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happier time when all Tutankhamun was concerned with was hunting and playing with the birds and fish in the pleasure pools of the palace of his childhood. Perhaps these things were even in the palace of his childhood and maybe he spent hours playing with them, or looking at them, and by keeping them he was able to conjure up those feelings of relaxation and peace before the pressures of kingship took their toll. Often when looking at the hundreds of beautiful golden objects in his tomb it is easy to forget that Tutankhamun was a person, and a very young person at that. He would not have seen all of the objects placed into his tomb, so they would have little meaning to him; but the smaller artefacts representing remnants of his life can speak volumes. This applies in particular to the personal items of clothing and jewellery and other items clearly used by the king in his lifetime. Although this article has raised many questions to which there are no answers, it represents a different way of looking at the archaeological record. Although looking at the manufacture, material and inscriptions of an artefact is essential, it is also important to question why the object was there: was it a personal object and what emotions and feelings would this conjure in the person who owned it? When in doubt think “how would I feel?”; most of the time the people of the past would feel the same.

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth graduated from UCL with a BA (Hons) and MA in Egyptian Archaeology and is currently studying towards her PhD at Swansea University. She teaches Egyptology in the South East

Further Reading

Cerny J. 1965: Hieratic Inscriptions from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Oxford. Griffith Institute. Desroches-Noblecourt C. 1971: Tutankhamun. Harmondsworth. Penguin. Hawass Z. 2005: Tutankhamun Facial Reconstruction. Cairo. Press Release. Leek F. F. 1972: The Human Remains from the Tomb of Tut’ankhamun. Oxford. Griffith Institute. Manniche L. 1976: Musical Instruments from the Tomb of Tut’ankhamun. Oxford. Griffith Institute. Panagiotakopulu E. 2004: Pharaonic Egypt and the origins of plague in Journal of Biogeography31 pp. 269-75. Reeves N. 1990: The Complete Tutankhamun. London. Thames and Hudson. Tait W. J. 1982: Game Boxes and Accessories from the Tomb of Tut’ankhamun. Oxford. Griffith Institute.

of England and is the author of numerous published books and articles, including: People in Ancient Egypt 2006, Tempus; and The Boy behind the Mask: Meeting the real Tutankhamun2007, Oneworld Publications.

Top: a simple faience necklace, perhaps worn by the king on less formal occasions.

Above: Tutankhamun’s ostrich-feather fan, with the original feathers still surviving.

ANCIENTEGYPTDecember 2007/January 2008

Left: one of a pair of sandals belonging to the king. The upper sole depicts the enemies of Egypt, which the king would magically trample underfoot as he walked.

Photos: RP.


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