The Griffith Institute
University of Oxford
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Journal of Howard Carter

Name of the object: Howard Carter’s excavation journal (extract).

Date: 1922-1925.

Object information: Black ring-binder containing 148 loose-leaf, graph-lined pages, paper and black ink, 33 by 21.5 cm. The journal covers the period 28 October, 1922 to 31 March, 1925. All entries are by Howard Carter except for some entries by Arthur C. Mace who was another member of the excavation team.

Archive number: TAA Archive i.2.1.

Information link:

Image link:

Background information: The journal contains Howard Carter’s account of the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun including the entry for Sunday 26 November 1922 when Carter glimpsed Tutankhamun’s treasures for the first time. In a series of journals Carter recorded the progress of the excavation, the challenges the excavation team had retrieving the fragile objects safely, the need to create new conservation methods for the range of material found in the tomb, as well as entries noting visits to the tomb by officials, royalty and well-known people from around the world. Carter wrote a book on the discovery titled The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen and the excavation journal was important reference material for this.


Object activities: Read what is written in this extract, read the extract aloud using appropriate expression to give a sense of drama, read the extract to yourself and imagine what was happening then describe this to somebody else.

Extension activities: 1) Write a journal entry describing an event you were involved in, look at other examples of journals and diaries, imagine you were a famous person from history and write a journal entry describing something that happened to them.
2) Compare Carter’s journal above with Minnie Burton’s Diary (see link below). Minnie accompanied her husband Harry to Egypt, where he worked on photographing the tomb of Tutankhamun. She was not involved with the physical excavation of the tomb, but recorded in her diary the many social events and individuals around at the time. The 1920s was a time of great change for women’s rights - 1929 was the first general election in which women over the age of 21 could vote. Think about the differences Minnie Burton and Howard Carter experienced during the excavation. Which would you rather be in the 1920s and why - a male British archaeologist or a female ‘social butterfly’? Can you find any examples of British women that did actually get their hands dirty working on digs in Egypt during the 1920s? (Hint: there might be some in other parts of our website, but you will have to look hard!)

Related objects:

Minnie C. Burton’s Diary:

Queen Victoria’s Journals:
[Queen Victoria’s coronation, Thursday 28th June 1838]

Captain R. F. Scott’s Diary: