Nature had thrust him into the world miserably incomplete. Uneducated, it was only through his stubbornness that his life had at least been interesting, remarkable even.
Forced to resign from his government post, he spent years struggling as a small-time antiquities dealer, selling drawings and watercolors on the side. Through his periods of doubt and difficulty, he somehow managed to maintain the support of the wealthy 5th Earl of Carnarvon, George Herbert, that kept him busy traveling for months at a time.
And yet, at forty-eight years old, Howard seemed destined for obscurity. His benefactor was growing bored with the lack of successes and lately seemed more interested in his racehorses than in continuing their relationship. “Only one more year,” he said. “After that, I’ve got to find another hole into which I can throw my money.”
A few months later, on November 26, 1922, the Earl arrived in response to Howard’s telegraph regarding a possible discovery. He had brought his daughter and some friends with him, determined to at least make the trip a worthwhile vacation in the likely event that nothing else came of it. The little group met up with their host and huddled together by a decorative wall at the bottom of a flight of steps. A servant went chipping away at the upper left corner of the wall with a small chisel until a hole was made, large enough for an arm to reach through. He moved aside and Howard peered into the opening.
“Well,” the Earl asked, “can you see anything?”
By the light of a dim candle, Howard Carter whispered, “Yes... I see wonderful things...”
The discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen, in an area given up on by most experienced Egyptologists, continues to provide the world with “wonderful things” to this day.