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King Tut in London

by: Neil Rubin - Last updated: 2007-12-27

King Tut

King Tut

Neil Rubin goes to the Tutankhamen exhibition at London's O2 Centre and discovers more about one of the last kings of Egypt who came to power at the age of 9.

Jewish history is intricately tied with Ancient Egypt and the 02’s current exhibition comprises fascinating artefacts that were created at the time when our ancestors were building pyramids.

Born around 1343 BCE during the great monotheistic revolution (some say heresy) of the Amarna period, Tutankhamen was one of the last kings of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty and ascended the throne at just 9 years old. Although a rather minor king in the long lineage of Egyptian royalty, he lives large in modern archaeology.

Tutankhamen died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 19 and was embalmed and buried in the now famous tomb known as KV62, in the Valley of the Kings. It is Howard Carter we have to thank, an artist who was trying his hand at archaeology under the patronage of Lord Carnarvon, for on November 26th 1922 Carter broke through the dust and debris of 3,300 years and declared “At first I could see nothing, but as my eyes became accustomed……everywhere the glint of gold”.

Now, here in London for the first time since 1972 when the exhibition first set travelling exhibition attendance records, the treasures of Tutankhamen’s tomb are on display at the new super-venue, The O2.

All of the 130 treasures on display are 3,000 to 3,500 years old. Presented in 11 experiential galleries, visitors can marvel at the wonderfully crafted artefacts and opt for the audio headset at an additional £4.00 which narrates the social and political backdrop of the time in which the boy-king lived. There is also newsreel footage of the public unveiling of the tomb by Carter and Carnarvon and you can view CT-scans of the mummy of King Tut, partially funded by the National Geographic Society, used to construct the first three-dimensional picture of Tutankhamen, which also reveals possible causes of the boy-king’s death.

The O2 is a new city-within-a-city. It is a leisure and hospitality experience of a kind never before known in the UK and is easily accessible by tube on the Jubilee line. Built on a colossal scale, the ancient Pharaoh’s would have been proud of the O2’s pretension to megalomania. This is an amazing opportunity to see a real piece of history in a world-class environment. Tickets are £20 (concessions available) and it is well worth every penny.

“Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” is on now at the O2 until 30
August 2008.