Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation.
Howard Carter's diaries.
The second excavation season in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
October 3, 1923 to February 11, 1924

© Griffith Institute, Oxford OX1 2LG

Concept and direction: Jaromir Malek
Transcript: Sue Hutchison
Editing: J. K. Ámundadóttir, Ana I. Navajas Jimenez, Jaromir Malek
Scanning: Hana Navrátilová
Image editing: Jenni Navratil

The diary and journal for 1923 and 1924 have been scanned with the financial support of the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society


[Note: all dates have been standardized.]

The first two books in which this excavation season is recorded are small (19.5 by 12 cm) appointment books, Lett's No. 46 Indian and Colonial Rough Diaries 1923 (catalogued in the Grifith Institute Archive as TAA Archive i.2.22) and 1924 (TAA Archive i.2.23), which contain only the briefest of notes (these are given in italics in the transcript which follows).

The journal, written in Howard Carter's hand, is in a large ring-binder (Walker's Loose-Leaf Books, 33 by 21.5 cm) entitled Notes, Diary, and Articles, Referring to the Theban Royal Necropolis and the Tomb of Tutankhamen (catalogued in the Griffith Institute Archive as TAA Archive i.2.1), on pages 77-115. Some recordings of objects and casual notes interspersed among diary entries have been omitted in this transcript.

The transcript presented here has been only very slightly edited, for example by correcting misspellings and eliminating duplication or omission of words. For easier reading, such cases are not marked but scans of the pages of these diaries will be available here soon and may be consulted for details.


Wednesday, October 3, 1923.

Left London 11 am for Trieste.

Left London for Trieste, per Simplon Express, 11 am.

Thursday, October 4, 1923.

Arrived Trieste 12 pm.
Went on board S.S. 'Helouan'.

Arrived Trieste 11.30 pm - went on board S.S. 'Helouan'.

Friday, October 5, 1923.

Left Trieste midday.

Monday, October 8, 1923.

>

Arrived Alexandria 4 pm.
Arrived Cairo 11 pm.
Met Callender & Lucas.

Arrived Alexandria 4 pm. Cairo 10.30 pm.

Tuesday, October 9, 1923.

Lucas to dinner.
Purchased kitchen range
" mats, portmanger
& two zinc baths.
Saw Mr A. Stanley Parker
T.C. Cairo.

Wednesday, October 10, 1923.

Purchased stationery.

Thursday, October 11, 1923.

Miss Burgess dine 8.15
7 pm. Parker.
Saw Quibell at C.M. and talked over the coming season: campaign together with arrangements for press & visitors.
To Mohamed Nur Mohamed Baba on a/c 25LE. (As against his salary for six months service 70 LE).
Lisco to buy 2 agricultural shares.

Saw Quibell at the Cairo Museum with whom I made plans for the coming season's campaign on the tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen.
We discussed what measures should be taken to avoid newspaper disputes and difficulties with regard to visitors, which rendered the Tut.ankh.Amen work so difficult last year.

Friday, October 12, 1923.

Dine 7 ... Payne-[...]
5 pm Neguib.
Maudsley - Payne[...] 1.15 lunch.
Tacla Bey 11 am.
Chauffeur 12 LE.

Went to Alexandria to see the Minister of P.W.D., Abd El Hamid Pasha Suleman and placed before the programme discussed by Quibell and myself.
The proposals: (1) the Press. Now that I had taken Merton on my staff I proposed to give through him the same daily report to The Times and to the Egyptian Press. The Times news would be cabled out in the evening to be printed in the next day's paper. The same news would be given to the Egyptian Press early in the morning, in ample time to be printed in the papers of the day. Thus news would reach the public in London and in Cairo practically at the same time. I also pointed out that in this manner the Cairo newspapers will get for nothing what all European and American papers will have to pay for. (2) Visitors - I pointed out that to admit visitors one day each week would involve a very serious loss of time. The day before visitors are received, all delicate objects must be removed or especially protected; tools put away, electric wiring altered, and a clear path made. All this involves hours of work the day before and hours of work the day after, and thus each week one whole day and parts of two other days would be sacrificed. I therefore proposed that no visitors should enter until after a definite part of the work of this season is done, and that after an official inspection or opening, our scientific records taken, visitors should be allowed to enter by tickets obtained through the Public Works Ministry, for a time, a week or more, if this considered necessary. That this would probably only be possible after the opening of the sarcophagus as there would be little or no room to permit passage of visitors before then - the shrines taken up the whole of the area of this sepulchral chamber. The other chambers, namely the Annexe and Store Chamber being temporarily closed until the moment for dealing with them came.

Abdel El Hamid Pasha Suleman was agreeable to this plan and asked me to place it before Furness at the Residency - this I did before lunch and Furness was also agreeable. Furness after returned my note with his letter dated Oct 17th wherein he remarks that he shewed it to Scott who remarked that he feared the proposal about visitors would cause disappointment to many tourists.

As I do not work for tourists nor am I a tourist agent I have taken no notice of this futile remark.

Saturday, October 13, 1923.

Derry Sat 8.0 pm.
Quibell 10 am.
Fitzgerald.
Tablecloths & napkins.
Saw Quibell re season's programme.
Nahman weight Khaf-Ra.
" lapis lazuli head.

Sunday, October 14, 1923.

Copy of programme from Quibell.

Monday, October 15, 1923.

to Alexandria.
Saw Abd El Hamid Pasha Suleman P.W.D.
Saw Furness of Residency.
Returned Cairo.
Saw Fitzgerald & Lucas.
Tel. Lucas when wanted.

Tuesday, October 16, 1923.

Leave for Luxor 8 pm.
write Merton.
" Customs.
Call Zagloul.
" Quibell
Watches.
Butter.
Contesa
Gany
Maudsley, Car.

Left Cairo for Luxor 8pm with Callender and Burton.

Wednesday, October 17, 1923.

Talk to Parker.

Arrived Luxor 9.15 am. Where our native staff met us and reported all well. Remained in Luxor until the following day.

Thursday, October 18, 1923.

