Howard Carter and King Tut's Tomb Illustration

Archaeology for Kids


Howard Carter Finds King Tut's Tomb

Howard Carter was an artist, like his father. His father was quite successful as a portrait painter in England. Howard Carter had a great deal of artistic talent, but he did not want to become a portrait painter like his father. He wanted adventure. With his father's help, he got a job with an archaeologist, who was on his way to Egypt. This was a exciting opportunity for young Howard Carter, who was a teenager at the time. Carter was only 17 years old when he first went to Egypt in 1891.

In Egypt, Carter worked as an artist for some of the best egyptologists of his time. An egyptologist is an archaeologist whose focus is learning about ancient Egypt. Carter's job was to copy drawings and inscriptions on paper so they could be studied. (See emails at the bottom of this page.) Carter was very good at his job. It was not long before Howard Carter was quite well known among egyptologists, not only as an artist, but also for his knowledge about ancient Egypt and his knowledge about archaeology. As his fame grew, so did the importance of his jobs. For a while, Howard Carter was the Inspector General of the monuments of Upper Egypt, supervising and controlling archaeology along the Nile River.

While he was Inspector General, Howard Carter installed electric lights in the Valley of the Kings. The lights allowed archaeologists and diggers to better see what they were doing. The lights also brought in the tourists. Some tourists were respectful and careful. But some were not careful at all. One day, Howard Carter had an especially loud fight with some very careless tourists. As a result, Howard Carter resigned as Inspector General. But he did not leave Egypt.

He continued to work as an artist. He also became an antique dealer. Whenever he found funding, he worked as an excavator. (He did not call himself an egyptologist.)

In November 1922, while working as an excavator for Lord Carnarvon, Howard Carter searched for and found King Tut's tomb. It had been overlooked for many years because it was such a small tomb. It was filled with treasures! Howard Carter became world famous. (As did King Tut's tomb.)

King Tut's Tomb

Who was Lord Carnarvon? (A most interesting article)

Howard Carter and the Curse of the Mummy

Grave Goods

Grave Robbers

Archaeology Q&A Quiz Interactive

: We are very grateful to They took the time and trouble to ask one of their researchers to dig up some information for us. Don't expect to do your homework for you, but now and then, a question might be asked that catches their interest. Fortunately for us, this was one of them. Here is our question and their response.

On Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 11:33 AM, Lin Donn wrote:
We were hoping you could tell us when Howard Carter became an archaeologist. Certainly he was knowledgeable about Egyptology, thanks to the training of many famous archaeologists of his time. But he never went to school to study archaeology, and thus did not have the credentials as far as we know.  He never called himself an archaeologist, again as far as we know. It's an interesting point, and our 6th graders would be most interested to know where he received his training. Perhaps at the time it was not necessary to have a degree to call oneself an archaeologist, although we find that unlikely. Many sites refer to him as an archaeologist, but what he was, was an artist, an antique dealer, and an excavator. He was a fascinating guy. 

Any clarification on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 
Sincerely, Lin Donn

Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2014
Subject: Re: Howard Carter

Hello Lin,

Thanks for writing to us. We've had a chance to investigate your inquiry. Our primary historical writer sent me this to pass along to you. I hope it clarifies matters and helps your class.

I found that Howard Carter was home schooled. Upon discovering his talent for art, his father, a successful artist, taught Howard the basics. He had no interest in following his fatherís profession of a portrait painter. At age 17,  he was hired by Egyptian Exploration Fund to accompany Percy Newberry as a tracer, a person who copies drawings and inscriptions on paper for further study. In October, 1891, he sailed for Alexandria, Egypt and from there to Beni Hasan, where Newberry was excavating the tombs of the Middle Kingdom.

 In 1892, Carter joined Flinders Petrie, an English Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artefacts. It was perhaps here that under Petrieís intense tutelage, Carter became an archaeologist in fact if not with a formal degree.  For the next 13 years, Carter was in demand for his excavation as well as his artistic skills. He worked for various other archeologists perfecting his drawing skills and strengthen his excavation and restoration technique. By 1899, Carter was offered the job of supervising and controlling archaeology along the Nile River. Then in 1914, Lord Carnarvon hired him to look for King Tutís tomb.

Kind regards and happy new year!
~ Laura,
Laura Grimm, Editor-in-Chief,

On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 Lin Donn wrote:
Thank you! Would it be acceptable to you if we posted our question and your response on our Howard Carter page on the web? Or, if you are going to post this information on your site, could you please let us know where it is so we can link to it. 

Thank you again for responding.
All the best to you and yours, Lin Donn
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2014
Subject: Re: Howard Carter
Hi Lin,

That's fine to post. We tweaked our page but didn't go into all the detail the writer sent you. These are his pages (in case you need his info):
And here's our page with the tweak:

Kind regards,
~ Laura,
Laura Grimm, Editor-in-Chief,