This beautiful book, with magnificent glossy photographs of Tutankhamen's sarcophagus, shrines, coffins, shabati etc. etc. is the next best thing to owning the treasures yourself. The authors have also included photographs of lesser known art pieces composed of carved wood and stone. As you probably know, the tomb had been entered by grave robbers during ancient times but then, again in ancient times, resealed presumably by guards located in the Valley of the Kings. With this in mind, the authors offer a fascinating insight. A beautiful carved wooden shabat was found buried in the rubble filling the entrance tunnel to the tomb. Apparently the robbers had left it there as of little value. If such is true, it is probable that there wasn't an antiquarian relic market in ancient Egypt. The robbers were probably only after precious metals, stones and jewelry. Probably this should come as no surprise despite the fact that these beautiful little shabati would now be worth a great deal.
The text of this book, giving Howard Carter's history, is useful, as is the text that runs throughout the book. This pictoral book does suffer, in my opinion, from the same problem as many magazines. The text itself is rather choppy because of the problem of showing voluminous photos with descriptive captions. Too bad but perhaps inevitable.
I do wish, however, that the authors had discussed and speculated on the ancient robbery. Do they think the tomb robbers were captured? Do they think that stolen items were recovered and returned to the tomb? They strongly imply that many highly valuable items were stolen and NOT returned--but--how do they know? The various chambers of the tomb seemed to be chock-full of valuable items.
If the robbers weren't captured, why didn't they return and clean the tomb out as thoroughly as every other Royal tomb ever discovered? If the robbers were captured isn't it probable that the stolen goods were recovered and returned?
Personally, I think a text concerning ancient Egyptian tomb robbery--techniques, motives, individuals--is a volume whose time has come. When you see how much gold was recovered from King Tut's tomb it makes me wonder if much of this precious metal was simply recycled--certain Pharaohs may have commissioned robbers to steal the gold of their ancestors. Given the supposedly highly religious nature of ancient Egyptians such sacrilege might seem improbable--but was it? Obviously the robbers themselves must have swallowed their religious scruples to obtain wealth. Why not certain Pharaohs, especially if the occasional one was a secret agnostic or atheist.