The reopening ceremony was attended by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Ahmed Issa, Luxor Governor Mostafa Alham, renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, former antiquities minister Mamdouh El-Damaty, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri along with a number of foreign ambassadors in Egypt.
The resoration project, carried out from February-November 2022, was implemented in collaboration with the American Research Centre in Cairo (ARCE) and was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Adina Lei Savin Family Trust.
The mudbrick structure was repaired to address water damage, and alterations were made to the landscaping to prevent similar damage in the future.
Old, broken subsurface waste pipes from the house were replaced, while hedges and trees that were planted too close to the walls were removed.
In addition, a water-free buffer zone was constructed around the house.
Considerable effort went into developing an engaging and representative visitor experience at the house.
Visitors will now enjoy comprehensive and bilingual (Arabic and English) information panels with archival images that contextualise the social and political circumstances surrounding the discovery of the tomb and the many key figures – Egyptian and foreign – that were involved.
Supplementary information about what life was like in the early 20th century and interesting details of the functions of the house and its various specialised rooms, such as the photographic darkroom, will also be included.
The new on-site information will also be complemented by a virtual tour of the house.
Carter built the house in 1911 and expanded it subsequently after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb to process his finds.
On 4 November 1922, after a search that spanned for nearly a decade, Carter’s team stumbled upon the first of 12 steps that led to a closed doorway with seals bearing the name of Tutankhamun.
This momentous day was the start of what became a ten-year project to excavate and conserve the 5,000 objects inside the tomb and transfer them to Cairo.
During this period and until his passing in 1939, Carter lived in the house to be close by to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
The home contains a single domed central hall, Carter’s study, in addition to a photography laboratory and other original fixtures that have been retained over the past 100 years.
In 1939, the house was transferred to the Egyptian Service des Antiquités and was subsequently used as a rest house by the local inspectorate.
In 2009, the Carter House was first restored and opened to the public as a cultural tourist attraction.
Morcos Zaki, the grandson of Morcos Hanna Pasha, Egypt’s minister of works in the 1920s who helped preserve Tutankhamun’s tomb, also spoke at the event.
“It is a great honour to see my grandfather, Morcos Hanna Pasha, recognised for the role that he played in this great discovery, and for the lasting impact of his actions. As a family, we are very excited by the achievements of this project and visiting Carter House and learning about the rich history of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun,” Zaki said.
“The project to restore Carter House and renew its visitor information has ensured that this relatively contemporary heritage site in the west bank of Luxor will continue to provide awareness and engaging information about the discovery of Tutankhamun and Howard Carter’s life to all those who visit it. The project’s success is owed to our strong collaboration and partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the support of our donors and technical partners,” said Dr. Nicholas Warner, the director for cultural heritage projects at ARCE.
Last three images of the late Howard Carter courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation