Apparently a new King Tut exhibit opens this week in LA, which makes me feel old, as I remember seeing the last King Tut exhibit in the 70’s or 80’s. But what’s the significance of King Tut? I thought he was a relatively minor Egyptian ruler. So is the significance that his tomb was not looted centuries ago, so that it’s the only one that was left intact? And given the riches of his tomb, can I assume that one of the major kings (like Cheops) would have left a more fabulous tomb, but that it’s long since been looted?
Pretty much. Tut showed us just how much wealth these people had, and it in a very vivid fashion. And even though he personally wasn’t important, he was right in the middle of important going-son in the world.
Possibly. Of course, the mere fact that he was a minor and unimportant nobody from the perspective of history doesn’t mean he spent any less on himself.
What I find funny is that, given the available gold in the world, the Egyptian kings would have each had a substantial portion of wealth… which came from the previous king’s tomb. Heh.
The tomb was not completely intact. There are signs that it had been robbed soon after Tut was buried. Apparently, it was discovered, and resealed, but there’s no way of knowing how much was taken, and whether or not it was replaced.
My favorite part of the Tut’s Tomb story, and one that makes me feel a kinship with my fellows in the design and drafting field lo these many thousands of years of years ago, is that, though each piece of the inner tomb was annoted, showing which piece attached to which and where, the assemblers threw it together willy-nilly and when something didn’t fit because it didn’t belong there they took a BFH (Big Freakin’ Hammer) and MADE it fit, regardless of the damage they caused. (sigh) Nothing has changed except the names of the assemblers.
There was a big power struggle going on right before the time of Tut. There is speculation that Nefertiti changed her name and became Pharoah herself (note - this is not universally accepted by scholars). Regardless of the details, when Akhenaton and Nefertiti fell from power the political power shifted the other way and many people seem to have gone to great lengths to erase portions of the history around that time.
Tut was a short lived pharoah who came to power in the middle of all of this chaos. Because he was so short lived, he didn’t get a chance to amass a huge amount of wealth. There is some evidence to suggest that many of the treasures from Tut’s tomb actually belonged to Nefertiti and were robbed from her tomb to populate his. For example, the gold face that is so famously displayed for Tut is actually a replacement face attached to an older sarcophagus that some believe was Nefertiti’s. The great treasures of Tut were probably hastily assembled (and stolen from other tombs) and probably represented just enough treasure to get by for a pharoah so he wouldn’t be embarassed in the afterlife.