Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s death - part 2

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

So what were the conclusions of Harrison? Unfortunately there is no official report with detailed information about the results of his research. However, during the analysis of the mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamun turned out that blood clots were discovered inside the skull, on the bottom of it. These could be a result of a hematoma between meninges. Notable was the fact that the clot was covered with a calcified layer.

It indicates that in case of fatal injury the ruler would be still alive for relatively long time and would be dying very slowly. Also Egyptian sources would support this hypothesis. Tutankhamun’s successor on the throne, Ay, began to use the royal title even if Tutankhamun was still alive. What were his reasons for doing so?

Was Tutankhamun murdered?

TutankhamunWe can hardly imagine the young ruler thinking of death and establishing a non-royal person as his successor and co-ruler. Tutankhamun and his wife undoubtedly intended to have their own children, as evidenced by early deceased girls of the married couple, who were buried together with the king in his tomb. If this interpretation was correct, Tutankhamun would have to be seriously injured, so that we can almost rule out natural causes.

The wound had to be at the lower part of the skull behind the point where the skull is connected to cervical vertebrae. Such a strike could be done preferably during the ruler’s sleep. So did Tutankhamun died because of an injury in his sleep, done by someone who was able to penetrate up to his bedroom?

Some researchers do not rule this possibility out even today. Just for reminder – Tutankhamun’s father Akhetaten was a great religious reformer, who spread the cult of the sun God Aten, whom he declared for the only God, creator of the world and the „father of all nations“. So the first monotheism came into existence. Akhenaten was very consistent, so he let close all the temples of other Gods and fatally affected the Egyptian social order. Furthermore he abolished privileges, status and income of many priests of Egyptian Gods, especially the god Amun in Thebes (Waset), today's Luxor.

This is probably the thing that cost Akhenaten his life about twenty years after his coming to the throne. The death of this man, who had never left the city established by him - Amarna (called Akhetaten in Egyptian, „Aten’s horizon“), represents one of the big puzzles in Egyptology up to these days. Also his son had similar fate. According to a part of his funeral equipment, Tutankhamun probably didn’t yield to the pressure of his surroundings and didn’t completely remove the cult of the hated sud God Aten. Because of that he could be a thorn in Amun’s priests side, who got to power again.

<h2">Last exploring excludes violent death of Tutankhamun

The top of Tutankhamun’s remains examining was a research carried out in early 2005. In March 2005 the team of international CT scan experts completed the research of ruler Tutankhamun’s mummy. Their results of CT scanning perhaps definitely helped to disprove the theories, that the ruler was killed violently with a blunt object hit to the skull, maybe by the competing candidates for coming to the throne (Ay and Horemheb)

The basis for this hypothesis was a tiny fragment of skull bone found inside his skull. CT scanning of the mummy enabled to get up to 1,700 images of the body including cuts, which wouldn’t have been possible without the use of this non-destructive technique. Interpretation of the images perhaps definitively exclude the violent death and proved that the bone fragment came into the cranial cavity during mummification, when hot resin was poured into the skull. However, the blood clot at the bottom of the skull remained unexplained. New researches also indicated that the ruler could break his thigh bone seriously a few days before his death and die because of concomitant infection.

Even if further little step was made to learning of possible causes of this ruler’s death, another surprises are not excluded in the future. One of other explanations we can see in results of the aforementioned research of the mummy in 1968. It was discovered that the sternum and several thoracic vertebrae were missing in the mummy of the ruler. They had to be removed already during the mummification shortly after his death. It was certainly an unusual measure, which wasn’t related to the mummification. So what was the reason?

A possible answer suggests itself. Tutankhamun could die because of a serious injury of the rib cage, for example by hunting in a hunting carriage in the desert. His fancy for hunting is proved in many depictions on the items of his funerary equipment. Was it really so? The hypothesis of a non-violent death could be also confirmed by the fact discovered during the mummy’s examination in 2005. The doctors noticed an unhealed wound above the left knee, through which the infection could penetrate into the body. Such an injury could also be a result of a fall from a hunting carriage.

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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