Discovering King Tut - The Life of Lord Carnarvon


Uploaded by heritagekeymedia on 13.01.2010

Transcript:
He had made this extraordinary discovery; it was like a glint of gold after the First World War. So the whole world focused on this one man.
He loved Highclere and he loved the very comfortable Edwardian life here, but he also loved travel and adventure.
He's a little bit of Indiana Jones style in that portrait there, my great-grandfather.
It rather sums up the character.
I'm often looking for why Lord Carnarvon was obsessed with Egypt, which he was.
He was not just a financier, he was passionate about that country.
And at that time he inherited this house, Highclere Castle, Bretby, which was the house twice the size of this in Derbyshire,
two houses in Somerset, beautiful estates, several houses in London, Berkeley Square, Tenterton Street and goodness knows what.
So he left all this, which for most people might have been enough.
And he went and sat on the desert, on a dust heap in a desert close from the Nile.
So that is the part what I find fascinating, I want to explore – what makes man find a lost world, you know, the Holy Grail, what would we do...So, he did it, he did it.
A part of the quest in life was was he one of the early pioneer motorists.
And he imported some cars from France.
And he became more and more adventurous for this speed, for these exciting new toys,
and did have some scrapes, a bad one in Germany, where he managed to turn the car over at speed and nearly died.
He was advised by doctors from them on to spend the winters in dry climate.
It was the time of great learning and discovery and new technology, the Edwardian period.
Great-grandfather was fascinated by photography.
Even aviation, because he encouraged Geoffrey de Havilland to make his first flight from the land in 1910, having gone aboard airborne for 150 meters.
But the excitement of the learning of new ideas technology going for was also matched by another area, it was the excitement to understand the past.
A lot of people went to Egypt as part of the social life in Cairo, that wasn't his interest at all.
He'd been bored if he stayed stuck with just doing that.
So he soon got into the idea of travelling down the Nile.
He really met Carter some years after he began his first time excavations.
He wasn't given very exciting sites, my great-grandfather, at first.
In his first year he uncovered an enormous amount of stones, rubble and dirt,
the only find was a mummified cat in a nice cat coffin, which today sits in the Cairo museum in the animal mummies section.
For many people, they might have been entirely put off being archaeologists and excavating, if you spent four months in heat and all you find is that.
But actually far from putting him off, that was a big excitement for him, as far as he was concerned.
Almina, Countess of Carnavon, was officially Almina Wombwell, but in fact, she was really Alfred Rothschild daughter.
She was his friend and partner and wife.
And it started with the huge amounts of money and clearly developed into the great relationship.
She went out on almost every excavation season with him apart from the one in 1922,
when she terrible toothache and went to the dentist in Paris.
And Almina, she was again not one of the sitting back and just enjoying life,
she was absolutely passionate devotee of medicine and nursing homes and hospitals and moving things forward in that way.
And of course, Alfred's massive financial backing helped sorting that at Highclere
and my great-grandfather to devote his time to his activities in Egypt.