In Carter’s Footsteps

A private tour for members of the Egypt Exploration Society

Escorted throughout by Dr Carl Graves, Director of the Egypt Exploration Society

Carl Graves


Please contact the EES if you wish to join a waitlist.

Fully Booked

2022 marks the 100th anniversary since the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by archaeologists under the direction of Howard Carter. But Carter’s archaeological journey started 30 years earlier in Middle Egypt as a young artist working for the Egypt Exploration Fund. His somewhat controversial career involved a vast network of British, American, and Egyptian archaeologists, Egyptologists, politicians, and funders, culminating in the most celebrated archaeological discovery in the world. Join Dr Carl Graves on a tour of sites in the Nile Valley through the lens of archival records, photographs, and publications investigating the development of Carter’s career before Tutankhamun and his legacy as the most famous archaeologist in the world.

For every booking on this tour a donation to the EES fund is included.

Carl gained his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2017 on the subject of Middle Egyptian landscapes and the site of Beni Hasan (areas visited on this tour). He has worked at the Egypt Exploration Society since 2013 and became Director in 2019.


Day 1 - Monday 3rd October 2022

We fly London Heathrow to Luxor and on arrival take our private transfer and check in to the Old Winter Palace, Garden Pavilion Wing, for four nights on room and breakfast basis.

Day 2 - Tuesday 4th October - To the West Bank bl

We take our private launch and cross the Nile to join our vehicle for the short ride to the Colossi of Memnon to view the vast seated statues of Amenhotep III located close to Carter’s first permanent home as Inspector of Upper Egyptian Antiquities. We continue on to ‘Castle Carter’ where he lived during the excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Here you will have time to explore the house and visit the replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb, created by Factum Arte, in the garden nearby. Next we head to Deir el Bahri and the Temple of Hatshepsut where Carter worked for the EES under the direction of Édouard Naville from 1894 to 1899 recording the wall reliefs and reconstructing the monument we see today. We have a relaxing lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Qurnet Murai. Here we can enter the tomb of Amenhotep called Huy (TT40), the Viceroy of Kush during the reign of Tutankhamun. Time also to enter the smaller but wonderfully decorated tombs of Amenemonet (TT277) and Amenemheb (TT278). Having familiarised ourselves with Carter’s homes in Luxor, this evening we will hear about the rest of the tour tracking Carter’s footsteps from the discovery of Tutankhamun back through his archaeological training in Middle Egypt before finally visiting the new Tutankhamun displays at GEM and considering Carter’s legacy in Egypt and Egyptology today.

Day 3 - Wednesday 5th October - The Valley of the Kings bl

Today we cross the Nile to join our vehicle and head straight to the Valley of the Kings. We have tickets for entrance to three tombs of your own choosing of those open on the day, but the real highlight will be our special permit entry to KV43, the tomb of Thutmose IV, located high in the cliffs. This tomb was rediscovered and recorded by Carter on behalf of the Antiquities Service in 1903 with funding from Theodore Davies. We also include tickets for entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamun, Carter’s most famous discovery representing the culmination of his training, and the peak of his fame. We have a local lunch before we make the short journey to the Nobles Tombs. The tomb of Ramose (TT55) has beautiful reliefs in both classical and Amarna style whilst Khaemhat (TT57) and Userhat (TT51) although smaller are both significant for understanding the development of epigraphic techniques of which Carter was a pioneer. We return to our hotel, where you can have a go at epigraphic illustration yourself, and later we visit Luxor Museum.

Day 4 - Thursday 6th October - The Temple of Amun b

This morning we visit Karnak Temple for a full guided tour of all the main elements but also look at some of the lesser known areas. Our tickets include the Open Air Museum, with its ever-expanding range of reconstructed buildings. We return to the hotel in time for lunch and some free time before we take an afternoon walk to Luxor Temple. This evening Carl will explore Carter’s legacy in epigraphic recording by introducing the work of Amice Calverley and Myrtle Broome at the Temple of Seti I at Abydos (1927-37) and other work of the Archaeological Survey of Egypt. The evening’s entertainment will include an intimate viewing of an archival movie showing the recording of the decorated tombs of Meir in 1949.

Day 5 - Friday 7th October - To Abydos bld

An early start as we head north to Abydos. On arrival we go straight to the Temple of Seti I where we find some of the most stunning reliefs in the whole of Egypt, photographed and painted by Calverley and Broome for the Egypt Exploration Society between 1927 and 1937. Pausing for a look at the Osireion, cleared by the EES in 1925, we walk across the desert to the Temple of Ramesses II. We travel with lunch boxes from the Winter Palace and late afternoon we check in to our local hotel, The House of Life, for one night on half board basis.

