On November 4, 1922, the entrance to King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, but fascination with Egypt and Egyptomania began during Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and Syria (1798-1801). The craze for all things Egyptian, which included influences in fashion and home decor, also saw the construction of the beautiful Egyptian Avenue inside Highgate Cemetery, opens a new window in London, where the wealthy buried their family members in ornate Egyptian-esque mausoleums.
Famously in 1843, a crowd gathered to watch a mummy unwrapping, opens a new window; thankfully for all of us, it soon became more important to preserve ancient cultures rather than make a spectacle of or destroy them. Egyptomania decreased in popularity as the 1900s approached because many of the great tombs of pharaohs and others had been discovered and/or plundered.
However, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon stumbled across the then-unaccounted-for King Tutankhamen in 1922. Over several years, the tomb was excavated, although Lord Carnarvon's death in 1923 was famously attributed to a death curse from opening the tomb.
Egyptomania experienced a brief resurgence in popularity in the 1920s (Downton Abbey fans, did you notice that Lord Grantham's dogs were named Isis and Pharaoh?). Artifacts recovered from King Tutankhamen's tomb have toured the world, keeping our fascination with Ancient Egypt alive.
Know any kiddos fascinated by Ancient Egypt? There's a lot of Egyptian fiction and nonfiction (perfect for future archaeologists) sure to turn them into armchair explorers.
Who hasn't been intrigued by the marvel of Ancient Egyptian engineering or the lure of finding long-lost history and treasure beneath shifting sand? We've got you covered with both books and DVDs all about the allure and history of Ancient Egypt.