The Mummy in the Taxi: Elliot Smith and Howard Carter in 1903

When Grafton Elliot Smith was in Cairo in 1903 he was asked by Gaston Maspero, Egyptian director-general of antiquities, to medically examine the mummy of a Pharaoh, Tuthmosis, before a distinguished audience at the Cairo Museum, which included Lord Cromer and Howard Carter (then inspector of antiquities). After this Elliot Smith did a thorough lab examination of the king in private. In order to estimate his age, etc, he wanted an X-ray photograph of the body, the first mummy ever to be so examined. He later recalled how he and Carter took the rigid Pharaoh in a cab to the only radiographical apparatus in Cairo, in a nursing home. One can imagine the mummy sitting rigidly in the back seat while Grafton and Howard chatted about archaeology on the way!

I discuss this in my book Grafton Elliot Smith, Egyptology and the Diffusion of Culture (p.9).. GES was a great, but now forgotten, Australian. I doubt he gets a mention in the TV miniseries Tutankhamun.

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