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Transcript of Tutankhamen
During 1500 B.C. most Egyptians buried their Pharaohs in a spacious valley dubbed ‘the valley of Kings’ in order to protect their royalty from tomb raiders. Eventually, King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered over 3000 years after his burial, in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. Carter had inadvertently stumbled upon a tomb notably smaller and less extravagant than other tombs in the area however many royal possessions were crammed into the space. Akhenaten, King Tutankhamen’s previous successor was renowned for creating the new capital of Egypt during his reign: Amarna, a city filled with rich palaces and also for making numerous enemies. When Tutankhamen took over his kingdom at the young age of 9 years, he also obtained Akhenaten’s enemies. Tutankhamen’s reign was cut short as a result of his death after 10 short years making us question how this authoritarian Pharaoh died and who his family was.
Identifying the Mystery
The chariot accident theory
Inside the Ancient King’s tomb, archaeologists found 6 different chariots suggesting that the ruler used them as a mode of transport. The chariot theory proposes that he died from a “horrific chariot accident” which in turn caused the fracture of his knee evident after running CT scans on his mummified body.
Though the thousands of CT scans conducted do reveal the Pharaoh’s fractured knee, they also uncover a bone deformity in his left foot also known as ‘club foot’. This would result in a heavy limp as he walked and is further exemplified by the 130 canes found buried with him in his tomb.
Scientists speculate that at approximately age 13, Tutankhamen developed Curlers disease. a condition that caused necrosis of the bones, meaning that the bones in Tutankhamen’s foot gradually died and collapsed.
King Tutankhamen couldn’t have died from a chariot accident as he would not have been able to ride a chariot with only one functioning foot.
The murder theory
This theory was created after scientists x-rayed the mummy and found Tutankhamen had a broken skull. Fans of this theory hypothesize that when the King reached maturity, his advisers assassinated him as they felt they had lost power when Tutankhamen became King and desired their old regime. The strongest evidence supporting this theory is his youthful death which, paired with his evidently rushed burial, suggests that his death was not from natural causes.
Not only would an assassination of the king have been highly improbable, but it would’ve required a strong motive as in ancient times, citizens saw their Pharaohs as living Gods. Another x-ray was taken to decipher whether this theory was plausible and depicted the bone fragments lying loose within the skull cavity. Consequently, if the Pharaohs assassination had transpired, these bone fragments would’ve been stuck in the embalming resin when his body was mummified.
We can conclude with certainty that Tutankhamen was not murdered by a blow to the head as the bone fragments got inside the skull cavity after mummification had taken place.
Who were his parents?
Recent DNA tests have only just uncovered that the theory conjecturing Akhenaten as Tutankhamen’s father is true. A mummified woman now known as the ‘Younger Lady’ was found in a separate tomb nearby and CT scans paired with positive DNA tests reinforce their mother son relationship.
By Keira Bower
A renowned surgeon named Hutan Ashrafian studied the Pharoah’s known family and noticed that his father, mother and great grandfather had all died relatively young. Upon further exploration and research, the surgeon deciphered a pattern; each generation died quicker than the previous causing him suspect an inherited disease ran in the family.
A statue of Akhenaten, found in Karnak portrays Tutankhamen’s previous successor as a Pharaoh with a somewhat feminine figure. Similarly, paintings found on the inside of Tutankhamen’s tomb illustrate him with the same female-like qualities. By collaborating with Egyptologist Yasmin El Shazly, Ashrafian discovered that Tutankhamen had most likely inherited temple lobe epilepsy.
His disorder had been passed on from generation to generation and eventually heightened by being the product of incest as his Father and Mother were siblings. Ancient Egyptians liked keeping the royal family pure and did not understand that incest consequently produced offspring with an increased chance of disease.
Upon discovering Tutankhamen’s tomb, Carter noticed a lack of decoration relatively to other tombs situated in the area. Mould covered small areas of the walls indicating that the paint must’ve still been wet when the tomb was closed.
After extensively administering 2,000 CT scans of his body, providing a 3D view of soft tissues and bones, hundreds of fractures throughout his body became evident. Scientists believe that these were most likely caused whilst trying to remove the legendary golden mask which had been glued to Tutankhamen’s chest and abdomen. 99% of these fractures occurred post mortem however Tutankhamen’s fractured knee definitely occurred shortly before he died.
Various DNA tests and CT scans allow us to be certain that Tutankhamen’s father was Akhenaten and his mother: the ‘Younger Lady’.
Professor Ashrafian and Yasmin El Shazly’s findings resulted in the discovery of Tutankhamen’s probable temple lobe epilepsy which would’ve caused hallucinations, interfere with hormone production and resulted in a feminine physique depicted in Tutankhamen’s statues and wall paintings.
This disease also causes violent seizures that may have resulted in his fractured knee, an injury that wouldn’t have been treated and in turn caused the infection-ridden Pharaoh’s death.
Though we may not be definitively sure of Tutankhamen’s demise, we can use archaeology and piece together evidence in order to attain a better picture of what the Pharaohs life was like.
Image of Tutankhamen's possible appearance created after collating CT scans.
Representation of Tutankhamen's face
Chariot found inside Tutankhamen's tomb