Howard Carter meets King Tut

On November 4, 1922, a young Egyptian boy was working hard taking water to other workers, when he noticed something unusual. A step hidden by the sand. The search had been going for quite a while and they were about to give up. This was the last chance to find him. Tutankhamen. Was this step, found by the boy accidentally, actually the first real clue after all this time? We’ll find out, but not until Howard Carter does some digging.

Howard Carter had first gone to Egypt as a young artist to sketch for an archaeologist. In 1907, Lord Carnarvon asked Howard to supervise some excavations in the Valley of the Kings. Howard was already quite familiar with the area having worked there for several years already and already discovered tombs. This was just furthering his work there. In 1922, Lord Carnarvon told Howard that he would fund only one more season. This was the last chance to find something.

After the step in the sand was finally discovered, they uncovered a stairway to a door. Howard wanted to wait for their benefactor and so Lord Carnarvon was sent for. They recovered everything that they had found, and waited until he arrived from England. Nearly three weeks later they opened the outside door to see what was inside. When asked what he could see, Howard said “wonderful things,” not knowing what they had even found yet just that they had found something.

Bemidji Daily Pioneer December 30, 1922

It wasn’t until February 17, 1923 that they were able to officially open the burial chamber, having seen other passages and cataloged the items within. They entered the tomb and eventually uncovered the gold coffin of the boy King Tut who Howard had long been interested in and searched for.

Unfortunately, not long after this Lord Carnarvon died from a mosquito bite in April 1923. This was turned into a “curse” by the media based on some of the writings on the door. This circled around for many, many years afterwards.

Howard Carter’s journal and the books that he wrote about the tomb tell a lot about both the items that were found and the way that things were done in the 1920s. It’s a bit like seeing two different time periods at once. The artifacts from 1300s BCE and the techniques of finding and cataloging everything within the tomb from the 1920s. Howard became a celebrity and so did King Tut as Egypt mania spread during this time. This would continue for a while until the next craze caught on.

Howard Carter died on March 2, 1939 at his home in London.

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Halloween: An Origin Story

All Hallows’ Eve

What we know now as Halloween originated with Samhain. A Celtic festival where the people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off the ghosts of the dead. Sound familiar yet?

After the Catholic church began to incorporate, and sometimes replace altogether, local traditions and Christian holidays, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III moved the festival of martyrs and saints from May 13 to November 1. All Souls’ Day was placed on November 2 and included many of the same things that Samhain did as they were both festivals of the dead. They both had bonfires as well as people dressing up in costumes.

The point of the costume was to disguise yourself, not from people but from other things. You were not supposed to be out on what became All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween. If you had to be out you should disguise yourself so that the ghosts (or whatever happened to be out) wouldn’t know who you are.

Photo by Justus Menke on

This tradition, of course, has continued today. Children and many adults continue to dress as witches, demons, ghosts, and the fairy folk in hopes that they can survive the night of trick-or-treating and make it home a little bit more chocolate rich.


Delay Update…

Sorry about the delay in posting. I have a post coming in just a minute or two. I’ve been planning to post for the longest. My new computer came weeks ago but then I got sick and didn’t want to do anything for a bit so I’m playing catch up. Thanks for waiting! 🙂

What’s in your pocket?

If you took a moment to empty your pockets or bag what would you find? A phone? Keys? Money? What a person carries around can tell a lot about what they feel is important in everyday life. This has always been the case. People have “necessary” things to get by in their lives and work to make life easier.

One thing that made life easier was the pocket. Originally worn by both men and women as a tie-on pocket, it was up to the wearer as to how big it was or the shape. They could also wear one or two (or sometimes more) if they chose. Pockets were sewn into men’s clothing long before women’s clothes. Men’s clothing, by the end of the 17th century, had for a long time already a tradition of sewn pockets versus the tied-on that women’s clothing still used.

What each person carried in their pockets varied from person to person, as well as how the pockets were made as these were personal items. However, there was a market that sprung up for items, for both men and women, to carry around with them in their pockets. These could always include the ever-present handkerchiefs but even went so far as to include small books and other polite conversation helpers.

With pockets, the number of things you could carry was only really limited by the size of the pocket. This was especially true when the ladies’ dresses got larger during the mid-18th century. The petticoats that were fashionable at the time either had their own pocket detailing or were tied toward the front which allowed for pockets to be accessed more easily.

Handbags didn’t immediately replace the pocket. Fashion just changed over time as women’s clothing slimmed down and no longer allowed for the tie-on pocket under their clothing and was replaced underneath. However, the number and size of pockets in women’s clothing has become an increasing problem over the years, and pockets continue to grow smaller or non-existent.

Delay Delay…

Sorry for the very long delay in posting! I’ve let Summer get away with me and I also let the fact that I need a new computer be an excuse for way too long. I am in the process of getting a new one ordered and will have the promised posts up soon. Hopefully I can get it ordered and delivered by the end of the week or first of next week so it won’t be too much longer until I can get up and running again!

Thanks so much for your patience! 🙂 Emily

Summer Delay

Photo by Pixabay on

What I’m Reading… Book One

The Pocket

A Hidden History of Women’s Lives

by: Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux

Hi there! This is a very good book for anyone who is interested in this type of history. The book allows you to look at the individual because each pocket would have been made to suit the wearer and their own needs. (Often by the person wearing them.)

Many of them had beautiful embroidery on them. This is important to note, since you were not technically supposed to see these pockets as they were tied underneath the ladies garments. Since the pockets were just tied on, they could fall off or be stolen. Ladies would have to claim what items had been in their pockets such as thimbles, rings or handkerchiefs. Hopefully, these items would have their initials on them and they would be lucky enough to get them back easily.

My following post will have some more tidbits about pockets and their history. I hope that you will find this as fun as I do!

  • The Pocket: A Hidden History of Women’s Lives by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux, 2019 Yale University Press

What I’m Reading… Intro

Hi! I’m thinking about starting a new thing on here with some of the books I’m reading. These will probably always tie in with another upcoming post, but there may be a few surprises here and there.

I’ll have the first one coming up soon followed by another post or two to go with the book.


An Origin Story

Most people are probably at least vaguely familiar with the Cinderella story from Disney or some other similar version. The orphan girl meets the prince through various circumstances, help of a fairy godmother and a lost shoe and then they live happily ever after.

What many don’t realize is that the story is much older than that. The Disney version is mostly based off of the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault from 1697 but the original “Cinderella Story” was recorded much farther back. The story of Rhodopis and her lost sandal was written by the geographer Strabo around the 1st century AD.

In the story, Rhodopis was bathing in the Nile and an eagle picked up her sandal. The eagle dropped it in the lap of the king and he took this as a sign from the gods and searched until he found the owner of the sandal. He then made Rhodopis his queen.

While the Rhodopis in Strabo’s tale was based on a real person, this was not a real story. One of the most likely references that Strabo could have used is Herodotus who wrote about a Rhodopis from Thrace about five centuries before Strabo did. This Rhodopis was a slave along with the famous Aesop and after she was taken to Egypt was freed by the brother of the famous poetess Sappho. She was also believed to have become a famous courtesan and was mourned after her death.

The origin of the “fairy tale” of Cinderella who got her prince or king in this case has been around for a long time and has been reused over and over again. It’s sometimes used as a cautionary tale as the stepmother and stepsisters have been added in to show how greed works against people sometimes. But originally, the story was more straightforward and simple.