King Tut - Boy King of Curses.
One of the most enduring and exciting ancient Egyptian discoveries was that of King Tut. Or, to use his real name, Tutankhamun.
His grave was discovered in 1922 by explorer Howard Carter, who was financed by Lord Carnarvon.
What made the discovery so important was the fact that the tomb seemed almost untouched and in very good condition.
Could you imagine the thrill of entering this tomb and finding King Tut's golden sarcophagus looking up at you with it's youthful looking, three thousand year old face?
The tomb captured the imagination of the world and so did the mummy who slept there.
Murder most foul.
After inspecting the mummy, it was thought that he had suffered a head trauma that may have ended his life.
Was it a blow from a blunt instrument? And if so who delivered the fateful blow?
Was it the boy king's chief minister Ay?
Was it his deputy Horemheb? Both of these could have felt threatened or been driven by greed to commit such a heinous act.
Speculation has swirled around young pharaoh like the shifting desert sands of Egypt.
X rays carried out by the University of Liverpool in 1968 were interpreted as a subdural hematoma. This kind of trauma would have been caused by a blow to the head.
The same X rays discovered a loose sliver of bone inside the upper cranial cavity which was thought to be related to the head trauma.
These theories have since been put in doubt after more recent CT Scans shed new light on the mummy mystery.
In 2005 Egyptian archaeologist, Zawi Hawass, carried out the CT scans that found the young King died as the result of a broken leg. It appears that the leg was broken while he was alive and not post-mummification as Howard Carter first stated. The scans also reveal that the damage to the back of the skull is likely to have been caused by embalmers removing the brain during the mummification process.
How did the teenager break his leg? A possible scenario is a fall from his chariot. In any case it looks like the broken bone started a serious infection and gangrene is a newly suggested cause of death.
Curse of the pharaohs.
The warnings are written on the walls of many tombs. Curses will befall those who disturb the resting place of the pharaohs.
But just how serious are these curses?
In the case of King Tut's curse, maybe the explorers of his grave should have taken a backward step and not entered at all.
Shortly after the discovery, the enthusiastic financier of Howard Carter's mission, Lord Carnarvon, died of blood poisoning. The very thing experts now say killed King Tut.
Coincidence? Or not?
Another financier, George Jay Gould I, died shortly after visiting the tomb. He contracted a fever in Egypt and died in the French Riviera of pneumonia.
Not everyone who invaded the Pharaoh's space was struck down though. Howard Carter lived until he was sixty five and the doctor who performed the autopsy for Carter lived until seventy five.
So either the curse was selective or, alternatively, the media fueled an exciting story to flavour the already tantalizing discovery of the mummy of King Tut.
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