Government and Politics
Was King Tut the greatest ruler of ancient Egypt?
No, in fact, King Tut’s reign was relatively unimportant in the vast history of ancient Egypt. A ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Tutankhamen (c. 1370–1352 B.C.) was in power from age nine (1361 B.C.) until his death at the age of 18—a nine-year period that would be of little significance were it not for the November 1922 discovery of his tomb in the Valley of the Kings near ancient Thebes (present-day Luxor). Of the 27 pharaohs buried near Thebes, only the tomb of the minor king, Tutankhamen, was spared looting through the ages. Having not been opened since ancient times, the tomb still contained its treasures.
In the antechamber English archeologist Howard Carter (1873–1939) found more than 600 artifacts, including funerary bouquets, sandals, robes, cups and jars, a painted casket, life-size wooden statues of Tutankhamen, animal-sided couches, remnants of chariots, and a golden throne. In the burial chambers a team of archaeologists discovered four golden shrines and the golden coffin containing the royal mummy of Tutankhamen—complete with a golden mask covering his head and shoulders.
Earlier in his career, Carter had discovered the tombs of King Tut’s predecessors, Queen Hatshepsut (c. 1520–c. 1468 B.C.) and King Thutmose IV (d. 1417 B.C.), both of whom were also rulers during Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty.