discovered the the sarcophagus in February the following year.
Albert Zink, from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, deciphered the truth about the ruler’s parents by studying the royal family’s DNA.
He found that Tut was born after his father Akhenaten – dubbed the heretic king – had a relationship with his sister. Incest was not frowned upon by the ancient Egyptians and they did not know about the health implications for any offspring.
Hutan Ashrafian, a lecturer in surgery at Imperial College London, said that several members of the family appeared to have suffered from ailments which can be explained by hormonal imbalances. He said: ‘A lot of his family predecessors lived to a ripe old
TinEye Alert You can find this photo on TinEye.com, but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1. King Tut's Fifth Shrine, 3245 years old when it was discovered in 1922.
2. Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god entrusted with protecting the cemetery
3. Because of the dry, arid climate of Egypt and because Tut's tomb was sealed off, depleting the oxygen required for bacterial growth.
Comments from Our Readers
Searched "ancient door handle with rope, mayan". Of course, mayan was wrong, but it got me the answer as the top choice on google.
This was a very cool photo - I did a quick search on "mummy hand tomb entrance rope" and it came right up on RareHistoricalPhotos.com. I then got lost looking at more photos, and almost forgot to answer the quiz! :)
N.B. Thanks for the compliment. That's the sign of a good quiz! - Q. Gen.
This whole "ropes can last almost forever" bit blows me away. Thanks!
Thanks, Fearless Leader! When I first glanced at the photo of the rope, etc., my thought was that I was looking at some sort of dog bone! I have solved the quiz for this week - DEFINITELY NOT A DOG BONE!
This was an easy one. Guessing that it was Tut's tomb, googled "rope seal on king tut's tomb door", which let to rarhistoricalphotos.com with all the answers.
[The article at tiny.cc/8gx21x] is fascinating!!! We visited the exhibit when it came to New Orleans many years ago and I have always been enthralled in Egyptian history!
Elaine C Hebert
You really have to think about this. Here was a relatively obscure young man who died a few thousand years ago who became one of the most well-known figures of Egyptian history. - Q. Gen.
Yes, it is thought provoking that is for sure but life has always had its own agenda.
i think if this were my field - archeology - i would hate to disturb it, but would also be excited to be the first to make all the discoveries that awaited.
wasn't it "common" for egyptian royalty to have brother marry sister? perhaps this was the first proof of it (his parents) and that would be different. but Cleopatra married her brother, i think. and all that european royalty - at best marrying second cousins etc. i wonder if king Tut having all those physical differences made them "desireable" - or damaged his rep as deserving of ruling.
i'm impressed that he is so well known but lived such a short time.
It really is outstanding. I saw a Tut exhibit 10 years ago in Chicago. What fascinated me was the folding camp stool and a chair. They had very sophisticated joinery.
I just heard about the under sea discoveries in shallow water just off shore. Maybe that is where the Atlantis story came from!
Very, very fascinating, Fearless Leader! It is amazing what tests are available now that reveal so much about King Tut.
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The seal was actually a seal to the King Tut’s fifth shrine. The king was buried in a series of four sarcophagi, which were in turn kept inside a series of five shrines. That is the seal to the fifth shrine, so technically not a room at all. This unbroken seal stayed 3,245 years untouched. The late discovery of Tut’s tomb resulted from the fact that it was covered by debris from that of Ramesses IV which was located directly above its entrance. While the outermost shrine of the youthful pharaoh had been opened not once but twice in ancient times, the doors of the second of the huge shrines of gilded wood containing the royal sarcophagus still carried the necropolis
The bird hieroglyph was a giveaway and it clearly had to be the entrance to something Egyptian. I guessed King Tut's tomb first up but, thinking that was too obvious, decided on the more general google <egyptian tomb entrance>. And that was enough to get it. There is a stack of stuff out there about Tutankhamen's tomb and its discovery, all easy to find, so with a few exceptions I won't name the many sites. However, a particular favourite (that might interest others if not already found) is an online transcript of Howard Carter's actual diaries at www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/4sea1not.html
Now for something weird. I'm wondering how come you chose this subject this particular week. Coincidence or prescience? Because King Tut's tomb has been all over the news with regard to the possibility that it also contains the body of the beautiful Nerfertiti, thought to be his mother e.g., www.news.com.au/technology/science/-contain-hidden-passages
Now I know you are magic Colleen, but magic enough to know this before it broke??? Anyway, let me tell you how it broke for me. I had found your new puzzle the night before the story emerged, figured the basics and went to bed. A clock radio wakes us with morning news, and I roused next day with someone rabbitting on about Nefertiti and King Tut. Decided that my brain must have been ticking overtime on the quiz and that I was dreaming, so went back to sleep. You know the rest ... Megan Neilsen
N. B. It's really eerie how the universe is tracking the quizzes. It's almost like the powers that be wait to see what is posted, and then decide the direction history should take.
Scary isn't it?
- Q. Gen.
The REAL face of King Tut: Pharaoh had girlish hips, a club foot and buck teeth according to 'virtual autopsy' that also revealed his parents were brother and sister
* ‘Virtual autopsy’ composed of more than 2,000 computer scans carried out
* Genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family showed his parents were brother and sister
* Family history could also have led to his premature death in his late teens
* Various myths have him murdered or dying in chariot race
* Club foot would have made it impossible to take part in chariot racing
Discovered tomb under tomb of Ramses VI Investigated same & found seals intact.
It took the whole of the preceding day and most of this day to free this excavation before the upper margins of the staircase could be demarcated on its four sides. As first conjectured it proved to be an opening (about 4 ms x 1.60 ms) excavated in the bed-rock, with its W. end abutting against the rock slope of the small hillock in which Ramses VI had excavated his tomb. As the work proceeded we found that the western end of the cutting receded under the slope of the rock, and thus was partly roofed over by the overhanging rock.
Towards sunset we had cleared down to the level of the 12th step, which was sufficient to expose a large part of the upper portion of a plastered and sealed doorway. Here before us was sufficient evidence to show that it really was an entrance to a tomb, and by the seals, to all outward appearances that it was intact.
I examined this exposed portion of the sealed doorway and noticed that the only decipherable impressions of the seals were those of the well-known Royal Necropolis seal, i.e., Anubis (symbolizing a king) over nine foes.
With the evidence of these seals, and the fact that the workmen's huts, which in all probabilities dated from the time of the construction of Rameses VI's tomb, were built over the mouth of the entrance of this newly discovered tomb without apparently disturbing it, it was clear that its content would be undisturbed at least since the XXth Dyn.
The seal-impressions suggested that it belonged to somebody of high standing but at that time I had not found any indications as to whom.
I noticed at the top of the doorway, where some of the cement-like plaster had fallen away, a heavy wooden lintel. To assure myself of the method in which the doorway was blocked, I made a small hole under this wooden lintel - the R. hand corner, about 35 x 15 cms in size. By this hole I was able to perceive with the aid of an electrical torch that a passage beyond was completely filled with stones and rubble up to its ceiling, which was again evidence of something that had required careful closing. It was a thrilling moment for an excavator, quite alone save his native staff of workmen, to suddenly find himself, after so many years of toilsome work, on the verge of what looked like a magnificent discovery - an untouched tomb. With certain reluctance I reclosed the small hole that I had made, and returned to another careful search among the seals to see if I could not find some indication that would point to the identity of the owner, but it was of no avail for the small space bared by my excavation did not expose any impression sufficiently clear to be made out, other than that of the Royal Necropolis seal already mentioned.
Though I was satisfied that I was on the verge of perhaps a magnificent find, probably one of the missing tombs that I had been seeking for many years, I was much puzzled by the smallness of the opening in comparison with those of other royal tombs in the valley. Its design was certainly of the XVIIIth Dyn. Could it be the tomb of a noble, buried there by royal consent? Or was it a royal cache? As far as my investigations had gone there was absolutely nothing to tell me. Had I known that by digging a few inches deeper I would have exposed seal impressions showing Tut.ankh.Amen's insignia distinctly I would have fervently worked on and set my mind at rest, but as it was, it was getting late, the night had fast set in, the full moon had risen high in the eastern heavens, I refilled the excavation for protection, and with my men selected for the occasion - they like myself delighted beyond all expectation - I returned home and cabled to [Lord Carnavon] (then in England) the following message:-
"At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb with seals intact recovered same for your arrival congratulations "
seal which indicated the pharaoh’s mummy was untouched and intact.
The tomb of the boy-king was opened by the famous archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter in the early 20’s. The tomb contained treasure more spectacular than any previous discoveries. Shortly after Howard Carter removed the lid of the outermost shrine in Tutankhamun’s Burial Chamber, he discovered three more. Harry Burton photographed the ornately decorated doors of the second shrine while closed, their simple copper handles secured together tightly by a rope tied through them. The knotted cord was accompanied by a delicate clay seal featuring Anubis, the ancient Egyptians’ jackal god entrusted with the protection of the cemetery.
Even at the outset, Carter and his financier, Lord Carnarvon, knew that the tomb had been compromised, because of a re-plastered and sealed hole in the outer doorway (not on the fifth shrine). Furthermore, once they had entered the tomb, the disorganized state of the material, the damage sustained by several objects and the discernible lack of solid metalwork, bedding, glass, oils and unguents all suggested that the tomb had been robbed during antiquity.
