In the early months of 1924, Howard Carter had opened the gilded shrines that surrounded Tutankhamun’s mummy and removed the lid from the huge stone sarcophagus. However, the tomb had then been shut again for almost a year while Carter and the Egyptian government battled over ownership of the tomb and artifacts.
In January 1925, Carter’s team returned to Luxor and opened the outermost coffin to reveal the second coffin. The linen shroud that covered its gilded surface showed damage from humidity, giving the team their first clue that the mummy might not be in perfect condition.
The First Look at the Mummy
The third and final coffin was of solid gold and covered in sticky, hardened black resin. With great difficulty, the lid of the inner coffin was finally raised to reveal King Tutankhamun’s mummy. More black resin covered the body inside and adhered the king’s head to his gorgeous gold funerary mask.
On November 11, 1925, Carter and his staff began the first examination of the mummy. Over four days, the team delicately unraveled the bandages and recorded each of the artifacts hidden within the wrappings
Examining the Body
To view the body more closely, Carter’s team cut off the head at the neck and used hot knives to extract the skull from the mask. Next, they separated the pelvis from the trunk and detached the arms and legs.
After reassembling it on a large tray, two forensic specialists examined the mummy. Their report concluded, based on inspection of the bones and teeth, that the young king had died between the ages of 18 and 22.