The burial chamber is almost 21 feet by 14 feet in area and the walls are 12 feet high. The size of the whole tomb is too small to be a royal tomb and was therefore probably constructed as an “emergency solution” following the sudden death of the young king.
Under the left-hand bed depicting the hippopotamus goddess, Carter found a small, irregular hole, which was in a walled-up entrance leading through to the annex. The hole was made by grave robbers who presumably broke into the tomb shortly after the burial, but were disturbed by tomb guards. In this chamber the effects of the robberies were disastrous.
The only way to get to the Annex Room was by a little door in the Antechamber. The Antechamber was the first room that you entered once you got into the tomb and allowed passage to the Annex Room and Burial Chamber.
Sixteen steps led down to the first wall blocking the way to this corridor. Once the debris littering the path had been cleared, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon opened a second sealed wall here on November 26th 1922. Carter saw “wonderful things” and “everywhere the glint of gold.”
Two statues of the king stand guard at the entrance to the burial chamber. Both are exactly as tall as the royal mummy and represent the dead king and his “ka” (Egyptian for life force). Remnants of similar guardian figures were also found in other Egyptian royal tombs.
The pharaoh’s treasures were kept here. The statue in the middle depicts the pharaoh hunting. Like the figures behind and in front of it, this statue is really in a shrine. The chests and vessels that stand all about the tomb were primarily filled with jewelry, clothing and statues of gods.
The Anubis shrine stands in the middle of the treasury, guarding the canopic shrines. The impressive and elegant black jackal lies with alert, pricked-up ears on his golden shrine, which contains jewelry and Egyptian alabaster bowls. The god Anubis was considered to be the lord of graveyards and the protective deity of embalmers.
Four huge, nested shrines were arranged as protective casings around the king’s sarcophagus. The largest shrine (nearly 17 feet by 11 feet) almost entirely filled the burial chamber. Each of the shrines is gilded and decorated with religious texts and images. The innermost coffin is made from solid gold and weighs 243.4 pounds! If a regular craftsman had wanted to buy such a coffin, he would have had to pay around 35,000 months’ income for the privilege.
For Egyptians, it was essential that the whole body be preserved in order for the deceased to live on in the afterlife. During mummification, the internal organs were removed, dried and wrapped in bandages. Tutankhamun’s organs lay in miniature coffins, which were interred in an Egyptian alabaster canopic chest; in turn, this stood in a gilded wooden canopic shrine, which was decorated with four statues of protective goddesses.
The countless model boats from the tomb were intended to serve Tutankhamun as a means of transport in the underworld. The Egyptians imagined the next world to be much the same as this one: Flourishing gardens and fields through which a mighty river flowed. The king had the right ship for every occasion in his tomb, from simple transport boats for carrying food to traveling ships and barks on which the king could accompany the gods in the afterlife.