SWAFFHAM TRAIL Tutankhamen Home

Howard Carter was the person who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen

He was born in Kensington in London in 1874 but spent most of his childhood in the countryside of Swaffham due to ill health.


His parents, Samuel and Martha, were both Swaffham people, as was his grandfather Samuel Carter.


His father Samuel was a noted animal animal artist and Howard would accompany him to the great local houses when he was commissioned to paint.

It was while he was on such a visit that his interest in Egyptology started whilst visiting Didlington Hall, home of Lord and Lady Amhurst


Observing Howard’s obvious talent Lady Amhurst recommended him to the Egypt Exploration Fund to copy tomb paintings


In 1892 he worked at Amarna, the capital city founded by the Pharaoh Akhenaton and between 1894 and 1899 he recorded the wall reliefs in the temple of Hatshpsut

He discovered the tombs of Thutmose 1, the 3rd pharaoh of the 18th dynasty and Thutmose III, the sixth pharaoh. Unfortunately both tombs had been robbed of their treasures years before he found them.


Howard met Lord Carnarvon who decided to finance an expedition for Howard to search for a little known pharaoh called Tutankhamun. For five years he found nothing.  


By 1922 Lord Carnarvon thought that the Valley of the Kings held no more secrets. But Howard had faith.

In November 1922 the team of over 100 men began work

On the 5th November a step was found. He dug and dug until he found the tomb of Tutankhamen.

26th November they opened the room. Howard recorded it as “The day of days, the most wonderful I have ever lived through.”

The burial chamber was opened on 16th February 1923, Howard was to spend the next ten years excavating its treasures.


Lord Carnarvon died soon after but Howard died in 1939 aged 64 and is buried in London