King Tutankhamen (King Tut) was one of the lesser-known Egyptian pharaohs – his ticket to fame was due to the diligent and persistent drive of archeologist Howard Carter. While working for Lord Carnarvon, Mr. Carter uncovered many objects from the pyramids in the Valley of the Kings. These finds encouraged his theory that there was another tomb still left to uncover. In 1922, Carter found a sign – a step that had been cut into the rock. After sending him a telegraph, Lord Carnarvon arrived at the sight and then broke the seal of the tomb. With a candle in his hand, Carter felt the warm air rushing out of a tomb that had been closed for some 3,300 years! As they explored the tomb and the burial chamber, they found a golden coffin within a coffin, and, inside, the now-famous gold head mask of King Tut. The tomb was a treasure chest of articles, and the hieroglyphs on the walls depicted King Tut as a brave warrior, charioteer and hunter. After examination of the mummy, it was conjectured that his death may have been foul play, but in those early days they only had x-rays to examine the mummy. Eight decades later, King Tut was removed from his sarcophagus, given CT scans, and DNA was removed from his bones (and also the bones of his relatives). From these tests, scientists were able to uncover some interesting facts. It was not uncommon for the royals to be interbred between sister and brother to keep the bloodline pure, but as we know today, inbreeding is not the best way to prorogate the species. So, was King Tut a hunter, warrior and charioteer that met his demise from foul play? No. He was a weak and frail teenager (19 years old) with a deformed left foot caused by necrosis – who probably even needed a cane to walk. He also had multiple strains of parasitic malaria, with one of the strains being the most virile and deadly. So, with the inbreeding, necrosis in the foot and virile malaria, his immune system was repressed and death followed. Through all of the myths, conjectures and legends, modern medicine was able to delve into the medical history of a 3,300 year old body and lay out the real facts – THAT is amazing!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.