November 4: Tut’s Tomb

Carter TutToday, Tutankhamun is one of Egypt’s best known pharaohs, however the boy king was actually forgotten soon after his death. As such, the location of “King Tut’s” tomb was also forgotten, which kept grave robbers from raiding the site and led to Howard Carter discovering what is perhaps the best preserved Egyptian tomb on this day in 1922.

In 1907, while working on an excavation of another tomb, archaeologists discovered a small site filled with artifacts upon which Tutankhamun’s name was written. However, at the time it was wrongly assumed that this was the extent of Tutankhamun’s burial site. By the mid-1910s, it was assumed that everything that could be found in the Valley of the Kings had already been found.

However, British Egyptologist Howard Carter, and his patron Lord Carnarvon, believed that there might be more Tutankhamun artifacts to be found. So, Carter and a team of diggers returned to an old dig site and got to work. From 1915 to 1922, Carter led many expeditions to the Valley of the Kings, but it was on November 4, 1922 that a member of Carter’s team discovered a carved rock step under the sand. Carter and his crew began to focus on that spot, unearthing a stone staircase that led to a sealed doorway.

Over the next month, Carter and his team, now joined by Carnarvon, unearthed an antechamber covered in paintings and gold, and soon noticed a sealed door to another chamber. On November 28, 1922 Carter, Carnavon and Carnarvon’s daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert became the first people in over 3000 to enter the tomb of Tutankhamun. The burial chamber was excavated in February of 1923, but it was not until October of 1925 that the final cover of Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus was removed and that the mummified remains of Tutankhamun were found.

The King Tut was created by bartender Mike Astins of Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York hotel to tie in with the arrival of the touring exhibition The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs’ run at the Art Gallery of Ontario. When the hotel asked Astins to create the King Tut Martini, the only requirement they had was that the drink include Goldschläger to emulate the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Astins used butter ripple liqueur to cut the sharp spicy taste of the Goldschläger, and the result is a sweet little cocktail.

The King Tut

  • 1 ounce Vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Goldschläger
  • 1 ounce Butter Ripple liqueur

Gently shake with ice in a cocktail shaker, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a splash of cranberry juice. The hotel would garnish this drink with a gold-dusted white chocolate stick, but if you don’t have one of those lying around, it’s okay.

Tomorrow: The fifth of November.

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