Quartzite Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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.


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.

Burial and Placement Inside the KV62

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. At the time of discovery the quartzite sarcophagus contained the three golden coffins which in turn contained the mummy of the young pharoah, Tutankhamun.


circa 1325 BCE

Broken Lid
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.

Contents of the Granite Sarcophagus

circa 1325 BCE

Inner Gold Coffins
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

Mummy of King Tut
Inside the three cascading three gold coffins, inside was the mummy of King Tut. Now displayed protected with a glass case, inside his tomb KV62 in the Valley of the Kings.

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