The golden death mask of the young king, which covered the mummy, has been a familiar image around the world ever since the British treasure-seeker Howard Carter located the tomb in 1922. But, 85 years to the day since Carter’s discovery, the actual face of the 19-year-old monarch was put on view in his underground tomb at Luxor, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its stone sarcophagus for display in a climate-controlled glass box.
Naturally, the face the world can now see is a lot less idealised than the lustrous and splendid golden mask. It is shrivelled and leather-like from the embalming process. But, if less idealised, it is a lot more human and exhibits one very human characteristic in particular: he might have been the lord of all he saw, but young King Tut had buck teeth. The mummified face clearly display the "overbite" which was characteristic of the Thurmosid royal line to which Tutankhamun belonged.
Yesterday’s display comes at the end Continue reading
After conducting an extensive analysis of the ancient pharaoh’s DNA, which they gathered from his mummified remains, the researchers concluded that a combination of malaria and bone abnormalities contributed to his premature death at the age of 19 in 1324 BC.
Further tests appear to identify other members of the 18th dynasty of the New Kingdom, which ruled between 1550 and 1295 BC and was one of the most powerful royal houses of ancient Egypt. Ten other mummies found near the boy king’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings were tested but only three of them can be safely identified.
The researchers believe that Tutankhamun’s father was the pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled Egypt for 17 years alongside his queen, Nefertiti. Tutankhamun’s mother can only be named as KV35YL, the name of the tomb in which her mummified remains were found. The final identified mummy is believed to be Tiye, Akhenaten’s mother and Tutankhamun’s grandmother.
The study, published in the Journal of Continue reading
The BNI team argues that theories offered by Egyptian experts, led by antiquities tsar Zahi Hawass, are based on data that can be interpreted otherwise. They say further analysis of the data will confirm or deny their work. Hawass’ claim, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this February, and followed by a swarm of accompanying television shows, claimed King Tut suffered from Kohler’s disease, a bone disorder prohibiting blood flow, before succumbing to malaria.
Multiple bone disorders, including one in Tutankhamun’s left foot, led to the Kohler’s diagnosis, while segments of a malarial parasite were found via DNA testing. Yet the BNI team claims the latter results are incorrect. Malaria in combination with Khler’s disease causing Tutankhamun’s early death seems unlikely to us, say Prof Christian Meyer and Dr Christian Timmann.
Instead the BNI team feels sickle-cell disease (SCD), a genetic blood disorder, is a more Continue reading
A team of radiologists used a sophisticated 3D X-ray of Tutankhamun’s body to identify what may have happened to the boy king before he died 3,300 years ago at about the age of 19.
Computed tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh’s mummy, presented yesterday to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of America in Chicago, confirmed a possible fracture in the boy’s femur, or thigh bone, which probably occurred just before he died. Ashraf Selim, a radiologist at the Kasr Eleini Teaching Hospital at Cairo University, said there was no evidence of a skull fracture caused by a blow to the head – a suggestion made after previous X-rays taken in 1968 – but the broken leg may have been serious enough to kill the pharaoh.
"There was no evidence of violent trauma to the skull or chest before he died. But there is a possible fracture to the femur that may have led to his death," Dr Selim said. Whatever caused the fractured thigh bone is likely to have also caused an Continue reading
The "boy king’s" fame did not just cost him his privacy. His underground tomb, in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, is now suffering from the wear and tear caused by tens of thousands of sweaty visitors who each year make a pilgrimage to the underground chamber where he once lay sheathed in the solid gold death-mask that has become his trademark.
Most day-trippers come to soak up the atmosphere at the spot where Carter famously made a "tiny breach in the top left-hand corner" of a hidden stone doorway, before chiselling his way inside and declaring: "I see wonderful things." But in common with most mass tourists, these visitors have begun to threaten the very monument they come to admire.
Strange brown spots, apparently mould, have appeared on the walls of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber. Its elaborate murals, which tell the story of his journey into the after-life, are now covered in dust and have begun to peel in places. The king’s wooden coffin Continue reading