Quartzite Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun

This quartzite sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun was the most splendid architectural find, containing three coffins nested within each other. The lower body of this fine sarcophagus is made of brown quartzite and the lid is made of pink granite tinted to the color of the box.

circa 1325 BCE

Symbolism for magical purposes was an important feature of Egyptian funerary equipment. On the sarcophagus it is seen most clearly in the graceful figures of four goddesses, Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selket, carved in high relief on the corners, their wings outspread to protect the body within the sarcophagus.

circa 1325 BCE

Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus (a box-like stone container) held not one but three coffins in which to hold the body of the king. Inside the final coffin, made out of solid gold, was the mummy of the boy-king Tutankhamen, preserved for more than 3,000 years. When the broken lid of the yellow sarcophagus of King Tut in his tomb was slowly lifted away from its base using an elaborate pulley system, underneath two sheets of linen, a splendid anthropoid coffin was found. It was the first of the three coffins inside the sarcophagus.

circa 1325 BCE

The granite lid was broken in two and the fracture, which was concealed with cement and paint, must have occurred before the shrines were put in position. No explanation seems possible, except that the king's premature death made it necessary to hurry the work and an accident happened. Why two different stones should have been used is not obvious, unless the reason was that the intended quartzite lid was not ready in time for the funeral and a granite lid of indifferent quality, which happened to be available, was substituted for it.

circa 1325 BCE

Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb (KV62) that was unusually small considering his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, causing his mummy to be buried in a tomb intended for someone else. The entire chamber was occupied by four gilded wooden shrines which surrounded the king's sarcophagus. Currently the only item in the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun is his quartzite sarcophagus. The sarcophagus contains the golden coffin which in turn contained the mummy of the young pharoah, Tutankhamun.

circa 1325 BCE

The representations of the king with various deities (Anubis, Isis, Hathor and others now destroyed) on the south wall. Though a great deal of the painting on this wall was damaged, the other half shows Tutankhamun surrounded by the God Anubis and the Goddess Hathor. In their hands they are holding Ankhs which symbolize Tutankhamun’s eternal life in the Afterworld. The southern wall of the burial chamber was unfortunately damaged as there was no door to easily access the room. From the antechamber, Howard Carter chiseled his way through damaging a portrait of the Goddess Isis that would have been on the opposite side of the wall.

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