Emory Report
November 17, 2008
Volume 61, Number 12

On view at Carlos
“Wonderful Things: The Harry Burton Photographs and the Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun.”
On view through May 25, 2009, at the Carlos Museum, the exhibition showcases the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922.

Lecture: “Lots and
Lots of Wonderful
Things: Provisioning Tutankhamun’s Tomb.”
Peter Lacovara, senior curator, presenting. Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Reception Hall, Carlos Museum. Free.

Full schedule of Carlos’ ‘Tutankhamun’ events

Discounted tickets
Through Dec. 31, Emory students, faculty and
staff can purchase up
to eight discounted tickets:
$20, faculty and staff;
$15, students. Visit



Emory Report homepage  

November 17
, 2008
Egypt ties culminate with Tut exhibit


The U.S. premiere of “Tutan-khamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” in Atlanta Nov. 15 is another defining chapter in the strengthening ties among Egypt, Emory and the Atlanta community.

These ties began in 1920 when Emory theology professor William Shelton searched Egypt for antiquities to inform students about the cultural heritage of the lands of the Bible.

Shelton’s purchases formed what became a key collection at the Carlos Museum. In 1988, Emory hired its first Egyptologist, Gay Robins, who shaped the Egyptian galleries, mounting numerous international exhibitions. Peter Lacovara joined in 1998 as the museum’s first full-time curator of ancient art.

Lacovara had met Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, when he first came to the U.S. as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Lacovara later worked under Hawass in Egypt, excavating at the Great Sphinx and pyramids at Giza. When Hawass became head of Antiquities in Egypt, Lacovara led collaborative projects between the Carlos and Cairo museums as well as an education course for Egyptian students.

Lacovara helped secure the purchase of an extraordinary Egyptian collection for the Carlos Museum, which became the Carlos’ Lichirie Collection in 1999. Emory, with its cadre of experts from Egyptologists to medical personnel, was able to identify a mummy of royal descent in the collection as most probably that of the lost Pharaoh of Egypt, Ramesses I.

Even before historical and scientific evidence pointed to a royal lineage, the Carlos had elected to return the mummy to his rightful homeland, doing so in 2003.

Through such active partnership over the past 10 years, Hawass and Carlos Museum staff have discussed what would be most compelling to audiences in the United States from the world of ancient Egypt. “I think I have something very interesting for you,” was Hawass’ enigmatic response to one such query by Carlos Director Bonnie Speed. That translated into a call from Arts and Exhibitions International with a proposition: “Would the Carlos Museum be interested in bringing Tutankhamun to Atlanta?”

Vastly different from previous exhibitions and the one currently traveling the United States, “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” tells stories from 2,000 years of ancient Egypt. Significant dynasties are represented through works of art owned by many of Egypt’s great pharaohs.

Among the 130 treasures of Egyptian history are legendary artifacts from King Tut’s tomb, including jewelry, furniture and weaponry. Visitors can also learn more about the life — and mysterious death — of the boy king through recent CT scans conducted on his mummy.

Apparent behind each object is the tremendous amount of dedicated labor and diversity of partnerships that it took to build one of the world’s greatest civilizations.

“This exhibition is for everyone, and it is an important one. Ancient Egypt is in so many ways the direct ancestor to our own civilization,” notes Lacovara.

“More than that, I think it shows us what a great multicultural society working together can achieve.”