TAA iv.2.2) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 2 (TAA iv.2.2)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 2 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.2)

Working in tomb in morning
waxing a bead hassock and
sandal. In afternoon on Box 21.
From state of tomb evident that
plunderers had left the place
all topsy turvy, & that the Priests
had made a hasty and superficial
tidy up, cramming things into any box,
regardless of former arrangement.

Market day. Worked out the
system of threading fine bands of
beadwork.

Took up beadwork hassock today.
Came out pretty solid, but will need
a lot of treatment. Crowds of
tourists and pressmen. Otherwise
working on Box 21. Contents
a hay pie, jumbled up anyhow.

Working on garments in Box 21.
Also noted imitation skin stool.

Finally worked out border
patterns of the bead robe. Took
out and noted one of the
ducks' head sandals. Part of
this sandal was bent, showing
the force with which the contents
had been pushed down into the
box.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 3 (TAA iv.2.3) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 3 (TAA iv.2.3)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 3 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.3)

Working on other bead sandals
in Box 21. Visit from Lacau.

Waxed the lid of the painted
box. Got out rest of the sandals,
the amber necklace, and some
more of the cloth. Handed in an
article for the Times.

Finished waxing lid of Box 21.
Still removing robes, at least five
with gold spangles. These probably
represent, with a robe in Box 54
the state robes.

Market Day. Stacked and
did beads.

Got up iron door on our
work tomb. Visit from four native
ministers and their wives.
Delayed working on Box 21 for a
photograph, so noted some odd
stools etc.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 4 (TAA iv.2.4) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 4 (TAA iv.2.4)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 4 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.4)

Cleared some cloth from top
of one of the beds, and found remains
of a collar underneath. Working
on that part of the morning. Rest
of the day noting stools etc.

Finished noting collar in tomb.
Found Box 21 had a false bottom,
so was able to lift all rest of
contents out together. Remains
of tapestry woven garment with
name of Tutankhamon.

Waxed main part of Box 21,
has been able to lift out remainder
of contents on false bottom.

Finally separated out all
the contents of Box 21. Found
among the cloths a child's glove
of cloth.

All day in the tomb working
on one of the large beds. Took
it apart in the afternoon ready
to take out.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 5 (TAA iv.2.5) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 5 (TAA iv.2.5)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 5 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.5)

Market Day.

Finished waxing first bed (cows)
and helped take it out.

Finished waxing Box 21 & put
it away. To Cairo in
evening.

Cairo

Left by evening train.

Back to lunch. Over to Valley
in afternoon.

Worked out from decoration
fact that so called Queen's robe
must have been that of a child.
May have been the King's as a boy when
for some reason - circumcision or to
avoid evil eye - he was dressed as a girl.
No doubt that several of the garments
in the box were those of a child.

Market day.

Treated second bed in the
tomb with wax. In afternoon Lythgoes
and Carnarvons over to see things in
Tomb 15. Burton photographing cloth
garments etc. from Box 21.

Helped carry out second bed.
Photography & notes of Box 21 almost
finished.

Still working last ends of
Box 21

Finished all noting of Box
21.

Cleared a few things out
of top of Box 54, and sprayed
tapestry woven garment underneath.
Noted & photographed bed, two
bows etc.

Sir William Garstin & others.

Removed upper layer from
Box 54, including the tapestry
woven robe with scarab on breast.

Below a very elaborate corselet.

Some of the child garments in Box 21
had the King's cartouche on. ? Was
Tutankhamen only a young boy when
he came to the throne. His wife at
time of Akhnaton's death cannot have
been more than eleven.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 6 (TAA iv.2.6) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 6 (TAA iv.2.6)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 6 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.6)

Market day.

Cleaning corselet in Box 54.
Also photographed sandals.

Sir John & Lady Maxwell.

Almost all day on the corselet.

Finished cleaning Box 54. Docket
on lid said 17 ? Of lapis lazuli.
There were 15 blue glaze ewers,
but two additional stoppers. Also
other gl. Vases, 2 beautiful
statuettes, one of blue glass, the
other of crystalline limestone, a
large scarab of blue glass and gold,
& various other objects. All in
confusion. Pieces of objects not
belonging to this box at all, including
a piece of a chariot.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 7 (TAA iv.2.7) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 7 (TAA iv.2.7)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 7 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.7)

Working on objects from Box 54

Most of the day on corselet.
Also got contents of gold shrine
photographed.

