Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation.
Howard Carter's diaries.
The ninth excavation season in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
September 24 to November 10, 1930

© Griffith Institute, Oxford OX1 2LG

Concept and direction: Jaromir Malek
Transcript: Sue Hutchison
Editing: Jaromir Malek and Ana I. Navajas Jimenez

[Note: all dates have been standardized.]

This diary, written partly in ink and partly in pencil in Howard Carter's hand, is on pages 59-65 of a large notebook (32.5 by 21 cm) with a label Egyptian Government on its front cover. It is catalogued in the Griffith Institute Archive as TAA Archive i.2.4.

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.

September 24, 1930.

Left London for Cairo.

September 29, 1930.

Arrived Alexandria and Cairo (accompanying H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Sweden).

October 5, 1930.

Left Cairo for Luxor.

October 6, 1930.

Arrived Gurna.

October 7, 1930.

Put house in order.

October 8, 1930.

Opened Lab. No. 15. Found everything in order.

Commenced reparations upon the faldstool No. 351.

Arranged for workmen to commence clearing the entrance of the tomb on the morrow Wednesday.

October 9, 1930.

Cleaned the entrance of the tomb.

Continued work in Lab. upon faldstool 351.

October 10, 1930.

Removed staircase from entrance of tomb. Continued working up. 351. Find work very trying when having an Inspector watching one and asking questions as to one's actions the whole time!

October 11, 1930.

Getting along very well with Tewfik Effendi and Edward Davran Effendi, notwithstanding they kept us waiting this morning (they being late) and both told me how to do my work - reparation of chair 351 and the removal of the shrines from the tomb!!!

Opened tomb this morning and ordered necessary wood, masons for the work of removing the shrines.

These last two days have been terribly heavy & hot making work somewhat tedious.

October 12, 1930.

Continued work upon faldstool 351.

Quantity of timber arrived, but not all that I ordered.

All woodwork and rails for visitors removed from the tomb today.

October 13, 1930.

Lucas arrived.

Prepared material, etc., ready to deal with the shrines in the tomb on Wednesday morning.

October 21, 1930.

The whole of this last week was spent upon the reparation of the roof section (one piece) of the fourth (innermost) shrine, the two roof sections of the third shrine, and the east end roof section of the second shrine, that were among those parts stored in the south end of the antechamber. Each of their sections were in very bad condition, and owing to their size and weight hard to deal with. By our removing the steel-gate and pulling down the made up parts of the entrance staircase and doorway - that had been originally cut away to allow the larger sections of the shrines to pass in - we were able to take out the two roof sections of the third shrine. The other sections when packed are too large to pass out until the passage and doorways have been enlarged.

Although it is a fortnight since I requested the inspector, Tewfik Effendi, to obtain skilful stone cutters to carry out this enlarging of the entrance passage and doorways, there are no signs of them yet! - Such a state of affairs makes things all the more difficult, for until the sections are removed we are in want of space to continue our reparation and packing work.

October 22-31, 1930.

The stone cutters arrived on the 22nd and commenced cutting away the south side of the passage and entrance doorways to allow the larger sections of the shrines to pass out. This was not completed until the 31st of the month, although five masons were employed.

During this period we were able to replace all the roof sections that were stored in the anteroom, as well as one of the side sections (that of the innermost shrine) around the sarcophagus. Many of the roof sections were in a very bad condition, and even though we waxed them & filled in the weak parts, I doubt whether they will travel without further injury to them.

November 1, 1930.

Our work was temporarily stopped owing to the arrival of the Crown Prince of Sweden, whom I was obliged to attend during his three day visit to Luxor.

On Monday the third of Nov. at the request of the Crown Prince I opened one of the niches containing the magical figure in the burial chamber of the tomb. This proved to be: -

An Osiris figure of unbaked clay, swathed in fine linen, stood on a brick-like pedestal, also made of unbaked clay, upon which a formula has been graven. This figure upon its pedestal was placed, facing south, in a small and roughly made rectangular niche cut in the southern part of the eastern wall of the burial chamber. The niche was closed with a rough limestone slab which was plastered over flush with the surface of the wall.

Although the cardinal points are more than often marked upon these magical figures, their exact position in the walls of the burial chambers is not at all clear - the chaps. referring to them in copies of the Book of the Dead vary considerably.

However, the position of this Osiris figure according to some of the vignettes in the B. of the D. should be in the wall facing the feet of the mummy, where we found it. The flame in the wall at the head of the mummy. The Ded in the wall on the right side and the figure of Anubis on the wall on the left. Thus in this tomb we should find the flame in the western wall, the Ded somewhere in the southern wall, and the figure of the jackal- like-dog of Anubis in the north wall.

November 5-10, 1930.

Completed waxing, packing and removal of all the roof sections of the shrines that were stored in the antechamber - these have been temporarily placed in their cases in the tomb of Ramses 9.

Also waxed and packed the south side panel of the fourth innermost shrine, and that of the third shrine and nearly completed the south panel of the second shrine.

Note "Shrine"
These shrines have a slight batter - about 1 cent. per metre. The panels of the second shrine show traces of the king's cartouches having been changed - the gold covering these cartouches is of a slightly yellower quality and less tarnished than the rest of the gilt surfaces. The style of work upon the panels of this shrine has distinctly the character of the El Amarna school. Thus it would appear that the cartouches, originally containing the Aten name, had been changed to the Amen name, and that the shrine was the work of the earlier part of the king's reign or that an El Amarna artist had been employed and had made the mistake of employing the Aten name instead of that of Amen in the king's nomen.

(December 17, 2010)

Back to Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation.