17 June, 1975
Dear Dr. Iles,
Thank you for your letter of 14 May.
I am afraid that you have been misinformed about the state of Tutankhamuns tomb. Not only was it entered by thieves in antiquity but, as a result of the collapse of a later tomb from above, there is a strong possibility that some of the material found in the tomb was of more recent date. It is consequently wrong to assume that all the material from the tomb must date from the same period. Furthermore, if any material is to be used as a means of checking on the date of Tutankhamuns death it is necessary to demonstrate that there is no possibility of its being accidentally mislabelled or confused with other Egyptian material during the interval between the opening of the tomb and the time when the material was submitted for dating. The material dated by the Museums Research Laboratory did not meet these requirements and was dated in order to settle the doubts. Mr. Harold Barker, Keeper of Conservation at the British Museum, having read all the correspondence in Pensee concerning the fragments of wood measured by Dr. Ralph, suggests that this material too is by no means sufficiently firmly documented to satisfy these same criteria.