Took jewellery from shrine of
gold & found that most of it belonged
to the corselet. The De Fousts
and party over for one night.

Market Day. Went to
valley in afternoon to show the
Macys & others over.

Spent most of the morning
in the tomb treating the last bed.
Rest of day in 15, treating throne
and working out corselet. Latter
turns out to be a combination
of corselet & collar, with pectoral.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 8 (TAA iv.2.8) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 8 (TAA iv.2.8)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 8 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.8)

Most of day showing visitors
over Tomb 15. Gardiner, Breasted
and Bull arrived.

Helped Carter take down
sealed door. Present - Carnarvon
& Lady Evelyn, S.W. Garstin, Breasted,
Gardiner, Lacau, Lythgoe, Winlock,
Burton, Lucas, Callender, Engelbach,
Bethell, native Under Secretary of State
& a few others.

Most of day in Tomb, clearing up
ready for formal opening tomorrow.

Garden party day. Spent most
of it in the tomb showing visitors the
new chamber. Queen of the Belgians,
Allenbys & dozens more.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 9 (TAA iv.2.9) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 9 (TAA iv.2.9)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 9 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.9)

All day in 15 working on
beads.

Market Day.

Stream of visitors all the
morning. Queen of the Belgians
in the afternoon.

Visitors practically all
day. Impossible to do any work.

Crowd of Egyptologists in
morning. Finished corselet in
afternoon.

Again a crowd all day,
including Blumenthal and the Macys.

Began noting & packing objects
from Box 54

Wrote to Morning Post re
false statements about us. Tomb
closed & filled in.

Worked half day in
Valley, then closed down for a week.

On holiday at
Assuan.

Finished noting objects
from Box 54 & packed all away.
Started clearing Box 44. Found
wrapped in a corner of a cloth
a number of massive gold rings. The
plunderer who was taking these away
must have been caught in the act,
as he would never have dropped a
thing like that if he were running.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 10 (TAA iv.2.10) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 10 (TAA iv.2.10)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 10 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.10)

Photographed & cleaned rings
(8 + 2 scarabs). Also took out from
same box large gold & lapis scarab,
panther skin robe & other objects.

Box nearly finished. Heq
sceptre of gold & blue glass, robe with
sequins, robe with network of beads
& sequins. Also two model adzes.
?What were these doing in the tomb?
Do any really belong to a F.D. which
was never deposited.

Queen of Belgians to see a box
opened - one of the black shrines.
Proved to contain a nome animal
on standard. This explains all the
other black shrines in innermost chamber.
We shall probably get a complete outfit
of all the nomes.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 11 (TAA iv.2.11) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 11 (TAA iv.2.11)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 11 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.11)

Box 44 finished clearing.
Now have the objects to note. Carter
working on alabasters. Finished
article for the Times.

Noting contents of
Box 44. Cloth in which rings
were looks suspiciously like
a mummy wrapping. Quite possible
that burial has been rifled
after all.

Still on Box 44.
Model adze with cartouches of
Amenhotep and Thy.

Market Day.

Still clearing & packing
contents of Box 44. Carnarvon
departed.

Working on garments,
from Box 44. Found that what
had been considered tapestry weaving was
really applied.

Still working on robes
from Box 44.

Compared and noted the
various linen gauntlets. Believe
them to be driving gloves. One was
lined with very warm material.

Cleared and noted Box
43. Contained mostly loin cloths,
but also a pair of gloves in good
condition, this time reaching to
wrist only.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 12 (TAA iv.2.12) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 12 (TAA iv.2.12)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 12 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.12)

Noting and sorting
all sorts of objects in first bay
of Tomb 15.

Market Day. Carter
went to Cairo.

Noting and sorting
all sorts of objects in first bay
of Tomb 15.

Noted all sandals &
baskets, fly-whisks & a number
of other objects. Sandals are all
sizes from quite a small child
to a full sized man.

Most of the day waxing
and treating various objects.

Treated bead footstool,
noted candles & various other
things.

Noting oddments & helping
Burton with photography.

Position of one of the stools showed
that officials had put the chariot
wheels in their present place after
the plundering.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 13 (TAA iv.2.13) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 13 (TAA iv.2.13)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 13 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.13)

First bay of tomb
practically finished. Ready to start
next week on boxes in second bay.

Market Day. Went
to Luxor.

Cleared bandbox. Contained
a mass of small cloths mixed up in
a jumble - some loin cloths, but
mostly bandages, both folded and rolled.
Started work also on painted
alabaster box.

