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Author Topic: Howard Carter's Threat to Expose "the Scandalous Exodus of the Jews from Egypt".  (Read 33749 times)
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Posts: 318

« on: January 30, 2011, 04:05:37 AM »

I just finished reading “In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun’s Tomb” by Columbia University professor Daniel Meyerson.


This is a short but excellent biography of Howard Carter.  It is only marred by Meyerson’s need to exonerate Carter of accusations that he robbed the tomb prior to its “official opening”.  

According to one reviewer, “This book illustrates what a dedicated and determined man Howard Carter was, but it also shows what a difficult and obsessive, even possessive character he was. He was not above stretching the truth and rumors persist about when exactly he opened King Tut’s tomb and what he removed.”

Why the author feels the need to defend Carter is something of a mystery in itself.  Even more disturbing is his treatment of authors who formerly explored the possibility of fraud.  Meyerson has clearly read the works of those authors, such as “Tutankhamun: The Exodus Conspiracy” by Andrew Collins and Chris Ogilvie-Herald, “The Search for the Gold of Tutankhamun” by Arnold Brackman” and “The Tutankhamun Deception” by Gerald O”Farrell”.  However, he does not directly reference any of these non-academic titles.  Instead, he refers (p 184) to these authors obliquely as “less scrupulous theorists” and “wild-eyed weavers of conspiracy theories (of who there are many)”.  It is the epitome of academic arrogance, especially considering all of the evidence presented by Meyerson strongly supports the conclusion that Carter and his patron Carnarvon conspired to keep knowledge of the “magnificent tomb” of Tut a secret as long as possible – not merely so they could finish clearing the entire floor of the Valley of the Kings and extracting all remaining artifacts, but also to discretely remove (and sell) items that could not be traced directly to the tomb of Tut.

Below is a summary of evidence given by Meyerson and reasoning as to why it does not support his conclusion:

When Carter and Carnarvon gained the Valley of the Kings “digging concession”, there was a changing of the guard from Maspero to Lacau as Director of Antiquities in Egypt (p 177).  Lacau denied Carter and Carnarvon’s request to keep an unused sarcophagus of Hatshepsut from her first/abandoned tomb in the Valley (p 177).  Carter and Carnarvon understood immediately that the rules of excavation had changed.  They could no longer expect to receive an equal division of spoils from a newly discovered tomb, and regardless of whether it was still “in tact” or not.  The new policy actually encouraged excavators to NOT report findings in a timely fashion, if at all.

During the long years of ostensibly not finding another tomb in the Valley (or anything else of significance), Carnarvon acquired the cache of “The Three Princesses” (from the reign of Thutmose III), which had been discovered by others after a rare flash-flood in Middle Egypt.  Although Carter had nothing to do with this particular treasure trove, he was allowed by Carnarvon to make a handsome profit by selling it off (p 137-8).  The obvious implication, which Meyerson fails to recognize or even suspect, is that Carnarvon was buying Carter’s continued cooperation and silence regarding Tut’s tomb.

Prior to Carter’s taking control over the Valley of the Kings, he had already determined that the tomb of Tut would be found within a small triangular area that included the tomb of Ramses VI (p 173), which almost entirely overlays the tomb of Tut.  Carter reinforced the area just under the opening of the tomb of Ramses VI (p 184), and thereby effectively discouraged digging around the entrance to the tomb of Tut.  Yet, when Carter gained the right to excavate “the triangle”, he instead meticulously avoided it.  Meyerson notes that Egyptologist Christine El-Mahdy believed that Carter “knew it, but he was saving it”, i.e., the tomb entrance.  However, Meyerson (p 184), along with Egyptologists in general, cannot bring himself to accept that Carter could have been “the mastermind of a complicated plot unequaled in the annals of archaeology”.    

By 1922, the floor of the Valley had been totally cleared of debris except for that conspicuous triangular patch.  Carter and Carnarvon could stall no further.  They could however at least pretend to agonize over the decision to excavate just one more year in the Valley, and use the gullible American James Breasted as a straight-man in that charade.  However, once the decision was made to make one final attempt, the tomb entrance was “discovered” straight away.  Meyerson raises the point that Carter would have further delayed if he was really trying to disguise that he already knew where to look.  On the other hand, if he did already know how “magnificent” the tomb and its contents really were, then there was no time to waste.  It would take all available time to clear the tomb of its contents before the season ended.

Meyerson clearly demonstrates that Carter had the motive, opportunity, and ability to discover and enter the tomb as early as the outbreak of World War I.  During World War I, there was no official digging in the Valley, however Carter had been discharged from military duty and had free reign in the Valley, which was devoid of government overseers for the duration of the war (175-6).  Prior to the war, Carter had explored the tunnel system of the Valley, and more vigorously than any other European (p 115-117).  Carter was also on friendly terms with the local tomb-robbing families and had actually negotiated on their behalf (over possession of looted artifacts) with Theodore Davis, holder of the Valley digging concession before Carnarvon.  Meyerson concedes (p 161) that Carter did “secretly enter the inner burial chamber and then replace the blocking for the official opening.”  Meyerson agrees that Carter pilfered many items, some of which were later returned by his niece.  One such item is among the most iconic objects of Tut’s tomb, i.e., the head of Tut rising out of a lotus plant.  The accepted view is that he took these items for himself after the official tomb opening and despite all of the media and government attention.  He could have more easily removed such items before the official opening.  Irrespective, Meyersons’ assertion that Carter “had integrity in the higher sense” and was therefore incapable of looting the tomb prior to the official opening is a complete non-sequitur.

The life of Howard Carter is sympathetic enough.  There is no need to cover for him (or for his patron Lord Carnarvon).  He did what was expected of a man in his position.  If Carter had any regret it probably was for not having removed more items from the tomb and not making the tomb appear more profoundly spoiled.  The Egyptian government did in fact declare the tomb to be “in tact”.  They took full control of the tomb and barred Carter from clearing its contents before the season was out.  Despite having the "integrity" to skim only a little (rather than a lot), Carter was snubbed by his own country.  Meyerson does not deny a well established belief among Egyptians that Carter and Carnarvon had the means to spirit away some or all of the tomb objects before the tomb’s official opening.  Lord Carnarvon of course would have been beyond any reproach for this, especially after his sudden death, however the rude treatment of Carter (p 43) by the English government only serves to confirm rumored local knowledge of the looting operation and its extent.

But isn’t all this controversy academic in the final analysis?  In the conflicted opinion of Meyerson, definitely not!  Meyerson believes that there is merit to another conspiracy involving the tomb of Tut, and one far bigger than the alleged secret despoiling of the tomb (which he dismisses):

“The Pharaoh’s Underwear” by Daniel Meyerson

The conspiracy involving suppressed papyri (relating to the Jewish Exodus) from the tomb of Tut was previously examined by Collins and Ogilvie-Herald and by O’Farrell, and in far more detail than Meyerson (p 145).  

Another interesting twist in the relationship between Carnarvon and his Jewish father-in-law is that the name of Carnarvon’s wife was Almina, a name that is of some important in early Islamic history!

Other reviews of “In the Valley of the Kings”:

« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 04:21:42 AM by Chuck-Star » Logged
Posts: 4

« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2011, 03:12:56 AM »

I believe Carter knew exactly what he had found, but recognized the danger of saying it directly and also that it provided the ultimate bargaining chip.  

It was impossible to ignore that contained within the tomb was the Ark of the Covenant, The Mercy Seat of the Shekinah, The Tabernacle, The Breastplate of the Cohen Gadol, etc, etc.  Tut's tomb was the ultimate smoking gun for those who intelligent and informed enough to see it for what it was.

It was the first realization that the Hyksos of the 14-17th Dynasties were indeed Shepherd Kings, but of Egypt not Israel and that they were foreigners only from a local perspective, but full blooded relatives of the Southern Dynasties.   Furthermore, the story of Abraham through Jacob in Genesis is a parallel account. They were readily connected to their pharonic titles, and it became clear that Tanis and Avaris were the actual locations of the exploits of Abraham and Jacob, et al.

Cribbed from Ogilvie Herald and Collins:
"In the spring of 1924, 18 months after the discovery of the tomb. All work had been brought to a halt. Egyptian officialdom bombarded Carter to distraction with petty rules and restrictions.  Open war was announced when they announced that they were laying claim in total to the priceless relics Carter had found. Strict limits were placed on the number of foreigners allowed to enter the tomb whilst, at the same time, hordes of local dignitaries flooded in and out of the tomb - without a care for the priceless and irreplaceable items strewn about them.

