|View from inside Maeshowe, 1900. Orkney Archive Reference D32/2/2 - Magnus Spence Collection.|
On this day in 1923, Howard Carter unsealed the tomb of Egyptian boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun.
In 1861, James Farrer opened Maeshowe, an Orcadian Neolithic burial chamber dating around 1400 years earlier than the Egyptian tomb. Unlike the fully intact and treasure-stuffed cavern which greeted Carter, Maeshowe was empty but for a few fragments of human bone.
It did however, contain Viking graffiti dating from the 12th century and, every winter solstice, visitors huddle in the tomb to watch the winter sunlight slice along the tunnel and paint a strip of light up the back wall.
For more information see here and here.
|Pencil drawing of Maeshowe interior after excavation. Artist and date unknown. Orkney Archive Reference D8/3/11.|
|Midhowe Chambered Cairn, Orkney Archive Reference D138/8 - Walter Grant Archaeological Collection.|