Crossed over to Goorna.
Inspected the Valley in the evening

Crossed over to Goorna - arriving at my house 11am. Inspected the Valley - Tut.ankh.Amen Tomb, Laboratory, and Magazine - finding everything and men in good order.

Friday, October 19, 1923.

Returned proofs of throne to Ingram.

Saturday, October 20, 1923.

Parker arrives morning
Paid Rahaan to end of Sept. (100 pts.)

Parker - Times correspondent - arrived Luxor.
Motor car brought over to Goorna.
Made arrangements for operations to commence on exterior work in the Valley on the following Monday - Oct. 22nd.

Monday, October 22, 1923.

Started operations in Valley.

Commenced operations in the valley: with 25 men and 50 boys began clearing and levelling the area before the entrance of the laboratory (tomb Seti II). So as to have plenty of room for photographing, restoration, packing, and for the carpenters.
Parker and his wife visited the works during the morning.

Wednesday, October 24, 1923.

The levelling before laboratory completed as well as path leading up to same. Started filling up holes en route from Tut.ankh.Amen tomb to Lab.

Thursday, October 25, 1923.

Commenced upon removing the debris placed last season over the tomb of Tut.ankh.Amen . The work in charge of Reis Ahmed with ten men and Reis Hussein Abou Omar with twenty boys- the debris being used to fill up the S. end of the trench exposing huts on the S. end of the foot-hill.
Reises Hussein and Qus continued with the rest of the men to make good the various holes along the path in the vicinity of the Akh.en.Aten vault.
Burton commenced on the 22nd to make a series of photos of the Valley - beginning at the mouth continuing towards the royal tombs.

Saturday, October 27, 1923.

London 1514.0.0
Cairo 573.478
Luxor 689.117
Eg. 1262.595
London 1514
___________
2776

Sunday, October 28, 1923.

Tut.ankh.Amen cleared to top of staircase. Mason commenced upon repairing the retaining walls. The tidying of the rest of the Valley also completed.

Monday, October 29, 1923.

Opened laboratory (Seti II tomb No. 15) and commenced sorting materials therein. Men paid for week ending today - Reises received their wages, for summer duty, to Oct. 31st 1923.

Tuesday, October 30, 1923.

Completed preparations in Laboratory and also Magazine.

Wednesday, October 31, 1923.

Put down matting in first bay of Laboratory.

Thursday, November 1st, 1923.

Demand for concession for self (in name of Society!)

Paid wages to date:

Abd El Asl 3 Paid Ahmed (Sofragi)
Ibraheem 2 Exs. for Sudan to Luxor
Taha 2 159 pts.
Rehaan 2.10
LE 9.10

Bradstreet appeared at works, and endeavoured to talk to me to which I refused any conversation.

Callender commenced laying the electric wires to Tut.ankh.Amen tomb and Akhenaten
vault (Dark-room).
Bradstreet appeared in the valley. Refused to converse with him owing to his disgraceful behaviour and action of last season.

Friday, November 2, 1923.

Left for Cairo.

I must leave for Cairo - 6 pm train - to confer with Tottenham (Under Sec. P.W.D.), Quibell, and the Min. P.W.D. on question of policy with regard to press and visitors for this season. Having just heard by letter from Quibell that Valentine Williams (Reuters) and Bradstreet (Morning Post and Hearst press) had lodged a protest at the Ministry against The Times agreement and proposed policy for this season.

With regard to the Ministry, as aforesaid, I had already placed before them in Cairo and Alex. a perfectly fair programme to which they then did not seem to raise any objection, pointing out at the same time there would be attacks by the opposition, but that by taking a firm attitude such opposition could be frustrated: the Eg. Gov. had obviously waivered.

I trust when the whole matter is again explained to them we shall come to an agreeable and final settlement. The suggestions made in the memo of today's letter (by Tottenham and Quibell) would be working for the interests of the opposition and against the interests of the Gov. as well as ourselves.

Saturday, November 3, 1923.

Arrived Cairo.
Saw Merton.
" Gany.
Wrote name at Palace.
Lunched Winlock.
Transported materials & timber to Valley.

Arrived Cairo. Saw Merton. Inscribed name visitors book Abdine Palace.
Callender transported materials & timber from rail station to Valley.

Sunday, November 4, 1923.

10.30 am Ministry P.W.D.
Conferred with Tottenham, Lacau, & Quibell on question of policy regarding press, visitors and surveillance of Tut.ankh.Amen work.
12.30 saw Abd El Hamid Pasha Min. P.W.D. with above gentlemen - placing our decision before him. Ministry accepted with certain amendment in regards to inviting press representatives.
Dined Tottenham.
Saw Acworth.

Went to Ministry (P.W.D.) 10.30 am. I found the Eg. Gov. had fully armed itself with legal advice and that it persisted in maintaining its alleged right to issue a daily bulletin at 8 pm. However, after a long discussion with Tottenham, Lacau and Quibell, we came to a decision to which Abd El Hamid Pasha Suleman assented - in brief this decision was: the Eg. Gov. should waive its rights to issue summary bulletins, and should confide all the duties of publication to the digger. There were included other details regarding visitors surveillance to which we had no difference in opinion.

Monday, November 5, 1923.

C.M. 11 am. See Lucas.
12 noon Min. P.W.D.
Lunch Maudsley.
4.30 Acworth.
8 pm. Habeeb Bey Basta.
Transported materials & timber to Valley.

At the Ministry I found that the Eg. Gov. had completely gone back on the previous day's decision. As a result the whole discussion had to be reopened and continued in a vicious circle until I found myself obliged to present what might be called an ultimatum.

To this ultimatum I received (Nov. 8th) a phone message that the Gov. had decided to accede to my wishes, i.e., invest me with its alleged rights of publicity, in other words, I should be the sole source of information as laid down in the original proposal.

Wednesday, November 7, 1923.

Bethell arrived Cairo

Thursday, November 8, 1923.

Saw Ld. A.

I called on the H.C. Lord Allenby and explained to him the whole situation. He gave me every reason to believe that he was in perfect sympathy with my case.

Friday, November 9, 1923.

