King Tut: Buried in a Pyramid or Tomb?

Photo: Pyramids vs. tombs, what's the difference?
Pyramid and Sphinx
Was King Tut (Pharaoh Tutankhamen) buried in a pyramid? 

Read on to find out.

We've heard about pyramids and tombs. But what, exactly, is the difference between the two?

Actually, a lot. In ancient Egypt's early years, pyramids were popular burial sites for their rulers. In later years, however, Pharaohs were buried in secret tombs with no outer structures to identify their location. Not even a tombstone.

Why?

Pyramids were very impressive to look at. Who wouldn't want to be buried in a pyramid? But there was a downside. In addition to being impressive, pyramids were easy for tomb raiders to spot. Anyone could see them from miles away, and everyone knew they were filled with treasure.

Pharaohs eventually feared that their monuments' size invited trouble. 

They told tomb raiders exactly where to go. That's one factor that may have played a large reason as to why they came up with a plan to build secret, hidden tombs. Also, some historians say a second factor played a role in the switch. Pharaohs in later periods had less power. In addition to the problem of tomb robbers, they may have been unable to command the resources required to make such grand structures.
Image: pencil drawing map of ancient Egypt
map of ancient Egypt
During the New Kingdom, in around 1520 B.C., burials were moved south into a hidden valley, which is now called the Valley of the Kings. There's a valley for women, too, called the Valley of the Queens.

A special craftsmen's village was set up at the foot of the valley by Pharaoh Amenhotep I. The people who lived in the village were responsible for designing the hidden burial sites, and for creating the treasures to put inside. Their village was called the Place of Truth. Remains of the town still exist today. The people who lived there kept detailed records of their lives, and we are able to learn much about the ancient Egyptians through their writings.

The Valley of the Kings was well guarded. Only the builders knew where the tombs had been dug into the cliff-sides. Still, tomb raiders did eventually find some of the hidden tombs and loot them. Some say certain corrupt builders themselves may have had a hand in the looting.

Now we come to the answer about King Tut:

Pharaoh Tutankhamen was NOT buried in a pyramid. He was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His mummy and treasures were untouched through the ages, until they were found by archaeologist Howard Carter.

For King Tut, and fortunately for us as well, the whole secret location thing worked out.

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