The discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt is often regarded as one of the most notable archeological finds of recent history, and is certainly one of the most famous ones. Before its discovery however, King Tutankhamun was not a particularly well-known Pharaoh.

What factors lead to this particular archeological find becoming one of the most famous in history?

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    "Wonderful things!"
    – TheHonRose
    Apr 24, 2021 at 0:33
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    Not being well known was key, most of the other Pharaoh’s tombs were looted long ago. Apr 24, 2021 at 1:51
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    Doesn't Tutankhamun answer your question? If not, please edit your question to explain why. Apr 24, 2021 at 5:13
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2 Answers 2


The significance of Tutankhamun's tomb is simply that it's the only Ancient Egyptian royal tomb found in the modern era that had not been stripped by looters. It seems to have been raided twice, fairly soon after the burial, but was re-sealed each time. It escaped further looting because the entrance was lost under subsequent building work.

The quantity and magnificence of the items found in the tomb, buried with a short-lived Pharaoh, implies that the tombs of more significant rulers of Egypt were extraordinarily spectacular in their original state. That has captured the popular imagination. The tomb was also found at the beginning of modern archaeology, and the contents were removed and recorded systematically. That has made it an important window into the past, valuable for testing theories about ancient Egypt.


Well, I am not so sure that I agree with your statement, "Before its discovery however, King Tutankhamun was not a particularly well known Pharaoh". Tutankhamun's Father, Akhenaton, was a "very well known Pharaoh" and his Mother, Queen Nefertiti, was also "very well known".

As for "King Tut" himself, he did not live very long and was more of a political figurehead than an actual Pharaonic Head of State. However, despite his likely ceremonial/figurehead role, he was certainly a well known Pharaoh to the Egyptians and in all likelihood, to the neighboring Nubians as well.

  • Actually Tut was definityl the reigning king and the head of state. By suggesintg that he was a politcial figurehead due to his young age you are suggesting that he was the head of state but not the head of government. Since most modern countries have separate heads of stand and heads of government, confusing the two functions is not a guod idea. For example, I once read a newspaper article calling the prime minster of Malaysia the head of state, even though that country has about a dozen kings. at a time.
    – MAGolding
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:07
  • Nefertiti was not Tutankhamun's mother.. That would be the mummy known only as "The Younger Lady". In a more recent research effort led by Hawass, the mummy was put through CT scan analysis and DNA analysis. Researchers concluded that she is *Tutankhamun's biological mother, an unnamed daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye, not Nefertiti.*
    – justCal
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:38
  • Okay, a few points: King Tut was very young when he ruled over Egypt-(probably in his teens) and also died at a very young age. While it was not uncommon for ancient societies to have young leaders who ruled directly, in the case of Tutankhamun, there does not appear to be any evidence, to my knowledge, that he ruled Egypt as its King.
    – user49540
    Apr 24, 2021 at 21:12
  • With regard to Queen Nefertiti, that's an interesting archeological and scientific development, though I will say that for as long as I can remember, it was believed that Queen Nefertiti was King Tut's Mother. Many thanks for the update and clarification.
    – user49540
    Apr 24, 2021 at 21:14

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