Lunch Ld. A.

Saturday, November 10, 1923.

Lunch Izzeb Pasha.
Fares 1st. 2885
2nd. 1850
Transport 165
Boot laces 20
Matches 10
4930
in hand 6.000
4.930
1.070
2.000
in hand 3.070

Sunday, November 11, 1923.

Left Cairo for Luxor.

Monday 12 November, 1923.

Arrived Luxor - Goorna.

A document covering the Eg. Gov. decision was promised me on Saturday (Nov. 10) for signature. As I had received nothing on Sunday (Nov. 11). I returned to Luxor, after having sent Merton to inquire at the Ministry. He found the Gov. to be again shilly-shallying with only a vague promise of some definite settlement on the following Tuesday (Nov. 13). So to force matters I was prepared to recover the tomb and stop work altogether. Left Merton in charge in Cairo.

Tuesday, 13 November, 1923.

28.570
41.045
69.615

Received message from Burton 5 pm informing me that Mace (who arrived on Nov. 12) and Bethell (who had arrived in Cairo on Nov. 7) were coming at once to Luxor to consult me.

Wednesday, November 14, 1923.

Bl. House a/c with A.R.C. 41.045.
Mace & Bethell arrived from Cairo.
Left for Cairo with Mace.

Mace & Bethell brought me the Gov. final decision, with general advice for me to accept. In its main points it was satisfactory but the reservations so weakened it that I thought it prudent to return to Cairo and see Lord Allenby, & ask his advice, before sending an agreement to the proposals.

Returned to Cairo with Mace.

Thursday, November 15, 1923.

Arrived Cairo.
Saw Lord Allenby 11.30 am
Saw Tottenham 4.30 pm when I gave him my agreement to the Gov's. proposals - re press & visitors.

Saw Lord Allenby 11.30 am. Saw Tottenham 4.30 pm, when I gave him my agreement to the Eg. Gov. proposals in lawyer's form of letter covering myself and rights. Tottenham led me to understand it would be accepted.

For details of the whole negotiations from beginning to the end see file "Press Controversy and Eg. Gov." No. 8

Friday, November 16, 1923.

Returned with Mace & Merton to Luxor.

Saturday, November 17, 1923.

Returned Luxor with Merton and Mace. Crossed over to Gurna. First copies of the Tut.ankh.Amen book arrived.

Arrived Luxor - Gurna.
2 1st Fares Luxor Cairo 5770
2 Sleepers " " 2700
2 Dinners " " 700
Exs. " " 145
Tips " " 250
2/ 9.565
Pd. for Mace= 4.782
Mace Return 1st Fare 2.885
Sleeper 1.350
6.16.5.5 = 32 Exs. 160
LE: 9.177
Wrote to Engelbach to see me Sunday

4.782
2
9.564 Rail Exs.
Hotel.
5.000
14.564

Sunday, November 18, 1923.

Opened tomb.

Made preparations to recommence work and open tomb on the morrow (Nov. 19). 5 men & 15 boys actually began and completed the removal of the rubbish in the staircase entrance. Mace & self experimented on our new contrivances for paraffin wax for preservation of the objects.

Monday, November 19, 1923.

Opened tomb.

42
43
85

Removed timber blocking from outer doorway of tomb.
Fixed new wooden door on same.
Examined interior found everything in order.

Mace commenced preservation of couch No. 35 - lion headed. Lunched in magazine for first time this season, with Bethell, Merton, Mace, Burton and Callender.

Tuesday, November 20, 1923.

Connected up the electricity in both Antechamber and Sepulchral-hall.

Wednesday, November 21, 1923.

Scott leaves London

Burton made photographic records of the interior of the Store Chamber.

Thursday, November 22, 1923.

Burton took some records of the interior of Store Chamber.
Sir Lee & Lady Stack & party visited tomb 3 pm.
Made plan of objects removed from front of shrine.
Burton photographed objects N. of shrine.

Commenced draughting the plan of the Sepulchral-hall and Shrine. Burton finished his records of Storechamber and objects between N. side of shrine and wall.
Made plan of objects removed last season from front of shrine.

Sir Lee and Lady Stack and party together with the Mudir of Kena, the Maamour, and Hakimdar, visited the tomb 3 pm.

Friday, November 23, 1923.

Took records of contents of shrine.

Made records of contents between 1st and 2nd shrine within the Sepulchre. Burton taking his photos.

Saturday, November 24, 1923.

Nat. B. of Eg. Shares 204-7/16=
1. 24.8.9
270
LE 6598.2.6
Credit Financier % shares 371 PRS
2. 50
18550
38
148400
55650
LE 7049.00=
722.14.2
Agri. B. Shares 370
3. 2
1140

7.7.13.9 1. 6598
4.2.0 2. 722
18.5 3. 1140
_________ 8460
722.14.2

div = 535 per an. = 6%

Continued records of shrine.

Continued records of forepart of interior of 1st shrine as well as a record of the corded and sealed staples of the 2nd shrine. Closed Storechamber.

Mace having completed the lion-headed couch began upon one of the chariot bodies.

Sunday, November 25, 1923.

Records of objects between outer shrine and walls of the Sepulchral Chamber continued. Discovered that the four holes, plastered up and coloured over, for the magical figures in the walls of the Sepulchral Chamber are intact.

Monday, November 26, 1923.

Scott arrives Cairo.

Among other things completed planning objects between shrine and wall of the Sepulchral Chamber & removed them to the Antechamber. Scott arrived Cairo.

Tuesday, November 27, 1923.

No work.

Wednesday, November 28, 1923.

Packed objects for removal to Laboratory.

Thursday, November 29, 1923.

Moved statue on E. corner. Moved objects from around shrine up to Lab.

Objects removed to Laboratory early in the morning before visitors arrived in the Valley. Afterwards packed and removed statue on east side of doorway to Sepulchral Chamber.

Friday, November 30, 1923.

Moved Second Statue, tested partition wall.
Burton experimented with kinema camera.

Packed and removed to Laboratory the second statue on west side of doorway leading to Sepulchral Chamber.

