The November 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter sparked worldwide interest in Egypt and antiquity. Herbert Hoover even named his dog King Tut. On this date in 1923, Carter peered into the burial chamber for the first time and saw Tut’s sarcophagus. The following breezy note in the Nation of January 16, 1924, was written by “The Drifter,” a pseudonym for a revolving cast of staff writers who penned the light-hearted column “In the Driftway,” from 1918 to 1935.
As Mr. Howard Carter and his helpers have penetrated further and further within the tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen and as the great doors of shrine after shrine have swung out to admit them still nearer to the sanctum sanctorum, the Drifter may as well confess to a steady sinking of the heart. Now that the sarcophagus, in all its polished rose-colored splendor, is at last exposed to view his gloom is profound. He does not, of course, deny or wish to mitigate the archaeological value of these treasures of ebony and bronze and faience and alabaster, or their desirability as objects of art; but he was unequivocally relieved when King George issued a royal edict against the last desecration: prying modern eyes, however reverently proceeding in the names of science and beauty, shall not see the Pharaoh stripped to his dry, rattling skin; the mummy clothes are to be left intact; for this little dignity left to him, let Tut-ankh-Amen take what consolation he may.
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