Art [Fine arts, Performing arts]

Questions for the Film:
Please answer the following questions from the film, not the web using 1-2 thoughtful paragraphs. Some questions require you to have seen the entire film not parts of it, so please do. If you cannot answer a question at first it most likely means you must watch the entire film closely to its completion, make notes as you go along and then answer the question more thoroughly from all you have seen.

There were very few “intact” pharaohs tombs left to “discover” in the Valley of the Kings, why was that? That is one reason why the discovery of his Tomb was considered one of the greatest finds of the both Century, and brought renewed interest in the study of Egyptian Art and history.

Of course the discovery also inspired horror films such as “The Mummy” because of something called “The Curse of King Tuts tomb” and adventure books for young people about women travelers and detectives, even Nancy Drew. Some of those were inspired by Evelyn Caravan. The librarian in the Mummy was meant to be based on Evelyn as well. At the same time, its impossible to miss the continuing view of colonialism with European powers in Egypt, “Discovering” Egyptian artifacts, then removing them from Egypt!

At a point in the film, things begin to change and the regent “Lacot” [himself a French man] states that ‘Egypt is no longer a playground for Treasure hunters and that artifacts discovered must be individually negotiated.” Before that, Archaeologists and their financial backers [such as Lord Canarvan] hoped to pay for the excavations through the sale of Antiquities.

2] Who is Tutankhamun and why is his tomb significant to the study of Art History, Archaeology and the study of a family dynasty in ancient Egypt? [Hint who was Tutankhamen’s father and why was he considered a heretic, at the time?]

As you watch the film you will discover the answers to the following:

3]Why was Tutankhamun buried in a hurry [according to the film] Notice Tutank-amun ?

4]How was his name and history, lost to history and where was the tomb ultimately discovered?

The Cast of Characters in this film were actual people and the story is in many ways closer to reality than fiction:

5] Who was Theodore Davis and why did Howard Carter consider him a “Treasure hunter “ also an “Amateur and a Fool” rather than a scholar. What were some of the differences in their approaches to excavation and what they hoped to find?

6] Who was Lord Caravan [and how many of you have watched the series on TV about “Highclear Castle” in England]? Notice too that his wife lady Carnarvon and also daughter Evelyn are significant to the story.

7]Why did they travel to Cairo at the beginning of this film?

8] What was the complete significance of the Canonic jars that Davis roughly forced open then took no interest in? [watch until the end of the film for a complete answer] What was discovered in them and why did Davis not take an interest in them? [Recall Leonards remark: “Theres nothing there that would interest you, Sir” ]

9] Canarvan was speaking to Carter before he hired Carter to excavate. He said something rather poignant when Carter called Davis “an amateur and a fool” Lord Caravan said “ we would all like to be remembered, wouldn’t we?” What is ironic about that statement?

10] A merchant approaches Lord Caravan and Howard Carter as they walk on. The man attempts to sell an item to them he claims is rare and from antiquity. How does Carter know it “was a Fake?”

11] What is meant by “The Valley of the Kings” and who was buried there?

12] At some point in the film, Leonard discovers a “Pharaonic Cartouche” on a wall. Whose Cartouche did this represent?

Theodore Davis was unable to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun but did discover others, however most of the tombs in the valley were horribly ransacked already by Tomb robbers throughout the ages. He eventually returned to America and Howard Carter and Carnarvon took over his concession [Permit] in the Valley of the Kings.

13] Who were they looking for as they started the excavation?

The tomb is closed down when War with the Germans [WW1] begins. Carter returns to Painting [he is also an artist] and translation. When the excavation resumes, it is already no longer the “Victorian Era” but has moved into the “Roaring 20’s” as we see Evelyn Carnarvon for the first time who is wearing a dress that may have been worn by the “flappers” of the era and exhibits liberated attitudes on smoking and accompanying the men on this great adventure [considered very revolutionary for women of that era.] As it turns out, this does become one of the great adventures of her life. Later she is promised in an arranged marriage and she must take over the duties of a lady at her family estate-somewhat less adventurous, perhaps. There is a poignant photo of her in a window that may capture best, the rest of her life.

It takes years and years with its share of setbacks, until the discovery of the tomb. If anything this is a study of persistence by Howard Carter who had only his self taught knowledge, scholarly and insightful hunches but no real position in English society [He was originally an American.] The strength of the partnership and friendship between a “High born” member of the British society and a brilliant man with no status [less of a problem in America of that time but huge in British society] caused some friction and Carter would lash out from time to time “You mean you are saying Im not a Gentleman!.” But this team was one of the most successful in history. Carter lacked certain social graces that Carnarvon was brilliant at negotiating, and the two of them were in fact, great friends.

Evelyn asks Carter if he is “digging to find tons of Gold?”

14] What does Carter say and how do you think this shows the character of Carter the Archaeologist as well as expressing his love for the Ancient Culture of Egypt?

15] Why does Carter’s technique of mapping the Valley floor with a Grid system, contrast with other approaches we have seen in the film [Leonards crashing through the outside plaster wall with a sledge hammer for instance, or Davis comment about how “You wont find that in Tiffany’s?”

Again we return near the end of the film to two essential questions:

16]Why were the Canonic jars, discovered by Davis and Leonard years and years before, then stored in the basement of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, significant and what was in the jars that was so important and illuminating?

17] Why was the tomb of Tutankhamun ultimately so difficult to find and where was it found in relation to the excavation of Davis earlier?

Notice the Clay locks on the tomb to show the tomb was untouched by tomb robbers.
In the next segment of the film we may not have time to look at because this semester is short,
Evelyn is the first person and the first woman to enter into the Egyptian burial chamber of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, inspiring women everywhere who dreamed such adventures, in what appeared to them to be a Male dominated world, and when scholarship such as this, was still mostly unavailable to women.

When asked what he first saw in the treasury of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Carters famous phrase “Beautiful Things” is true to reality. He said at the time he felt overwhelmed and said what came first to his mind, the overwhelming beauty of everything there, along with the lovely Gold and jewel ornaments. To him this was not about Treasure hunting or selling to the highest bidder as some Archaeologists before him but instead the discovery after years and years of searching, extraordinary Art and as yet undiscovered, history of an extraordinary culture. The treasure he saw was the chance to finally learn more about the Ancients of Egypt and to “peer a bit further into the mystery” of their amazing world.

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