Wednesday, November 4, marked the 87th anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun´s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
To celebrate this occasion, there was a symposium held in Luxor entitled `The Valley of the Kings Since Howard Cater´. In addition to this, we opened the newly renovated Howard Carter Rest House as a museum.
The symposium was held at the Mummification Museum on the East Bank of the Nile, and the focus was on archaeological work in the Valley of the Kings for the past 87 years. Speakers came from all over the world and included distinguished Egyptologists who have been doing very important work in the Valley. In the morning, I opened the symposium with a lecture about my recent work in the Valley of the Kings. I talked about the work I am doing with my team, the first all-Egyptian team to work in the Valley. We have discovered many important objects and investigated the workmen´s huts in the Valley, some of which were first discovered by Howard Carter. We found the channels cut into the stone that the ancient Egyptians used to divert the floodwaters and preserve the tombs. I also talked about my work in the tomb of Seti I. We are exploring the tunnel at the back to see how far it goes and what is to be found at the end. Other talks covered the topics of current excavation projects and new analyses of artefacts from the Valley of the Kings. It was very good that most of the archaeologists who are currently working in the Valley were able to give talks and share their amazing new finds.
Also on Wednesday, we opened the new entrance to Luxor Temple. In the past, the site was entered from the west side, by the Nile, which created crowds of people near the river. Now we have built a new entrance on the east side, with a new parking lot and an X-ray machine. There is also a new gift shop and café for people to relax and enjoy after visiting the temple. We removed the buildings and police station that were located north of the temple, and for the first time everyone can see Luxor Temple as a whole from the north side. I opened the new entrance with Samir Farag, who is the head of the Supreme Council of Luxor, and I think everyone who visits this site will notice the improvements.
In association with the symposium and the anniversary of the discovery of King Tut´s tomb, we renovated Howard Carter´s old rest house and turned it into a museum. After Howard Carter left the Valley, the house was abandoned and neglected. Now it has been turned into a beautiful museum celebrating the work of Howard Carter and it is open to the public for the first time. The house will be open for people to spend the night, but only for three nights a year.
As part of the exhibit, we made a presentation to tell people about the work of Howard Carter and his financial sponsor Lord Carnarvon. One room of the house is set aside; it contains a desk and other items behind a glass wall. An image of Howard Carter is projected against this wall and talks to the audience for 20 minutes. It is a great way for people to learn about the history of his life while taking a rest from the hot sun. The other rooms of the house contain furniture and equipment used by Howard Carter, along with descriptions of how they were used.