No blog of adventure reporting would be complete i feel without a mention of King Tutankhamun’s discovery in 1922. This was not only one of the biggest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century but also one of the most media covered archaeological discoveries. Thousands of newspaper and radio reports were produced from all over the globe. The Daily Telegraph and The Times in London published some of the most beautiful pictures of the King and his objects. They made front page news in England. Journalists covering the story would have experienced real adventure reporting.
If time travel was possible i would love to be present at the moment of Tut’s discovery on the late afternoon of 4th of November 1922 and also later on during the following weeks. The atmosphere with so many of the world’s media presence would have been so electrically charged.
Just think about the excitement and anticipation a reporter would have experienced. In my imagination i can see a male reporter in 1920’s clothing holding a black and white camera taking snaps of objects that hadn’t seen the light of day for 3, 000 years. This would be a moment you would never forget in your reporting career.
Its a shame i think that to the best of my knowledge there exists no formal documentation of the reporter’s experience on site. There is a lot written for Carter and his team in countless biographies about the moment of discovery.The following video archival footage of Tut’s discovery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZWB5-aXMXQ has archival footage.
It has been recorded that reporters followed Carter around as if he was a film star. They were wanting to cover new angles on the story along with wanting to be given a tour and souvenirs of the site. I strongly believe Carter utilised the journalists to his advantage in gaining media coverage and permanent fame. Through this coverage the reporters romanticed him and his discoveries. Some archaeologists believe the so called curse of the pharaoh was coined by a reporter on site one day and Carter exploited it. It certainly worked as so many people associate the curse of the pharaohs with him.
Other archaeologists believe that Carter invented the curse to gain more fame and the journalists adopted it religiously to make headlines. Whatever the truth is the curse became almost as big as the discovery itself.
Gerald O’Farrell author of ‘The Tutankhamun Deception’ argues that prior to 1922 the general public weren’t really interested in archaeology as it was seen as a dry and esoteric subject. Then came king Tut and it changed everything. People were buying newspapers more just to read about Tut. According to O’Farrel the American media was obsessed with Tut and journalists did everything they could to exaggerate the story to make the story more attractive. They really put Egypt and Tut on the map. They also gave rise to ‘Tut’Mania’, an obsession with all things Egyptian by westerners. I think this mania still exists to a degree as there are countless people around the world obsessed with Ancient Egypt. Journalism can really influence the collective consciousness of people.