Who was the famous Tutankhamun? Without exaggeration, we can say that Tutankhamun became famous especially because of his death on the threshold of adulthood. But the actual cause of this death and its course are still shrouded in mystery. Tutankhamun was the last descendant of the famous Thutmose family. His greandfather was Amenhotep III. and his father was renowned religious reformer Amenhotep IV. Akhenaten.
Tutankhamun lived around the years 1,359 – 1,342 BC and married his half-sister Ankhesenamun (daughter of admired Nefertiti). He lived to the age of around 19 years and is known for not having done anything significant that would be remembered in history. Or...
Important political and religious changes took place at the time of Tutankhamun’s reign that should normalize conditions in the country. After Smenkhkare (which could be other possible name for Nefertiti on the top of the power and ruling over the whole country) Tutankhamun was the second ruler, who diverged significantly from the monotheistic religion of his father and moved the capital in Memphis (Mennefer) near today’s Cairo.
Also thanks to his "insignificance" probably escaped the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun robbers’ notice. Its entrance was covered with debris soon after its finishing and the craftsmen working on the tomb of Ramesses IV built their dwellings on it. So the ruler’s mummy lay untouched in its tomb since the end of February or the first half of March 1342.
Examination of Tutankhamun’s mummy
How could we know the date of Tutankhamun’s death so exactly? The dating to exact season was allowed by the funeral wreath left on his chest, probably by Tutankhamun’s wife herself. The tomb was already discovered in November 1922, but the first phase of exploration began in November 1925, when Douglas Deny officially started with anthropological research of the King’s mummy. This considerable time delay was caused by nearly three years of careful documentation and clearing of ruler’s funerary equipment.
The research of the mummy lasted till October of the next year, when it was laid back into the tomb. It lies on the place of its burial to this day and can be seen there. But none of Carter’s contemporaries could think that there were some „mistakes“ during the „scientific“ examination of the mummy. The head of the ruler was separated from the body, as well as limbs, arms and legs. They were subsequently connected to the crippled body with resin. This state was masked by a layer of fire sand and canvas by the re-burial of the mummy.
Carter’s inhuman treatment of the Tutankhamun’s mummy
The mummy wasn’t examined again till 1968 and both Carter and Carnarvon were already death at that time. In 1968 R. G. Harrison, a professor of anatomy from Liverpool, came with his team to carry out the X-ray examination of the mummy. As a result they revealed Carter’s treatment of the mummy and many details of the 1925 – 1926. The limbs were non-reverently torn off in joints at that time. The feet were separated as well as the hands in wrists and both the vertebral connection and pelvis were also separated.
Even worse, the work of the French physician Maurice Bucaille revealed another fact in 1990. The King’s mummy was covered with hardened resin and famous golden mask was attached to mummified face in the same way. Carter tried to melt down these substances and exposed the mummy to direct sunlight on 1st and 2nd November 1925. The temperatures reached 65°C in these days. However, this method didn’t work as expected and caused further damage of the mummy.