By Rene Lynch, excerpted from the LA Times
May 9, 2012, 8:32 a.m.
Howard Carter was the original tomb raider, discovering King Tutankhamun's tomb and giving birth to a Hollywood sub-genre that turned Angelina Jolie into an action hero. And today, on what would have been Carter's 138th birthday, he has a Google Doodle to show for it.
To his fans, the London-born Carter was an Egyptologist, archaeologist and adventurer who was determined to find Tutankhamun's final resting place -- and the precious objects surrounding him. Critics, however, have a different word for Carter. Plunderer might be the nicest way to put it.
In the early 1900s, Tutankhamun's tomb -- and the riches it reportedly held -- were akin to the search for the Holy Grail in the world of archaeology. Carter alone spent decades exploring the burial sites of Egypt's ancient pharaohs before finding the tomb of the boy king who had died 3,000 years earlier, in the 14th century B.C.....
There was a large scale exhibition that came from Egypt and traveled the United States nearly three decades ago. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was fortunate to see that exhibit in 1979. Two decades ago a statue of the goddess Selket, which guarded Tut-ankh-amun's canopic jars, was damaged on its way to an exhibit to Germany. The result was that the treasures would not leave Egypt again for over 20 years.
In 2010, a smaller very select exhibit returned to San Francisco and the USA. See the utube for people's reactions and a look see at the exhibit. To mimic a tomb was really a stroke of genius.
Elizabeth Peters (Ph.d in Egyptology) has written 19 mystery novels about Amelia Peabody and her family excavating in Egypt. The fun part is that everthing and everyone is spot on accurate except our imaginary Amelia and her family/friends. http://www.ameliapeabody.com/
James Patterson has recently written a well researched (and interesting) book of non-fiction: "The Murder of King Tut". (Yes, that the same Patterson of "Jack and Jill" fame.)
We have a lot to thank Howard Carter for, even if he did want to haul all the treasures back to jolly old England.