The burial mask of Tutankhamun was probably not created for the Boy King, but a female relative. The mask is made of gold, lapis, clay, quartz, glass, feldspar, and obsidian.

Photograph by Kenneth Garrett, National Geographic

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  • On November 4, 1922, British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt. Tutankhamun, nicknamed King Tut, was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled from 1333 BCE (when he was just nine years old) until his death in 1323 BCE. After he died, Tutankhamun was mummified, according to tradition, and buried in a tomb filled with artwork, jewelry, and treasures. Shifting desert sands quickly hid the tomb, and it lay undiscovered for more than 3,000 years.
    On November 4, Carter discovered the first step of a staircase. The next day, his team exposed the whole staircase, and by the end of November, Carter had excavated an antechamber, a treasury, and the door to the tomb itself. After making a tiny breach in the door, Carter saw a room filled with gold treasures and the sarcophagus containing Tutankhamen’s mummy.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    desert Noun

    area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

    Encyclopedic Entry: desert
    Egyptologist Noun

    person who studies the culture and history of ancient Egypt.

    excavate Verb

    to expose by digging.

    mummy Noun

    corpse of a person or animal that has been preserved by natural environmental conditions or human techniques.

    pharaoh Noun

    ruler of ancient Egypt.

    Encyclopedic Entry: Pharaoh
    sarcophagus Noun

    stone coffin, usually decorated with inscriptions.

    Encyclopedic Entry: Sarcophagus
    tomb Noun

    enclosed burial place.