The path understanding of the life and career of Howard Carter is dominated by his discovery 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamun. By this time, he had already spent nearly 30 years in Egypt, much of it in archaeological activity other than excavation. This book places the great discovery in the context of Carter's whole career, describing the clearly defined stages by which a young man of 17, brought to Egypt as a "tracer" and knowing little beyond how to use a pencil and an artist's brush, became what one great Egyptologist called "the very best artist", was appointed at the age of 26 the first Chief Inspector of Antiquities in Upper Egypt, and by good fortune out of disaster became "the learned man" who assisted the 5th Earl of Carnovon in the Thecan exacavations. Howard Carter's career before Tutankhamun was by no means confined to grubbing in unimportant sites. He was fortunate to be working in Egypt in the years when excavation and other forms of field-work, especially epigraphy, were developing beyond the amateurism and informal buccaneering of earlier times. His natural talents as artist, observer, and practical man, with his rare sympathy and understanding of the Egyptians who lived and worked in the prime excavation sites, made him well suited to the uncertain conditions and unpredictable results of archaeological activities. Of modest origins and by nature a solitary man, he was drawn to the grand life of those who made Egyptology a rich man's pastime in the early years of the 20th century; of irascible and stubborn temper, he often alienated his supporters and threatened his own downfall. He was not an easy man to be involved with. In this study of a complex character, who ultimately achieves supreme archaeological triumph, much use has been made of a wide range of documentary sources, including some never previously exploited, so as to place Howard Carter in the social and political milieux of Egypt at a period of great change.