Wednesday, March 09, 2005

King Tut's CT scan rules out violent death

But test results provide little insight into how he died

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King Tut wasn't murdered by a blow to the head, nor was his chest crushed in an accident. But after ruling out those long-time theories, the most revealing tests ever performed on the boy pharaoh's mummy didn't solve the mystery of how he died.
The results of the high-tech CT scan released yesterday raised one new possibility: They suggested that just days before his death, Tutankhamen might have badly broken his left thigh, puncturing the skin -- an injury that could have caused a dangerous infection.
But not everyone on the Egyptian-led team that pored over 1,700 CT images of Tut's body taken two months ago agreed with that theory. Some said the fracture could have occurred from mishandling when the mummy was discovered in 1922 in Luxor's Valley of the Kings.
Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the study allowed him to rule out violent death, but left him with no idea how Tut died. He said further tests will try to determine whether Tut died from natural causes, or perhaps was poisoned, but he stressed that it is unlikely they will find an answer.
Still, the CT results provided the most revealing insight yet into the life of ancient Egypt's most famous king, who ruled 3,300 years ago.
Tutankhamen was a well-fed, healthy, yet slightly built 19-year-old, standing 5 feet 6 inches tall at the time of his death, the test suggests. It was the first time his age has been established.
He had the typical overbite characteristic of other kings from his family and a slight cleft palate, which did not cause a cleft lip or other facial deformities. He also had large incisor teeth and his lower teeth were slightly misaligned.
While much interest has surrounded Tut's life, most attention has focused on how he died. X-rays taken in 1968 by Liverpool University anatomists found bone fragments inside Tut's skull, suggesting he might have been slain by being hit on the head.
But Mr. Hawass said the CT scan, the first ever performed on an ancient Egyptian king, ruled that out.
"The team found no evidence for a blow to the back of the head, and no other indication of foul play," he said.
He suggested that the fragments came from royal funerary workers who drilled a hole into the skull to let embalmers pour resins and other fluids in to prepare the body for mummification.
Some on the CT-scan team, which included two Italian experts and one from Switzerland, speculated that damage to the skull and upper neck might have been caused by the archaeological team led by Briton Howard Carter when they removed the pharaoh's famous golden mask after discovering his tomb.
Mr. Hawass said the team discounted a theory that the absence of Tut's sternum and most of his front ribs indicated a traumatic death.
"They also found it extremely unlikely that he suffered an accident in which he crushed his chest," he said, adding that such an injury would have caused damage elsewhere in the body, such as the spine, and the team saw none.
Mr. Hawass said he had no firm idea of how Tut died. But he offered two theories.
"He may have died from natural causes or was poisoned. We are going to look at his viscera to see if his organs show any signs, but it is virtually impossible to prove how he died," he said, giving no details on more tests or when they would be performed.
Mr. Hawass said Tut's death, around 1323 B.C., was surprising considering he was only 19, appeared to be healthy and suffered no infectious diseases or major childhood malnutrition.
"The mystery of his death will continue, but the case over whether he was [violently] murdered is closed," he said.
The CT scan, during which Tut's leather-like mummy was briefly removed from its tomb and placed into the scanner, did not address questions about Tut's precise royal lineage. It is unclear whether he was the son or a half brother of Akhenaten, the "heretic" pharaoh who introduced a revolutionary form of monotheism to ancient Egypt and was the son of Amenhotep III.
Mr. Hawass reiterated his refusal to allow DNA testing on Tut's remains, saying the science has a 40-per-cent chance for error when used on mummies.
"I believe these results will close the case of Tutankhamen, and the king will not need to be examined again," he said. "We cannot go again and open this mummy at all -- King Tut will rest forever."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

well, this is something interesting, how did he die then any other theories to this

Anonymous said...

yes he died from a broken leg havnt you ever been to school anonymous and it got infected which killed him

Anonymous said...

yes he died from a broken leg havnt you ever been to school anonymous and it got infected which killed him

Anonymous said...

Could any of you give a good web page for me to go on that has good info on King Tut?If you can just post on here I'll Get on and see. I really need a good webpage its for a project
Thanks:)

Anonymous said...

just so u know the thigh bone is as hard as concrete how could he have fractured it? it would have had to have been some thing rather heavy for that i believe that he was murdered by poison and it my have possibly been this wife that had done it.

Anonymous said...

there are so many web sites... go to www.google.com and type in any combinations u can about king tut u will get lots of stuff and if u can try band get national geographic magazine june 2005 its has a whole investigation about his face and how they have come to make it.... thats all i can tell u hope u can u use this info... ciao

Anonymous said...

what are the theories on tha parents of King Tut

Anonymous said...

Ancient History! Temora

Anonymous said...

well,i believe that someone killed him and they were someone close like his cousin or uncle. i think he died when he was sleping

Jaze said...

yea das cool

Anonymous said...

Wow! my class thought it was either from a hit to the ear or a diease well... wait to they hear about this! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I think that the blow from the back of his head happen during the mummification, the Egyptians who were mummifying him had probably dropped his body and may have hit his head, because there was no trace of bleeding around the blow. But i think someone murdered him because King Tut's wife Ankhespaton was the one who dispatched a message to Syrain monarch, asking him to send one of his sons to her following the death of King Tut. Now how did she know that King Tut was going to die. She must have been in the scheme of King Tut's murder.

Anonymous said...

Well my comment is above this comment but anyway I think someone killed him. I don't think he died from a broken leg, as i said already King Tut's wife killed him.

Anonymous said...

I argee, but she meant before king tut got murder not after.

Anonymous said...

Do you think you are ever going to find out what he looks like or how he died??

Anonymous said...

i do not think he died of a violent death.

Anonymous said...

can you leave present information about king Tut?<33

Anonymous said...

i went to this king tut exhibit thing and it said that they think his grandfather Ay (pronounced eye) killed him because he gave him advice when he first became a pharoah at the age of 9 and as he got older he began to reject him and after tut died his wife did not want to marry her grandfather because she was tuts half sister and so she sent for a nubian prince and he was assasinated on the way to marry her and after she married Ay she suddenly disappeared, so i think Ay killed Tut the Nubian prince and Tuts wife and i think he killed all of them to get to the throne......

it is pretty obvious from this information, isnt it??????

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Guinea pig girl said...

Well I think that king tut didnt die because of his leg. I think that he died because his grandpa wants to marry his wife. But his wife doesn't want to. So the grandpa didnt give him good advice and probably in his sleep he killed him. Or when he was giving something for him to drink he put poisin in the drink.

Guinea pig girl said...

i also think that maybe the wife had a scheme and did that.

Anonymous said...

Ankensenpaten (not amun, thank you) Tut's wife DID NOT kill Tutankamun..he was the last of her true Aten family and extremely beloved by her....but both her and Tut were very aware of the scheming of the Amun Priesthood behind both their murders...Tut and his wife were young pawns in a higher political game that got them both killed. Please stop flying accusations when you don't know the real story

Anonymous said...

So good topic really i like any post talking about Ancient Egypt but i want to say thing to u Ancient Egypt not that only ... you can see in Ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptian Godas and Goddess and more , you shall search in Google and Wikipedia about that .... thanks a gain ,,,

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