The story goes that he also found an ancient clay tablet in the antechamber. When he later translated it, the inscription read: “Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs the peace of the pharaoh”. This would later became the famous “Curse of the Pharaohs”, which in fact is just a myth. The curse, which does not differentiate between thieves and archaeologists, allegedly can cause bad luck, illness or death.
Tutankhamen was a very inconsequential king while alive, however because they dug his tomb under existing tombs so robbers never found it, it became one of the most valuable archaeological finds. Because of its lower position in the Valley of the Kings, the tomb’s entrance was sealed by rocks and mud from flooding and the location was lost until Carter’s discovery. Tutankhamen was a relatively minor Pharaoh that seemingly died unexpectedly at a young age so whatever wealth he was buried with that archeologists uncovered was just a fraction of what it could of been, had he gone on to live a full life. So can you imagine the immense wealth that must have been buried with great Pharaohs such as Ramesses II.
How come the rope lasted 3200 years without falling apart? Rope is one of the fundamental human technologies. Archaeologists have found two-ply ropes going back 28,000 years. Egyptians were the first documented civilization to use specialized tools to make rope. One key why the rope lasted so long wasn’t the rope itself, it was the aridity of the air in the desert. It dries out and preserves things. Another key is oxygen deprivation. Tombs are sealed to the outside. Bacteria can break things down as long as
they have oxygen, but then they effectively suffocate. It’s not uncommon to find rope, wooden carvings, cloth, organic dyes, etc. in Egyptian pyramids and tombs that wouldn’t have survived elsewhere in the world. Egypt’s desert conditions made possible the preservation of far more organic material than would have otherwise been the case. This in contrast to, say, Maya sites in Central America which are far younger, but from which almost no organic material has been recovered. The main difference is jungle vs desert conditions.
With strong features cast in burnished gold, Tutankhamun’s burial mask projects an image of majestic beauty and royal power.
But in the flesh, King Tut had buck teeth, a club foot and girlish hips, according to the most detailed examination ever of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s remains. And rather than being a boy king with a love of chariot racing, Tut relied on walking sticks to get around during his rule in the 14th century BC, researchers said.
A ‘virtual autopsy’, composed of more than 2,000 computer scans, was carried out in tandem with a genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family, which supports evidence that his parents were brother and sister.
The scientists believe that this left him with physical impairments triggered by hormonal imbalances. And his family history could also have led to his premature death in his late teens.
Various myths suggest he was murdered or was involved in a chariot crash after fractures were found in his skull and other parts of his skeleton. Now scientists believe he may have died of an inherited illness because only one of the
breaks occurred before he died, while his club foot would have made chariot racing impossible.
In 1907, Lord Carnarvon George Herbert asked English archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter to supervise excavations in the Valley of the Kings.
On 4 November 1922, Carter's group found steps that led to Tutankhamun's tomb and spent several months cataloguing the antechamber.
They opened the burial chamber and
age. Only his immediate line were dying early, and they were dying earlier each generation.’
Egyptian radiologist Ashraf Selim: ‘The virtual autopsy shows the toes are divergent – in layman’s terms it’s club foot. He would have been heavily limping. ‘There is only one site where we can say a fracture happened before he died and that is the knee.’
Evidence of King Tut’s physical limitations were also backed up by 130 used walking canes found in his tomb.
Presenter Dallas Campbell, said: 'Trying to navigate through the intense speculation and politics that surround one of the most famous characters in history is both daunting and thrilling in equal measure.
'Foolhardy perhaps! But using solid science and a truly multi-disciplinary approach we’ ve finally been able to put to bed some of the myths and pre-conceived ideas that have surrounded his life and death, and hopefully add a new chapter that will ensure the Tutankhamun story continues to fascinate.'
Earlier this year, egyptologists from the American University in Cairo shed light on some of the bizarre burial rituals discovered in the tomb, including the fact the king’s penis was embalmed at a 90-degree angle – the only mummy to have ever been found with this feature.
They claimed that this may have been carried out on purpose to make the king appear like Osiris, the god of the underworld, in an attempt to frighten religious revolutionaries. At the time of his death in 1323 BC, the father of the teenage Egyptian king was said to be leading a religious revolution in the country.
It is believed Akhenaten wanted to destroy the belief in the Egyptian gods and instead worship a sun disc called the Aten.
Tutanhkhamun was trying to tackle this revolution when he was believed to have broken his leg and died from an infection in the wound. DNA analysis in 2010 also found traces of malaria in his system.
During mummification a decision was made to not only embalm the erect penis, but also to cover the king’s body in black liquid - similar in colour to the skin of Osiris - and remove his heart.
These rituals, according to Professor Salima Ikram from the university, were done in order to make people think Tutankhamun was the underworld god.