Ancient Egypt comes to Downton Abbey

20th Feb 2013

The setting of Downton Abbey wants to bring tourists in for another reason - a visitor attraction about the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt.

Highclere Castle is the aristocratic seat of the Carnarvon family and it was the fifth Earl of Carnarvon who found the tomb along with Howard Carter nine decades ago. To mark the anniversary of the discovery, the cellars of the stately home will house an exhibition recreating what the pair uncovered in the Valley of the Kings, in Luxor.

The Egyptian Exhibition will open at to the public at Easter. It will contain replicas from the tombs, including the pharaoh's middle coffin and his death mask.

Describing the uncovering of Tutankhamun's tomb as the "greatest archaeological discovery ever", the Countess of Carnarvon said the exhibition aimed to make visitors feel like they were really inside the tomb.

She added: "I want people to feel they're inside the tomb and they have a sense of history."

Ashraf El Kholy, the Egyptian ambassador to the UK, said the exhibition was unique and beautiful, giving visitors an accurate picture of how the tomb was discovered as well as the history of Ancient Egypt.

He said the artefact he liked most was a detailed sculpture of Tutankhamun's head made from wood.

He added: "They look to the very smallest details of the human face.

"The eyes and head are very well drawn. I think this was the magic of the Egyptians, they worked hard to create the reality and they gave part of their feelings to what they were capturing."

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