1st Edition

Photographing Tutankhamun Archaeology, Ancient Egypt, and the Archive

By Christina Riggs Copyright 2019
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

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    They are among the most famous and compelling photographs ever made in archaeology: Howard Carter kneeling before the burial shrines of Tutankhamun; life-size statues of the boy king on guard beside a doorway, tantalizingly sealed, in his tomb; or a solid gold coffin still draped with flowers cut more than 3,300 years ago. Yet until now, no study has explored the ways in which photography helped mythologize the tomb of Tutankhamun, nor the role photography played in shaping archaeological methods and interpretations, both in and beyond the field. This book undertakes the first critical analysis of the photographic archive formed during the ten-year clearance of the tomb, and in doing so explores the interface between photography and archaeology at a pivotal time for both. Photographing Tutankhamun foregrounds photography as a material, technical, and social process in early 20th-century archaeology, in order to question how the photograph made and remade ‘ancient Egypt’ in the waning age of colonial order.

    Table of ContentsList of FiguresAcknowledgmentsPrefaceChapter 1. Photographing Tutankhamun: An Introduction Chapter 2. Mirrored Memories: Excavating the Photographic Archive Chapter 3. 'The first and most pressing need': Photographic Practice at the Tomb of Tutankhamun Chapter 4. Tutankhamun's Treasures: Objects, Artworks, Bodies Chapter 5. Men at Work: The Resurrection of the Boy-king Chapter 6. Worlds Exclusive: Mediating TutankhamunChapter 7. The Looking-glass: Egyptology’s Archival AfterlivesNotesBibliographyIndex


    Christina Riggs is Professor of the History of Visual Culture at Durham University.

    'A beautifully written and fascinating account of the photographs and photographic practices related to Tutankhamun. It will be a landmark study in the relationships between archives, photographs, and archaeology.'

    --J.A. Baird, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

    'Photographing Tutankhamun is a remarkable achievement for many different reasons, but it is perhaps this contribution that makes the book stand out. [...] Riggs’s ability to look across social, empirical and theoretical domains and not lose sight of the idiosyncrasies of Tutankhamun offers a valuable case study in recognising the oscillations and contingencies underpinning the work of photographs in archaeological practice.'