Ancient History & Civilisation


Valley of the Kings

1,300–500 BC

THE MYSTERY OF KING TUT, the teenage Boy King, deepened slowly, one sandstorm and deluge at a time.

First, the desert winds whipped tons of sand across the Valley of the Kings, sending the tomb robbers living in caves high above the valley floor to scurry deep inside their homes. The door to Tut’s burial chamber was sealed and hadn’t been tampered with for hundreds of years.

And as the sand covered the lowest step leading down to the doorway, then another, and another, the doorway had an even better seal.

Now it was entirely buried by rock and grit, hidden from the world.

Rain didn’t come to this valley often, but when it did, the water fell with such intensity that massive chunks of earth slid from the walls to the valley floor.

The water turned the sand and limestone into a form of cement, so that anything lying beneath it was encased in a hard rocky crust. In this way, the final steps leading down into Tut’s tomb were covered over.

Soon it was as if they had never existed.

Each successive sandstorm and torrential downpour heaped on another layer, until the tomb steps were more than six feet below the surface of the earth. The burial site’s location was not just obliterated but forgotten.

Deep below the ground, Tut, the Boy King, rested. The walls were sturdy and did not crumble or crack from the new weight above.

Nor did his treasures suffer from rain or humidity—if anything, they were more protected now than they had been before.

Tut lay alone year after year, century after century, as if waiting for the day when some explorer would scrape off those layers of dirt and limestone.

And, perhaps, unearth the secrets of his life and untimely death.

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