Tutankhamun (1334-1325 B.C.)

King Tutankhamun was the twelfth pharaoh of Egypt during the Eighteenth dynasty of the New Kingdom (the golden age of ancient Egypt and the age of the power). The exact dates of his reign are still disputed today. The dates range from 1361 B.C.E.1 to 1333 B.C.E.2 He became Pharaoh at a very young age. Many historians believe he was between eight and ten years old when he was crowned. Even though he was quite young at that time, he accomplished much in the Egyptian Empire. As early as the third year of his rule, he lifted a ban that prevented the Egyptian people from worshiping the religion of Amun. In accordance with this, he also had the Amun temples reopened and rebuilt. King Tut is personally credited for the construction of two large temples in Karnak and Luxor. With Tutankhamun being very young during these decisions, it is generally understood that he was most likely acting on influences from his advisors, Ay and Horemheb.

While planning the construction of the temples, Tutankhamun married a young lady, believed to be his step-sister, by the name of Ankhesenpaaten. He and Ankhesenpaaten had two daughters who were both still born. After ruling until he was nearing his 20s, He died suddenly. Being that his death took place over 3000 years ago, it is impossible to tell with pure certainty how it happened. There are, however, a number of clues in his tomb and elsewhere in Egypt that give insight into the events that led up to his death. The king did not die by any accident or illness—he was murdered.

In fact, much more is known about Tutankhamun’s death than his life. After burial in his tomb, the king remained undisturbed for well over 3000 years. In stark difference to other Pharaoh tombs, His tomb was not opened and looted, which allowed perfect preservation up to February 16, 1923, when Howard Carter presented the great Service to the science by broke the last seal to the tomb.

Dr. Carter had been working for Lord Carnarvon, a wealthy Egyptian artifact collector. After finding several clues about the existence of King Tutankhamun, Carter began to search for his tomb. Carter started his search for this little-known pharaoh in 1915. After working for over 6 years trying to find the tomb, Lord Carnavron became frustrated and told Carter to find the tomb in one more season or he would stop the funding of Carter’s excavations. Luckily Carter succeeded, and in late 1922 found the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb.

While going throughout the tomb, Dr. Carter meticulously cataloged and photographed everything. Many of the items in The king’s tomb were priceless artifacts. There were countless items and many precious gems. The history evidence of the items far exceeded the monetary value of them. There were ancient Egyptian items that were over 3000 years old. Among some of the more historically significant items were the very large number of writings that were on the walls. These hieroglyphics mainly showed the king Tut in the after life. The Egyptians believed that their pharaohs would become gods after their death and go to live with the king of the gods, Ra. Of even greater interest were some hieroglyphics that revealed more about the king.

For example, among the writing is one which says that he was “a king’s son”. Although not specific as to which king, this is some evidence as to the parentage of King Tut. It helps to give perspective as to how Tutankhamun became the king. Many historians speculate that he was the son of King Amenhotep III due to the time of Amenhotep’s reign and also some pictures that appear to depict him on the burial chamber walls. His mother is still a mystery to many. No images were found that would depict who his mother could be. Amenhotep’s wife during his rule was the very popular Tiye. If she was Tut’s mother, she would have been mentioned considerably inside his tomb because during her reign as the Queen of Egypt, she was very popular among her people. Much is speculated to his parentage due to the fact that not much information survived during this time period. His father was definitely a pharaoh, but that could range from Amenhotep III to his son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten). Right next to the various hieroglyphs displayed along the walls of his tomb was a discover of the greatest archeological discoveries ever to be found, his coffin.

His coffin was found completely intact and unopened. It was the first time that a coffin of a Pharaoh had been found unopened. Tutankhamun’s coffin was actually made up of many different layers. The first layer was a 9 foot long quartzite sarcophagus. This cover weighed over a ton and was meant to help protect the contents of the coffin. The second layer was an image of the king with colored stones. Inside this second coffin was a third that was made out of a red linen shroud and covered with flowers. The flowers, although far dead and dry, indicate that the king was buried during the spring time when the flowers would have been available. The final coffin of the king was even better than the first three. It was made from pure 22-caret gold weighing almost 300 pounds carved into a likeness of The king. Inside that coffin was his perfectly mummified corpse.

