Tutankhamun’s Trumpets Played After 3000 Years Of Silence
Of all the phenomenal artifacts excavated by Howard Carter in 1922, nothing is quite comparable as Tutankhamun’s Trumpets. Found as a pair in different sections of his grand tomb, these magnificent horns had laid silent for over 3000 years until April 1939, when the ancient instruments resonated across BBC Radio mesmorising an estimated audience of 150 million people.
Tutankhamun’s Trumpets are beautiful finds, one of silver, the other bronze, each measure approximately 49.4cm in length, and 9.5cm wide at the bell. The age and style of instruments led to difficulty in their sounding, however, James Tappern of Prince Albert’s Own 11th Royal Hussars regiment managed to perform beautifully on the recording which is linked below.
The difficulty in playing the ancient instruments was in the inability to use modern mouthpieces. Rex Keating, the BBC Radio presenter recounted how years earlier they had attempted to perform in front of the Egyptian King Farouk. Upon blowing the notes through the silver trumpet, it shattered in a catastrophic event due to the overpowering modern mouth piece.
Are Tutankhamun’s Trumpets Magical War Horns?
There is a curiosity associated with Tutankhamun’s Trumpets, Zahi Hawass, former Minister of State for Antiquities Affair, and Egyptologist Hala Hassan, curator of the Tutankhamun collection at the Egyptian Museum both claim that Tutankhamun’s Trumpets hold “magical powers”. These powers are purportedly the ability for the trumpets to summon war when played.
The claims are impossible to conclusively accept or reject, but there have been a number of odd cases. Tutankamun’s Trumpets were first sounded in April 1939, five months prior to the United Kingdom joining World War II. Again, they were sounded just prior to the 6 Day War in 1967, they were also played just prior to the 1990 Gulf War, and most recently they were sounded in a Cairo exhibit, one week prior to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
Tutankhamun’s Trumpets Played By James Tappern, 1939