Be careful what you wish for. I wonder if those words were ringing in Howard Carter’s ears after 1922. For years he and his patron, Lord Carnarvon, had done hard labour breaking rocks in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, hoping for a find that would make their names, if not their fortunes (Carnarvon already had one of those). Opening Tutankhamun’s tomb in November 1922 revealed the greatest archaeological hoard of modern times and certainly brought them fame. It brought other things too.
When Carnarvon died soon after the discovery – of blood poisoning that resulted when he nicked a mosquito bite while shaving – the doomsayers announced that the ‘pharaoh’s curse’ had claimed its first victim. Carter had other reasons to rue the big find. For one thing, it took him 8