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Pharaohs

Tutankhamun

the boy pharaoh

Photos of Tutankhamun's treasures

Replicas of the treasures

Tutankhamun's mask

Who was Tutankhamun?

Tutankhamun was a young pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. He was the son of the famous pharaoh Akhenaten, who tried to make Aten the main god of Egypt, instead of Amun. His mother was probably a royal lady called Kiya.

Tut ruled from around 1334 to 1325BC - about ten years. He was about 19 when he died. He was then buried in the Valley of the Kings, in a small tomb.

Latest news about Tut!

Sept 2007 - New objects found in Tut's tomb! Click here for more info

Nov 2007 - Tutankhamun has been taken out of his gold coffin and his actual mummified body can be seen in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Click here for more info.

Feb 2010 - DNA analysis of Tutankhamun and other mummies - his father, Akhenaten, and his mother, were brother and sister. Click here for more info.

Tutankhamun's sold gold coffin - the middle of three coffins. It contained 110kg of gold and showed the pharaoh holding the crook and flail, the symbols of Osiris, ruler of the dead.

Click picture for larger version.

How did Tutankhamun die?

1968 - Tutankhamun's mummy was X-rayed. Some people thought they saw a wound in the back of the skull, and believed he might have been murdered. The main suspect was Ay, the high priest of Egypt and a very powerful man. He was the next pharaoh, so one idea was that he had Tut bumped off so he could rule Egypt himself.

2005 - Once again scientists had a look at Tut's mummy, but this time they did a CT scan, which is much more sophisticated than an X-ray. The CT scan revealed that there was no evidence at all that Tutankhamun had been murdered. Instead they saw a break in his left thighbone (and some other injuries). One theory is that he broke his leg in a fall and the wound got infected. The infection might then have killed him. But the truth is we don't know for sure how Tut died. Click here for more info on the CT scan.

2010 - the latest news shows that Tutankhamun had a malaria infection and a club foot. He was a weak teenager and it is perhaps not surprising he died young, after his accident at the age of 18. Click here for more info.

Why is Tut so famous?

Tutankhamun was not one of the more important pharaohs, but he is the most famous nowadays. Why?

Howard Carter was an English archaeologist. In 1917 he was exploring the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Nearly all the tombs of pharaohs had been found completely empty - everything had been stolen by the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago. But Howard Carter believed that the tomb of Tutankhamun had not yet been found. And he was right.

Tut's tomb

In 1922, after 5 years of digging, Carter found the tomb of Tutankhamun. When he first poked a hole through the blocked up doorway and saw what was inside, his colleague asked him if he could see anything, and he replied 'yes, wonderful things.'

Tut's tomb is still the most amazing discovery in the history of archaeology. It was filled with incredible treasures - beautiful works of art made out of gold, ivory, wood, and semi-precious stones. Below is a photo of what the tomb looked like.

The Treasures

The tomb had been robbed twice, but not much had been taken. There were all sorts of things - statues, like the one above showing Tut spearing a hippo in the marshes, jewellery, furniture, weapons and tools, vases and bowls, clothes, food, incense, and of course Tut's mummy.

The mummy was wrapped in linen. On its head was the famous gold mask (see above). On the mummy were 143 pieces of jewellery, including the vulture pectoral and the scarab pectoral. It was inside three coffins, one of them made of solid gold (see photo above) - today the gold in that coffin alone is worth over a million pounds. Outside of that was a stone sarcophagus, beautifully carved, and then four wooden shrines covered in gold.

In fact there was so much stuff in Tut's tomb it took Carter 15 years to get it all out!

You can now see the treasures in the Cairo Museum. A few are shown below.

Click here for more photos of Tutankhamun's treasures

Click here to see replicas made for a special exhibition in Manchester from Oct 2010 to  Feb 2011

Tut's earrings The back of Tut's throne - made of thousands of tiny pieces of stone and glass inlaid in gold

 

Boat made of calcite with oryx heads

What did Tutankhamun look like?

There are many pictures and statues of Tutankhamun which give us an idea of what he looks like. The gold mask is the most famous of these. But Egyptian artists tended to make people look more beautiful than they really were. So what did Tut really look like?

The Reconstruction

After the CT Scan of Tut's mummy (see above), very clever scientists and artists managed to work out what Tut would have looked like when he was alive. The picture left shows the model made by French scientists of the boy king's head. Do you think he looks like his mask and statues?

Where is Tutankhamun today?
Nowadays Tutankhamun can be seen in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, kjnown as KV62. The photo to the right shows his mummy. Will you look as good as this in 3,300 years?

Are there any more pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings?
At least 24 pharaohs were buried there - Tutankhamun was the last discovered. Many of the mummies of these pharaohs can now be seen in the Cairo museum - including Rameses II, Hatshepsut, and Thutmose III.

Recently however, scans of the ground have revealed there are more tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They have not been excavated yet - so who knows what else may be hidden under those dry stones?

 

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