Carter ordered his men, effectively, to strike!  Permission to explore the site was revoked.  Seething with anger Carter confronted officials at the British Consulate in Cairo.  Heated words were exchanged - then Carter made an extraordinary threat - Unless he got what he wanted he would publish, for the whole world to read, a set of ancient papyrus documents he had found in the tomb.  These gave the "true account of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt"!!  To modern ears the full implications may be unclear but, as we shall see, Carter was threatening truly explosive disclosures - ancient documents that would do nothing less than re-write the history of Judaism and Christianity.  The British official realised what he was up to.  This was at the same time as tensions were rising over plans to establish a Jewish homeland in the Middle East.  What Carter was suggesting would throw the Middle East into turmoil.  The official was so incensed he hurled an ink well at Carter, who ducked just in time!  The inkwell exploded against the wall so much so that the room had to be redecorated!

Carter suddenly found that he had vigorous support from the British in his fight to regain control. He was soon placed back in charge and continued his work for another 7 years. In return for this he never mentioned the documents again.  History deemed that Carter's threat was an idle one - but it was no invention, and the secrets he may have stumbled upon completely overturn key elements of the Bible.  The implications are enormous - forcing us to ask whether the person we call Moses was in fact a renegade Egyptian priest and whether Christianity has its roots begun by a religious revolution begun by a heretical pharaoh.

The contents of these papyrus documents are so contentious that if they had been made public, may well have changed the course of the 20th Century completely. The missing papyri have been the subject of speculation ever since his tomb was opened. Lord Caernarfon mentioned their discovery in 2 letters to friends.  A report in The Times also mentioned their existence. The author was extremely close to Carter having exclusive rights to the story unfolding.  Carter cabled a distinguished philologist, Sir Alan Gardiner, asking for his help in translating the contents.  He expressed "particular interest" in the papyri and suggested that they may throw some light on religion in the times of the boy king.

It is odd that, later, the official story changed and everyone began insisting that these documents never existed!!  Carter alleged that the find was in fact "loin cloths" - the boy kings "underwear"!!  And that poor light made for the misunderstanding. Amusing it may be but can we believe it?  Too many people saw these documents for themselves before they "disappeared".  And an astounding "blunder" for someone of Carter's standing. Lord Caernarfon himself states that, on their first entry into the room, it was fully illuminated by electric light. Someone is clearly lying through their teeth?

Looking a little closer at this discovery, the official version has Carter uncovering a secret sunken staircase in the Valley of the Kings. Then penetrating a doorway sealed with the jackal emblem of Egyptian royalty, then clearing a rubble strewn corridor leading to another doorway.  Making a small hole, he peers through this doorway to reveal strange animals, statues and gold, everywhere the glint of gold.  With him were Lord Caernarfon and his daughter Lady Evelyn. They both take their turn to look and that is all they did. Requiring permission to remove the door and enter, then reseal the hole, the next day, November 27th 1922, to open in front of onlooking officials.  This sounds all very right and correct but it is not what happened!

Curiosity got the better of Carter and his associates - they entered the ante room on first discovery and THEN resealed the hole.  To play act the "official opening" the next day.  There is also undisputable evidence that this party breached the doorway of another ante room the same day and entered the Kings burial chamber.  This was 3 months before the "official opening" of the burial chamber. He concealed the hole that he had made by erecting a wooden platform over the floor level hole he had crawled through.  Who revealed all this? The Lady Evelyn to another member of her family. This was then recorded in his diary and gave a description of how Carter, in front of dignitaries, was "nervous, poor old fellow, like a naughty schoolboy, fearing that his hole would be discovered".  He also had a copy made of the royal seal which covered the door, to replace the one removed upon his illicit entry."

In 1930 or so when Carter had catalogued and removed the tomb's contents, and the threat that would have been posed to his work if the Egyptians found out what he had discovered has thus passed, he begain to privately share some of his real discovery with certain people such as Alan Gardiner

It was only after meeting Carter that Freud put forth the thesis in "Moses and Monotheism" and it was more than a hunch.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 02:49:01 PM by Tim » Logged
Sr. Member
Posts: 318

« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:57:51 AM »

Hey Tim!

Shocking that historical documents could first be used by Carter as blackmail and subsequently written off as a mistaken case of underwear!!  Well, we figured out the rest of the story anyway.
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