Day 6 - Saturday 8th October - To Minya bld

Our destination today is the town of Minya known as the ‘Bride of Egypt’ where we have rooms at the Nefertiti Hotel on half board basis for the next three nights. Again, we travel with lunch boxes from our hotel and our first stop of the day will be at the rarely visited Old and Middle Kingdom rock-cut tombs of Meir. Investigated by Aylward Blackman for the EES from 1912 to 1950 (as well as a brief season by Carter in 1918!) the beautifully decorated rock-tombs of Meir are among the more hidden gems of this stretch of the Nile. Late afternoon we check in to our local hotel in Minya. Members should note that this hotel is classed as 4 star in Egypt but this cannot be compared to 4 star in Europe. This is the best hotel in Minya and it is the hotel that many excavation teams use when working in the area. In preparation for the journey tomorrow, Carl will give a short presentation about the curious tale of ‘Barefoot and Boot’ and the discovery of the Hatnub quarries on the trail of the tomb of Akhenaten.

Day 7 - Sunday 9th October - Quarry, Pyramid and Tombs bld

After breakfast we take the road south and meet up with one of our local Inspectors from the Ministry of Antiquities based at Amarna. Our intended destination this morning is Hatnub and the Egyptian alabaster quarries, the site of an acrimonious fallout in the Archaeological Survey of Egypt involving Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Akhenaten. More recent, EES-supported, projects in this area have revealed unique painted scenes and transport networks connecting the remote quarries to the Nile Valley. Once again we travel with packed lunch boxes as our afternoon will include visits to the small Old Kingdom Pyramid at Zawyet Sultan and the rock-cut Fraser Tombs. Middle Egypt was the site of Carter’s archaeological training at the young age of just 17. Tonight, we explore Carter’s early career, who he worked with, and the broader social and political context to the development of British archaeology in Egypt.

Day 8 - Monday 10th October - Amarna bld

An exciting day ahead as we plan a full day at the city of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Tel el Amarna, where we visit the Royal Tomb, the Northern and Southern Tombs, the city and the Royal Palaces. We have lunch boxes from the Nefertiti Hotel today and we will have a lunch break at the Amarna rest house where we can buy hot and cold drinks and use the facilities. This evening Carl will introduce us to his personal research topic, the ancient landscape of Middle Egypt and the political history of the local elite of the Oryx Nome buried at Beni Hasan and Zawyet Sultan.

Day 9 - Tuesday 11th October - Deir el Bersha and Beni Hasan bl

This morning we have arranged a special permit for private EES entry to the tombs at Deir el Bersha. Time to enter the tomb of Djehutyhotep where you can compare Carter’s epigraphic recording with the scenes preserved today. Next to Beni Hasan and the rock-cut tombs where we view the colourful reliefs depicting daily life from the Middle Kingdom and experience life on Carter’s first archaeological expedition. We have a lunch box from our hotel once again today. Late afternoon we arrive at our Cairo Hotel, The Steigenberger at Giza, where we check in for three nights on room and breakfast basis. In the final lecture of the trip, Carl will explore the more controversial events of Carter’s career, including the ‘Saqqara Incident’, and will finish with some musings on Carter’s legacy in Egyptology.

Day 10 - Wednesday 12th October - Saqqara bl

A full day at Saqqara where we visit the Step Pyramid complex and the Imhotep Museum. If open we will enter the Step Pyramid and the pyramid of Unas, view the wonderful scenes in the Old Kingdom mastabas of Mereruka, Ptahhotep and Kagemni and enter the New Kingdom tombs of Horemheb, as army general before becoming Pharaoh, and Maya Head of the Treasury in the time of Tutankhamun. We also visit the Serapeum, burial place of the Apis Bulls and site of the ‘Saqqara Incident’. We pause for a break mid-day with time to relax over cold drinks and a relaxed lunch at a local restaurant.

Day 11 - Thursday 13th October - Grand Egyptian Museum b

We have arranged a full day at the Grand Egyptian Museum. Your entry ticket will cover all halls and you will be able to have refreshment breaks in the Museum. This is your chance to spend a day choosing your own route but most of all it will be time to view the wonderful new setting for the Tutankhamun Collection and remember the legacy of Howard Carter and those whose stories are often forgotten in many histories leading to the greatest archaeological discovery.

Day 12 - Friday 14th October - Homeward bound b

This morning we take our private transfer to Cairo Airport for our homebound flights.

B = Breakfast BL = Breakfast and Lunch BD = Breakfast and Dinner BLD = Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

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