Lucas to Cairo.

Almost finished clearing
Band-box - two gauntlets, one
large, one a child's, a finger-stall
and quantities of bandages of all
kinds - surely a medical outfit.

Two of the gauntlets in
bandbox turned out to be an archer's
glove for left hand, with stalls for
1st finger & thumb, and a flap between
to protect juncture & for arrow
to slide over. One was a man's,
the other a child's.

Cleared also White Box. Had been
a toilet box with compartments,
but contents all gone.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 14 (TAA iv.2.14) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 14 (TAA iv.2.14)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 14 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.14)

Working on large bundles of
cloth from top of one of the couches,
mostly loin cloths.

2nd bundle of cloth, containing
leopard skin, gloves, necklaces etc.
i.e. floor sweepings made into bundles.

Most of the day working on
collars, four having turned up inside
the bundles.

Market Day. Visiting
tombs in afternoon.

Finished the bundles from
the top of the bed, absolutely
miscellaneous sweepings all of them,
including a great number of
gauntlets.

News came of Carnarvon's
death. Started working on big
white trunk. Puzzle why some
linen perishes while other actually
touching it does not. Must be
a question of original quality
of the thread work.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 15 (TAA iv.2.15) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 15 (TAA iv.2.15)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 15 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.15)

Finished clearing white
trunk - robes, shawls etc.
Just a handful of stuff collected
by officials and thrown back into
the box.

All cloth from white
trunk noted.

Noting oddments, including
stick with elaborate granular gold
work. ? This put on with glove,
and not soldered.

Cleared and noted the
large gable-end box. This contained
only alab. Vases & various oddments
thrown carelessly in: barely covering
floor. Nothing to show what
original contents were.

Finished noting contents
of box etc.

Market Day, but carried on.

Found that so-called
'child's tippet' was really a
head covering in the form of a
protective bird with wings stretched
out behind. Also not tapestry -
woven but applied stripes of colour.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 16 (TAA iv.2.16) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 16 (TAA iv.2.16)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 16 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.16)

Noting sticks & various
oddments.

Noting sticks all day.

Noting various oddments
& started on travelling booth.

Cleared and noted second
black shrine. Contained a second
nome standard of Aphroditopolis.
Also working out travelling booth.

Carter came back.
Noting sticks from top of bed,
captives, compound bows, arrows etc.

Market Day. Tea &
dinner with Carter, to talk over
future plans.

Lacau turned up.
Noting sticks & Bows. One of them
had cartouche with Aten.

Noting compound bows
all day.

Clearing first bay, &
still noting bows. Two more
had Aten cartouches.

Visit from Princess of Abyssinia,
& a mob of retainers.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 17 (TAA iv.2.17) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 17 (TAA iv.2.17)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 17 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.17)

Still noting sticks.

Finished the last batch
of sticks and bows.

Winlocks left.

Sorted all the sticks &
cleared up generally.

Mrs Burton left.

Market Day. Spent
morning at Carter's working on
book.

Waxing mannequin.
Started also on chariot material.

Finished mannequin,
other odd jobs.

Waxing seat of throne &
noting chariot material.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 18 (TAA iv.2.18) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 18 (TAA iv.2.18)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 18 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.18)

Waxing & noting
faience box & noting chariot material.

Completed register of
objects. Now ready to start packing.

Took day off on account of
Carnarvon Memorial Service. Working on Book. Went round
to Carter in afternoon.

Stayed at home writing.
Thermometer just on 110.

Started packing.

Lucas to Cairo.

Packing all day: small
stuff nearly finished.

Stayed home to pack &
do accounts. Lunched with Carter
to meet Merton.

Left Burton to lock up
house & moved round to Carter's.
Burton left for Cairo.

Packing all day.

Packed sticks etc.

Market Day, but carried on.

Packed stools & shrines.

Finished actual packing
about 90 cases. Some of the
smaller cases still to be crated,
and inventory made.

Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 19 (TAA iv.2.19) Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 19 (TAA iv.2.19)
Arthur Mace's Journal for 1922-3, p. 19 (© Griffith Institute, TAA iv.2.19)

Made complete inventory of cases.

Sorted negatives all day.

Stayed at home to write.
All cases loaded on trucks ready
to start in morning.

Arrived in Luxor. Consulted with Carter re situation,
and decided to return with him to Cairo same night.