Tested the partition wall between Antechamber and Sepulchral Chamber & found it to be only built of dry stone-work of irregular splinters of limestone plastered on its faces.

Dr Axell Munthe visited the tomb in the morning also the Laboratory.

Burton made some trials with the kinema camera.

Saturday, December 1, 1923.

Lacau arrived.
Paid salaries to date.

Fixed wooden screen between opening to Sepulchral Chamber and Antechamber to protect shrine while demolishing the partition wall.
Commenced pulling down partition wall. The top part to level of wooden lintel found to be hollow, and comprised dry stone-work of splinters of limestone and flint boulders plastered only on the outer faces of this wall.
Prepared tray of bran to receive the painted portions of the partition wall on inner side.

Lucas arrived by morning train from Cairo, but did not go up the Valley.
At Laboratory Mace and Bethell having cleaned the body of the second golden chariot were working upon fragments of harness etc. belonging to do and others.

Scott who should have arrived at Luxor today deferred his departure from Cairo until tomorrow Sunday evening - he should arrive Monday 3rd.

We now have three native inspectors, namely Shaban Eff., Ibreheem Eff. and Abbadir Eff., besides the Chief Inspector Engelbach, watching us, on behalf of the Eg. Gov. I imagine to see if we do not take anything - this is amusing especially in the case Abbadir Eff. whose antecedents are certainly not of the best.

Sunday, December 2, 1923.

29
46
75

Demolished the greater part of the partition wall at end of antechamber; leaving only the lower part of the two door jambs to be completed on Wednesday. The structure comprising dry stone work filled in with rubble & dust was of astonishing bad workmanship. In each of the jambs were wooden bonds on both inner and outer faces. They do not seem to have been necessary and were probably the cause of certain shrinkage visible at the top of the wall. On the west side, in the rock wall of the Antechamber where it terminates, the commencement of a cutting was revealed, while taking away the partition wall, which appears to have been made to enable ingress of the long cornice pieces of the outer shrine. This would suggest that the parts of that shrine were taken in before the construction of the partition wall.

The decorated portion of plaster on the inside face of the west door-jamb was removed with fair success; sufficiently good to reconstruct the scene (there on) for eventual record.

Sir John Marshall Dir. of Antiquities, India, called and visited both the tomb and the Laboratory. He appears to be an interesting man. Have asked him to lunch Wednesday.

Monday, December 3, 1923.

Today being for press view, no work was done in the Tomb. Only four persons visited the Tomb though the fact that it would be opened to the press had been published by the Gov. nearly a fortnight ago. These person were: Miss Johnson (no paper nominated), H.A. Bradstreet of the Morning Post, Valentine Williams special correspondent for Reuter, and a certain E.S. Aldrich (very doubtful) correspondent of the N.Y. Tribune.

At the Laboratory work on the chariots was continued, while Burton made experiments which were unsuccessful on autochromes.

Tuesday, December 4, 1923.

Wire Breasted.
Write Rothschild.

Weekly holiday.

Wednesday, December 5, 1923.

Sir John Marshall to lunch.
Scott arrives Luxor.

The demolishing of the partition wall (between Antechamber & Sepulchral Chamber) completed and part of the wooden screen, placed there for protecting the shrine, was removed. The lower part of this wall was of the roughest construction, and one wonders how it remained in such good condition during all the years it stood without showing any signs of falling away from the rock walls & ceiling.
The piece cut out of the westernmost corner of the end of the Antechamber wall seems certainly to have been to allow of easy ingress of the larger portions of the shrine.

Sir John Marshall of the India Gov. for Archaeology lunched with us - and we had a long discussion regarding antiquities laws and division of proceeds, etc.

Now that the partition wall is removed the shrine-within-the-sepulchre can be seen for the first time properly and the view is magnificent.

Thursday, December 6, 1923.

Removed wooden protective screen covering exposed portion of the S.E. corner of shrine - placed there while pulling down the partition wall.

Photographic records taken by Burton of the shrine as it stands untouched in the sepulchral chamber.

Commenced upon unhanging the folding doors, by raising the wooden sections of frieze which acts on this (the E. end) end as the lintel and cornice, thus freeing the door pivots from their sockets.

Dr. Alexander Scott came & visited both tomb and laboratory.

Friday, December 7, 1923.

Removed the two folding doors from the outer shrine. It took the morning - 8.45 to 12.45 - to carry out this task. They proved to be of great weight, but were it not that the gesso & gold was in such a precarious state owing to shrinkage of the wood it would have been a comparatively simple undertaking. It was the handling without unnecessary damage to the overlays' surfaces which gave most of the trouble.

Experiments were made with 'duroprene' (a chlorinated rubber compound dissolved in an organic solvent such as zylene) upon samples of the pall fabric which seems to prove most satisfactory in strengthening it for handling, as well as preservation.

Newberry & his wife arrived Luxor.

Saturday, December 8, 1923.

Planned & removed objects from the S.E. corner of the shrine which comprised sticks and staves and a mace. Among them were two sticks, viz. the gold and silver stick of the king, which bear on the top a silver and gold statuette respectively of solid metal and of very fine workmanship - these later pieces give a good reason to believe that there must be valuable material before us in the inner shrine or sarcophagus.

Dr. Scott's results in the examination of the brown marks upon the walls of the tomb are interesting - his examination proves them to be of the nature of mould from infection of some kind.

P. E. Newberry came this morning and visited both the tomb and the laboratory.

In the course of this morning's work I also removed the portions of the pall that had fallen & covered objects within the east end of the shrine.

The evidence up to date would lead one to believe that there are only 4 shrines within one another instead of five as in tomb plan of Rameses IV.

Sunday, December 9, 1923.

Planned and removed the remaining objects in the forepart of the outer shrine, namely those in the centre and in the N.E. Corner comprising mostly sticks, two vases and a mace.

Removed cord and seal from the staples of the second shrine, drew the bolts and opened the right hand folding door a little, i.e., as far as the pall support would allow. Through the small aperture between the two doors a third shrine was visible corded, bolted and sealed as the second one, and of similar type and decoration - overlaid with gold and bearing incised decoration.