Tomb of Tutankhamun

Tomb of Tutankhamun

By the great discover x-ray: After the corpse was examined by professionals, an x-ray was taken. This was done in order to help figure out how Tut had died. He was quite young at the time of his death and Carter was quite interested in the cause of it. The results of that helped put some of the mystery to rest: King Tut had been murdered. There was evidence that he suffered a blow to the back of his head. After reviewing the results, a trauma specialist said, “The blow was to a protected area at the back of the head which [one doesn’t] injure in an accident, someone had to sneak up from behind.”10 The testimony of the trauma specialist gives a clear indication that the injury could not have happened from his falling on the ground. It was not accident like some historians had begun to believe. The injury had to have been from a specific blow to his head coming from someone behind him. Another thing that the test of the rays pointed out was a thickening of a specific bone in his cranium which only occurs after a build-up of blood in the brain: a subdural hematoma.

Although that had answered many questions about the death of The king, it has recently come under scrutiny due to a Computed Tomographic scan of his body that occurred on March 8, 2005. A CT scan is a machine that takes thousands of ray x of a single object and combines them to give a three-dimensional view of the entire bone structure. Tut’s scan was done in conjunction with 5 other Egyptian mummies done by the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. The scans were performed to help with an exhibit being made in the museum about how mummies died. Tut’s CT scan showed no evidence of the head trauma, but it highlighted that The knig had a fractured thighbone. Although the scan does not show evidence for the previous trial results, it does show that The king still most likely died from an injury. The only conclusion that can be drawn from looking at the results from both the ray and CT scans is that he died from an unnatural cause. Current-day technology power simply adds more mystery to the cause of his death.

King Tut DNA:

The 2 year study was the first to apply advanced radiological and genetic testing techniques on mummies, in the first place believed impossible ascribable their age and the techniques applied to carry on the bodies. The team of Egyptian and extraneous scientists chaired by Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, distilled DNA from the bones of 11 ancient Egyptian mummies and published their determinations in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wed.

“This is the 1st time someone did something alike this with pharaohnic DNA,” tells Carsten Pusch assort professor at the Institute of Human Genetics (at the University of TĂĽbingen in Germany), who acted on the study. “We have displayed it's conceivable to work with the DNA of mummies and at once we have afforded a new door. Behindhand the door, there’s a new cosmos awaiting for us.”

Tutankhamun wearing his blue crown:

The blue crown of king Tut

This head is a fragment from a statue group that represented the god Amun, seated on a throne, and Tutankhamun (TOOT-ahnk-ah-mun) standing or kneeling in front of him, king and god facing in the same direction. The king’s figure was considerably smaller than that of the god, indicating his subordinate status in the presence of the deity. All that remains of Amun is his right hand, which touches the back of the king’s crown in a gesture that signifies Tutankhamun’s investiture as king. During coronation rituals various types of crowns were put on the king’s head. The type represented here-probably a leather helmet with metal disks sewn onto it was generally painted blue, hence the Egyptologist’s term “blue crown” The ancient name was khepresh.

The statue group this fragment comes from must have been commissioned when Egypt returned to the worship of the traditional gods after the death of Akhenaten. Tutankhamun, whose name during the Amarna era had been TutankhatenĂ‘the living (ankh) image (tut) of Aten must have been educated in the sole worship of the Aten (sun disk, light), but he headed the return to orthodoxy. Since representations of deities had been widely destroyed during the Amarna period, it became necessary to dedicate a host of new deity statues in the temples of Egypt when the country returned to its old gods. The extremely hard “indurated” limestone was among the favorite materials for such statues.

Statue groups showing a king together with gods had been created since the Old Kingdom (visitors to the Museum can also see the group of King Sahure, acc. no. 18.2.4), and formal groups relating to the pharaoh’s coronation were dedicated at Karnak by Queen Hatshepsut and other kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The Metropolitan’s head of Tutankhamun with the hand of Amun is special because of the intimacy with which the subject is treated. The face of the king expresses a touching youthful earnestness, and the hand of the god is raised toward his crown with gentle care. Images as charged with sentiment as this were possible only under the influence of the art of the Amarna period.

The tomb Tutankhamun (KV62) at the valley of the kings. The tourist can travel in Luxor tour to visit the valley of the kings by plan or by train.

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