Attempt at Carter’s Assassination
Part 1 ( of 5 )
Howard Carter’s Reward for Ten Years Work in the Field
By the 1900-1 season in Egypt things had paid off for the 26- year-old Howard Carter. His apprenticeship comprising ten years successful service in the field was rewarded with a government appointment as Inspector of Monuments for Upper Egypt and Nubia, based at Luxor. He had impressed the era’s leading Egyptian archeologists including the British veteran, William Finders Petrie, a man for whom all new young excavators prized serving. Carter also worked and pleased Edward Naville, a Swiss Egyptologist, someone with his own peculiarly rash digging style coupled with a thorny reputation for not suffering fools gladly.
Carter had also developed a special relationship with Gaston Maspero, the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service; in 1904 Howard was further promoted to the role of Chief Inspector of Lower Egypt with headquarters at Cairo.
Ancient Site at Sakkarah
Carter’s patch included Sakkarah, an ancient necropolis 20 miles south of the capital. This large grave site is also sometimes recorded as Saqqara, Saqqareh, Sakkara or Saccara. The necropolis includes the Serapeum, the tomb of the scared bulls, a popular attraction still on the modern day as well as the past tourist circuit.
It is said the stepped pyramid at Sakkarah ( as featured above ) was a “ ladder to reach the sky”. An unusual structure it is deemed to be one of the earliest of Egypt’s clusters of 130 or so Pyramids, built in the 3rd Dynasty period 2640 BC. Djoser ( Zoer) ( 26BC -2648 BC ) was the second ruler of the 3rd Dynasty. Memphis, once the Capital city of Egypt developed from Sakkarah. The sick and afflicted as far away as Greece and Rome visited one of the shrine at Sakkarah seeking a cure, much as modern day pilgrims visit Lourdes in France.
Carter’s New Status, Changes and Downfall
Howard Carter’s role as Chief Inspector was second only to Maspero, the Frenchman at the head of the Antiquities department a man who rated Carter and became something of his father like-figure. There were petty jealousies and surprise in some circles at Carter’s rapid rise.
The post of Chief Inspector was later split into two, Carter was transferred to the Northern Inspectorate, and James Quibell ( a man a few years older than Carter, and on paper much better qualified for an admin post ) was attached to the South.
Quibell was a quiet, intellectual figure, the author of a multi-volume series on the ‘Excavations at Saqqara’ and later the Keeper of the Cairo Museum, and like Carter one time a pupil of Flinders Petrie, another of Carter’s admirers.
Despite all that Carter had achieved barely within a year or two of his triumph everything came tumbling down to earth following a serious “incident” on 8 January 1905, that entire scene on closer examination may well have been contrived to stop Carter’s further advance.
Extract from “ Carnarvon, Carter and Tutankhamun Revisited
The Hidden Truths and Doomed Relationships”
By William Cross, FSA Scot
The book will be published on 4 November 2016
Next pieces of book blog to follow shortly.
Any queries, please contact the author William Cross by e-mail.