Monday, December 10, 1923.

Completed planning the shrines as far as it is possible at the present stage of the work. This with regard to commencing upon the dismantling of the outer shrine on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 12, 1923.

'Man proposes & god disposes' - was seedy and had to remain in the house. Mace continued on the chariot material in the Lab.
Lythgoe, Harkness, and Gardiner arrived.
Lacau called. He went to the Valley & inspected Lab.

Thursday, December 13, 1923.

Lacau, at 9 am, made me an official visit in reference to his two letters (received on 12th). One of these letters demanded a full list of my staff, and the other introduced new rules as to visits & visitors to the tomb.
In the case of the staff the Eg. Gov. claimed the right of approving or refusing any member they thought fit.
In the case of visits and visitors, whether friends or otherwise, the absolute control was to be placed in charge of the Chief Inspector, Engelbach, to whom I was to consult on every occasion.
In other words I had to get the Govs. sanction before employing anyone on the staff, and could ask no one into the tomb without Engelbach's permission.

My answer to Lacau was as follows:
I have had a policy dictated which has been making my work increasingly impossible. Additional communications which I received from you yesterday have brought the matter to an absolute impass. I decline absolutely to follow the instructions I have now received from you and I now propose to conduct the work in the tomb under the legal rights with which I am empowered under the terms of my original concession.

To this Lacau, I think somewhat taken aback, began his usual fountain of words, a great deal of which referred to my actions and "l'avenir".
I refused further discussion, etc., & we eventually went to the Valley & inspected the recent discoveries made during these last few days in the tomb. Lythgoe, Harkness, & Mace were present at this interview with Lacau, Callender acted as interpreter. Though grave as the whole matter was the whole incident was not without amusing aspects.

Harkness and Lythgoe saw tomb & Lab.

Friday, December 14, 1923.

Placed door of outer shrine in its case. Examined roof sections of shrine.
Mrs Harkness, Mrs Lythgoe, and Miss Stillman visited the tomb and Lab.

Saturday, December 15, 1923.

Renew car licence.

Removed objects and folding doors of outer shrine to Lab. Received pm. wire from Tottenham asking me to go to Cairo and meet him and Minister (P.W.D.) regarding matter of Eg. Gov's. proposals discussed with Lacau to which I had already given my refusal to accept.

Sunday, December 16, 1923.

Arranged to go to Cairo Monday 17th.
Gardiner came and copied hieratic and other inscriptions.
Lifted one section of the roof of the outer shrine preparatory to its removal. Discovered that the shrine is held together with large bronze or copper dowels at the four corners of the cornice besides having interlocking and tongued sections.
Prepared chamber for press visits on the morrow.
Mace left pm. for Cairo to meet his wife & child arriving Monday at Alex.

Monday, December 17, 1923.

Press view.
Leave for Cairo.

Eight press visits, only one of which was from the Eg. papers, and he not a bona fide representative.
Left for Cairo with Merton.

Tuesday, December 18, 1923.

Saw Tottenham at his house (a.m.) who explained to me the Eg. Gov's. attitude in the matter of visitors to tomb and our staff - incorporated in the two letters received a few days back. Saw Abd El Hamid Pasha Suleman (Min. P.W.D.) 4 pm. and had two hours conversation with him. It became evident that the whole question of staff and visitors raised by the Gov. was the direct result of local press criticism. In fact the Min. admitted it to be so and to save his face asked me not to allow Merton to enter the tomb except on press view days. His intention was upon receiving a list of my staff from me to strike off Merton whom he said he could not disassociate with The Times. I explained my position in the matter, that Merton was a member of my staff, seconded by The Times, and that the whole of the press news was through me - he Merton not being allowed to send any telegram other than signed by me, and that I should create a wrong precedent if I accepted such a proposition as allowing the Gov. to accept or refuse entry of anyone of my staff. I said that I feared I could not take such a step or allow of any such alleged rights of the Eg. Gov. which was a direct attempt on the part of the Eg. Gov. to interfere in purely private matter outside the terms of the concession and that I felt obliged to continue my work under the terms invested me by the original concession. But, before giving an absolute final answer I should like time to consider & confer with my collaborators. We agreed to 11.30 am the following day for that decision.

Mace had returned Cairo from Alex. with his family - saw him early in the morning.

Dined with Tottenham.

Wednesday, December 19, 1923.

Conferred with Mace & Merton in the morning.
Saw the H.C. Lord Allenby and explained to him the situation & informed him that I intended to adhere to my decision given verbally to Lacau on the 13th. He was in sympathy with my action. I afterwards (11.30 am) saw the Min. P.W.D. where I informed him that after very careful consideration of the matter and Gov's proposals with my collaborators I was obliged to adhere to my original decision & to refuse the terms dictated by the Gov. incorporated in the two letters received last week and that I also felt obliged to continue the work in the tomb in accordance with the powers invested by the original concession. I offered to put in writing this refusal in such a manner that it could be published broadcast and exonerate him in the eyes of the press. The Min. was not agreeable to this, so I told him that I would send my answer by letter in normal manner.
Lunched with Lord Allenby who in conversation told me that though he was unable to take any action in this matter he was absolutely in sympathy with my decision. (I think rather pleased to see Eg. Gov. get into trouble).

Thursday, December 20, 1923.

Left Cairo.

Wired Times explaining situation and asking for their full cooperation in the case of any drastic action on the part of the Eg. Gov. Mailed correspondence to date upon matter to Times.
Wrote letter to Eg. Gov. incorporating my refusal.

Received phone message from Tottenham asking me to withdraw my letter & if not sent not to send it. Reminding me of consequences etc. Refused.

Left Cairo for Luxor.

Friday, December 21, 1923.

Arrived Luxor - Gurna.

Arrived Luxor - Gurna - Recommenced work. Mace having already started in Lab.

Saturday, December 22, 1923.

Continued removing first section of roof of shrine.

Sunday, December 23, 1923.

Continued removing first section of roof of shrine.

Monday, December 24, 1923.

Gave Cook 3LE on a/c.

A number of visitors came to Tomb, among them Gen. Haking, Lloyd ex. Gov. of Bombay, and Madame Sorel and Party.

Lowered section of roof of shrine ready for placing in case on Wednesday.

Show Harkness store chamber.

Wednesday, December 26, 1923.

Lowered first E. front section of roof of outer shrine to ground and rested it against wall of Antechamber.
Its dimensions are too large for egress of passage and staircase. It will have to remain in the Antechamber until the lower reconstructed steps and portion of lintel of doorway, cut away originally to allow of its ingress, have been removed.

Commenced in the afternoon upon removing the second central section which will have to remain in the Antechamber for the same reason.

Mace completed the preparation of the parts of the two chariots - and began packing do.

Thursday, December 27, 1923.

Lowered IInd central section of roof of outer shrine and stacked it with the first section in the Antechamber. It is of interest to note that this section was fixed on the wrong way - i.e. the vultures on the underneath surface were in the reverse direction to those on the first section & thus the tails where the heads should be.

Sir Herbert Samuel & party visited the tomb and Lab. this morning.

Mace continued packing the Chariots 120 & 122.

Friday, December 28, 1923.

Lowered IIIrd section of roof of outer shrine. This took the whole morning - 8.45 to 1.15 - with the aid of Callender, Burton, & four men.

Saturday, December 29, 1923.

Protected the four corner uprights and the four cornice pieces of the shrine (207), preparatory to removing the pall (209) and pall supports (208).

Sunday, December 30, 1923.

Removed the pall, by rolling it off onto a pole - first removing the numerous metal rosettes which decorated it. These later were sewn on and in some cases most difficult to detach without tearing the fabric.

Monday, December 31, 1923.

Press day. 4 visits all European, and one visitor. Gen. Man. of G. W. Railway and party visited the tomb (Pole).

Wrapped the crossbars and stanchions of the pall structure ready for removal.
Stopped work in afternoon 3 pm.

1924

Wednesday, January 2, 1924.

Removed the crossbars and forepart of the pall structure from the interior of the great outer shrine, making it now possible to open the doors of the inner shrines. The doors of these inner shrines I propose to open tomorrow as preliminary investigations for the [...] procedure of work in dismantling them for the examination of the sarcophagus & the opening thereof.

Mace seedy. Newberry examined & described the botanical specimens discovered this season in the sepulchral chamber.

Thursday, January 3, 1924.

Made preparations in the morning for opening the nest of shrines. Burton made photographic records etc.

At 3 pm in the afternoon, in the presence of Harkness, Lythgoe, Engelbach, Newberry, Mace, Callender, Winlock, Burton, and Lucas, cut the cords of the seal of the 3rd shrine, opened the folding doors, laying bare the doors of a fourth shrine. The doors of this fourth shrine were bolted but not sealed. After a little difficulty owing to the sizes and levels of the shrines we were able to open the doors of the innermost (fourth) shrine which exposed the end of a magnificent crystalline sandstone sarcophagus intact - for true description of the whole proceedings see Mace's diary.

Engelbach, who I had asked over for this special experiment, seemed to be much upset - & behaved in an extraordinary manner.

Newberry continued his examination of the botanical specimens discovered in the sepulchral chamber.

Friday, January 4, 1924.

Photographic records made by Burton of the doors & sarcophagus as far as the cramped spaced allowed.

Harkness & Lythgoe to dine.

Saturday, January 5, 1924.

Tottenham visited the tomb and saw the sarcophagus. He also informed me of the contemptible proposed action on the part of the Eg. Gov. founded upon a lying telegram sent by Bradstreet.

Sunday, January 6, 1924.

Kept to house feeling off colour.
Mace & the rest continued to work in the tomb.

Monday, January 7, 1924.

Paid Ahmed Sofragi LE:10 on a/c.
" Ahmed Cook 2 " "

Closed the doors of the various shrines, preparatory to dismantling them. Commenced removing the first E. section of roof of the IInd shrine (237). Found that many of the tongues fixing it to the sides were of solid bronze and inscribed with king's cartouche. Decided to raise these sections, as well as of the inner shrines, by means of wooden hinges to be constructed at the carpenter's shop.

Tuesday-Monday, January 8 -14, 1924.

This week has been occupied in dismantling three parts of the outer shrine (207). Which has proved a very slow and difficult task.
Major Astor and party visited the tomb on the 11th Jan.

Today was given up to press visits which I fear owing to the slow progress of the work enabled them to see but little.

Tuesday-Sunday, January 15-20, 1924.

This week has been occupied in dealing with the two inner shrines - i.e., the second & third Nos. 237 and 238. With which many working difficulties have cropped up owing to their construction.
Also the work has been much delayed by renewed Gov. disputes brought to bear on the work.

In removing the roof sections of the second shrine (237) want of space and the great weight added enormously to the problem.

With the roof sections of the third shrine (238), invisible copper tongues hidden between the central point, which again was rebated, made operations without causing damage to the gesso & gold work very difficult.

Finally when succeeding in extracting these sections the roof of the fourth and last shrine (239) proved (when exposed) not to be in two sections as the others but in one piece including its entablature. Hence, now, to overcome this new difficulty we must return to the first shrine (207) remove all possible sections, the second (237) and third (238) until sufficient space is obtained to deal with the roof of the fourth (239).

It has been found that the best system of removing the roof section in the confined space up to the present moment has been by means of (1) improvised double hoisting rollers on the principal of a winch, (2) supporting & sliding along the hoisted sections on cross ropes fixed across the scaffold beams. By this means the parts are gradually slide to their temporary destination. Many of the sections are so large as to prevent any possible egress from the tomb until the outer doorway & staircase has been enlarged.

For practically each new undertaking incurs a new kind of tackle & scaffolds all of which adds to the laborious side of this operation.

(15th) Maxwell came to give legal advice upon Gov. action in regard to our work.

(16th) Gardiner & Breasted came to Luxor.

(19th) Breasted came to the Valley in the afternoon. Had a long conversation with him. Professes to be ready to back me in Gov. disputes.

(20th) Prince Arthur of Connaught visited the tomb and Lab. this afternoon.

Had a long conference with Maxwell, Harkness & Lythgoe as to action in regard to the Eg. Gov. last letter.

Wednesday, January 23, 1924.

The dismantling of the great outer shrine (207) completed today. We are now prepared to begin upon the second shrine (237).

Mace, Lucas & Bethell commenced preservation of the second statue (29), the first (22) having been completed and packed.

Thursday, January 24, 1924.

Front portion of the second shrine including its two doors removed in presence of the Davies' & Gardiner's. In the afternoon discussed with Harkness & Lythgoe policy as to action on part of Eg. Gov.

Friday, January 25, 1924.

Breasted came to the Valley with his son. Discussed with him and Gardiner in regard to protest of Eg. Gov. action with reference to our work on the tomb etc.

Received draft of letter from Maxwell for consideration for sending to the Eg. Gov.
Callender sent in his resignation - blaming my action towards him.

Saturday, January 26, 1924.

Mace conferred with Harkness & Lythgoe on letter. Callender, Burton, and Lucas continued work on tomb and Lab.

The Ministry having fallen this week it is doubtful whether any news of a new one will be known before tomorrow Sunday. They (the old Ministers) lunch with King Fuad today and it is said the question of a new Ministry will be settled during the afternoon ???

Discussed reply to Eg. Gov.'s last letter with Harkness, Lythgoe and Mace - they kindly undertaking to make an amended draft of Maxwell's letter.

Sunday, January 27, 1924.

Dismantled two sections of the second shrine (237) and prepared the sepulchre for the press view tomorrow.
Noticed that on the end tongues of the side panels the proper orientation had been marked in black ink - i.e., on the S.W. corners of both first and second shrine panels are the signs <>, viz.- 'front west'.

Monday, January 28, 1924.

Pasted paper over the bad parts of the panels preparatory to removal on Wednesday.
Press day about 25 visits. Mostly visitors coming out of curiosity.

Wednesday, January 30, 1924.

Mrs Newberry commenced upon the restoration as far as it is possible of the remnants of the pall (209). So much of the fabric which before it was touched appeared though much darkened (a rich chocolate brown) to be in fair preservation, but in the attempt to remove it from its support it fell into a brown sooty powder.
Removed the fourth (N. section) section of the cornice of the IInd shrine (237).
Unwrapped a number of sticks, found within the S.E. corner of the outer shrine, before the archaeologists and wives then at Thebes.

Thursday, January 31, 1924.

Completed the dismantling of the IInd shrine - (237). Exposed between the walls of this shrine and those of the IIIrd shrine (238) objects on the north, south, & west sides - these comprise two fans finely worked and bows and arrows. See photos for exact positions. The fans - gold handles finely worked and inlaid - are I think unique as far as former discovery goes. Their ostrich feathers are unfortunately much damaged (?) from early insects.

On one of the tongues (present position N.W. end) of the N. panel is the note <> 'back East' which corroborates the contention that these shrines have been wrongly placed in the sepulchral chamber.

Friday, February 1, 1924.

Pd. Sals. Abd el Asl
Taha
Hussein
& Rehaan LE9.100

Completely dismantled No. III shrine (238) today - leaving now only the IVth to be taken to pieces. Both the IIIrd and fourth shrines show signs of having been very carelessly put together, many of the joints were not even properly closed. Also number of hammer marks where they endeavoured to force the sections together.
Removed the fans and bows, etc., lying between IInd (237) and IIIrd (238) shrines.

Saturday, February 2, 1924.

Had conference with Maxwell (who came today especially), Harkness & Lythgoe upon letter to be sent to the Dir. Gen. S. des. A.

In the afternoon lifted the lid of the fourth shrine (239). Exposing the lid of the sarcophagus. Lythgoe & Harkness were present.

Sunday, February 3, 1924.

With the good aid of Winlock, Lythgoe and Harkness dismantled the fourth shrine (239) exposing the whole of the sarcophagus (240). This proved to be of magnificent type and workmanship though the actual lid of poorer work, was of granite, cracked in two, and appears to be a makeshift.
The sarcophagus is of yellow crystalline sandstone, slightly tinted, having the four goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selkit carved in high relief at the four corners with their winged arms outstretched protecting the sides and ends of the casket. The upper part has the same entablature as the three outer shrines - namely: cornice, of cavetto moulding, torus moulding, and frieze, the latter bearing a legend. At the base is a dado of <> in relief, and on the four sides of the casket bands of text. On the south side of the sarcophagus, placed nearly central, was a large wooden painted emblem of <> .
The lid, of granite, cracked in halves, takes the form of the roof of a naos, thus: <> and is slightly let in the top of the cornice.

Monday, February 4, 1924.

Removed the four parts of the IVth Shrine (239).
Shewed Bethell, Breasted (who came in the afternoon) and Newberry the sarcophagus.

Wednesday, February 6, 1924.

Took dimensions of the sarcophagus for necessary glass & tackle to remove the lid. Many visitors came which gave one little time.
Left for Cairo in the evening with view of seeing the Min. of P.W.D. (Morkhos Bey Hanna).

Thursday, February 7, 1924.

As arranged with Tottenham the press were allowed to visit the tomb during the morning.

Arrived Cairo. Saw Gardiner in the morning with whom I had a long conversation with regard to attitude with this new Ministry. He assuring me that their attitude was to be friendly, and to be willing to let bygones be bygones. He (Gardiner) seemed to have meddled with the affair rather much, but with obviously good intention.

As arranged saw Min. P.W.D. at 5 pm at the P.W.D. On arrival I was told that the Min. was late and that I should have to wait some twenty minutes. While so doing I was called to go and see Tottenham at his office, when Tottenham advised me to only raise the question of the opening of the sarcophagus with the Minister - in fact he said it would be better if all former negotiations could be forgotten & papers destroyed. Tottenham, having thus somewhat disarmed me, suddenly thrust upon me a document which his ministry considered threw light upon the question of division of the discovery. This document was a permit given to Lord C. to make an investigation in the Great Northern Valley (8 Dec. 1918) where I thought I had made a possible discovery. At first I did not recognise it, but when Tottenham pointed out that it was signed by me & I began to read it carefully the whole subject came clear to my memory & I at once explained to him that it had nothing to with the Valley of the Kings contract. We then proceeded to the office of the Min. P.W.D.

There, with Tottenham, I met the new Minister, Morkhos Bey Hanna, who appeared to be most gracious, and who almost immediately complained that I had sent Gardiner to him with complaint against the S. des A. This I explained was a mistake and that I believed Gardiner had gone to him as representative of his colleagues with regard to their feelings in the question of action on part of the S. des A., and that it was nothing to do with me. The Min. then asked me if I was 'in accord' with the Service of Antiquities and I told him that I was not 'in accord' with their methods of administration but that personally other than that my feelings were quite different. He said or rather asked me that I had any grievances would I write him on the matter. I answered in the affirmative. The Min. said that I thought possibly I had thought I might be legally within my rights, I had made a great mistake in forming a contract with The Times as it had certainly caused a nasty odour with the local press. I agreed, but reminded the Min. that it was not altogether my doing and that The Times contract was left me as a legacy which I had to protect, but I assured the Min. that after April (1924), that contract would be at end & I undertook it would not occur again. He then said that I was wrong in going America so early this year - that I was in taking up this scientific work a public servant. I pointed out to him that we were not in exact agreement in this matter, and I immediately brought up the question of the opening of the sarcophagus - I should add that Tottenham told the Min. that the previous negotiations had been of an acrimonious nature and that they better be left alone - the Min. said let us not bring up the past. At this moment of the conversation the Min. said to me that Mons. Lacau was waiting & could he bring him in? I acquiesced, whereupon Lacau came in with a dossier in his hand - Tottenham having already brought a dossier with him. Lacau immediately referred to past events and said that I was guilty of taking into the tomb a great number of visitors - I answered 'let us stick to facts' I haven't taken in one twentieth of the number the government had invited, to which remark Tottenham agreed.
The Min. referred to the question of publicity to which Lacau laughed, but at this point I reverted the conversation to the question of opening the sarcophagus and said to the Min. I hoped H.E. would be present at the ceremony. The Min. asked me whether they would see the 'Corpse'? I replied that as far as we were able to judge from previous evidence of the customs of the royal burials, no, but probably only the outer coffin of a series of coffins containing the royal mummy. The Min. was disappointed at this & said he did not think it worth while coming. Then proposed that he should send a delegate and that in the presence of Mons. Lacau, and other representatives of the Service, I would, with my collaborators, open the sarcophagus, and that if we were satisfied that the results were sufficiently interesting we would advise H.E. to come and view it. To this the Min. was in agreement. I also requested that the press should not be allowed to see the tomb again on Monday 11th as they would see nothing more than on the past press view (Thursday 7th), but that I proposed opening the tomb to them on Wednesday 13th to see results of our opening the sarcophagus on Tuesday 12th. I also asked for three or four days from the 14th for taking records, when no visitors would be allowed to enter the tomb and that then after the Ministry, if they so wished, had viewed the tomb, we should open it for a period of say about ten days to the public - or rather authorised visitors holding permits from the Ministry. The Minister was in agreement to this and asked Lacau, Tottenham and myself to talk over the arrangements, sign them, & present them to him. To this we (Lacau, Tottenham & self) agreed to do at Lacau's house the following morning (8th) at 11am. This ended the interview. (I should remark here that though the whole negotiations appeared be quite amicable I felt inwardly that there was an atmosphere of hostility; there was certainly an element of dictation in the interview.)

When leaving the Minister's office, just outside the door, Lacau attacked me with regard to Gardiner's conversation with him - I answered that I knew nothing about it & appealed to Tottenham against any attacks of this kind.

Friday, February 8, 1924.

Cook E3 on a/c.

At eleven am I met Tottenham and Lacau at Lacau's house. There we drafted our mutual agreement as procedure (1) the opening of the sarcophagus, (2) admittance of press (3) time reserved for taking records, and (4) authorized visitors to the tomb - the exact date of the latter question was mutually agreed to be left open until we knew whether the Minister & his colleagues would visit the tomb or not. A (5th) clause was entered stating that with the exception of the 13th inst. (press view) all visits will be suspended from now until the tomb is opened to authorized visitors.

Tottenham mentioned the fact that some permits had been issued for the period in question and asked what was to be done about it. I replied to that point that we would do our best to overcome the difficulty.

We (Lacau, Tottenham and self), signed the draft agreement, and Tottenham was requested to present the document to the Min. P.W.D. This ended our negotiations.

I returned to Luxor that evening - having purchased tackle and glass for the coming preparations.

Lacau suggested to me that necessary scaffolding & preparations would have to be installed in the tomb against damage of the objects during the visits.

We also agreed that the permits issued by the Ministry should not exceed 750 as the time allotted to these visits would not permit of more people - than 75 a day, this in the interests of the public and in the upkeep of the monument - Lacau suggested 200 a day - ie. 10 am to 1 pm & I represented to him that only a certain number of 'peas could be passed through a tube in a given time'.

Saturday, February 9, 1924.

Arrived Luxor - Gurna. Conferred with Mace who lunched with me. I represented to Mace that though I had gained the points we wanted for our scientific side of the investigation and also those regarding press and public visits, I, personally, was not impressed with the general attitude of this new Gov., and stated that 'oil and water would not mix'.

Previous to my departure to Cairo, Engelbach had written to me a letter suggesting a quite new rule with regard to our light supply in the tomb. It was to the extent that if I require light in the afternoon I must give him at least 2 hours notice before hand - this so as to enable him to check his engineers accounts and only for that reason. I annotated his letter asking to waive the point as I could not always let him know beforehand whether I might want the light in the afternoon or not and if it was a question of accounts I would check them for him - therefore would he please let the matter rest at that.

I also reiterated this request to Engelbach in the tomb on the same morning I wrote the note in reply to his.

Monday, February 11.

Last working day.


(November 3, 2010)

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