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Uncovering Tutankhamen’s Secrets: Five Unanswered Questions about the Boy-King


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Known as the “boy king,” Tutankhamen attracted worldwide attention for more than a century after his tomb was discovered in 1922.

It is believed that he was one of the youngest leaders in ancient Egyptian history, as he ascended the throne when he was only nine or ten years old.

The pharaoh was also 19 years old when he died over 3,300 years ago, and his burial site is in the world-famous Valley of the Kings.

However, Tutankhamun’s life is shrouded in mystery, and uncertainty looms over the cause of his death, the contents of his tomb, and even his iconic mask.

And while archaeologists continue to piece together his life, MailOnline has compiled a list of the five most baffling questions about the boy king.

How did Tutankhamen die?

Mystery has long surrounded the death of Tutankhamen, who died at the age of only 19.

Many speculate that the young pharaoh was killed and that the bump on his head indicated that he might have been hit from behind.

But in 2005, no evidence of this was found, as leading Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass stated that damage to his head did indeed occur during the mummification process.

It wasn’t until five years later that experts concluded that this ancient Egyptian leader may have actually died from a broken leg.

As part of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), the pharaoh’s mummy was X-rayed to determine the cause of his death.

Experts concluded that Tutankhamun was very fragile and suffered from a variety of diseases, including malaria, due to which the fracture of his injured leg could have been life-threatening.

It has also been said that Tutankhamen needed a cane, as he suffered from the painful Koehler’s disease, in addition to missing toes on his right foot.

The scientists added that fruits and seeds found in his grave also indicate that he was being treated.

What else can be found in Tutankhamun’s tomb?

It has been more than a century since archaeologist Howard Carter first discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb, which contained more than 5,000 treasures.

However, excavations continue to this day, as many believe that there are still many secrets in the tomb to be revealed.

Last year, archaeologist Dr. Nicholas Reeves suggested that Tutankhamun’s tomb was nothing more than a vestibule with a much larger structure.

He said that a large tomb could be hidden behind it, leading to the resting place of Tutankhamun’s stepmother, Queen Nefertiti.

Dr. Reeves told The Times: “The world’s greatest archaeological find has a lot to offer – perhaps something more impressive than Tutankhamun’s burial. I would guess that the most famous woman in the ancient world was also buried there.”

Considered the stepmother of Tutankhamen, Nefertiti ruled, according to some scholars, the richest period in ancient Egypt when the empire prospered, in the fourteenth century BC.

If this is true, then the items buried with Nefertiti will remain exactly the same as they have been since her burial.

This is different from the original excavations of Tutankhamun’s tomb, where more than half of the royal jewels were actually stolen.

However, it took Carter more than 10 years to document all the treasures that were buried with him.

Who else might be buried in Tutankhamun’s tomb?

Despite Dr. Reeves’s beliefs, some have previously suggested that Queen Nefertiti cannot be buried behind King Tut’s tomb.

In 2015, former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdou Eldamati suggested that the secret room could have belonged to the pharaoh’s mother, Queen Kia. Little is known about Queen Kia, but it is believed that she was one of the wives of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten.

The minister said that Nefertiti did indeed die after Tutankhamun came to power, and also stated that it was “ideal” for him to be buried with his mother, according to Ahram Online.

However, some doubt the existence of secret rooms, and experts argue that the radar scan used as evidence proves nothing.

And in 2016, the director of the Egyptian Museum, Frederick Seyfried, said that the suggestion that the queen is hidden in the room is just a hypothesis.

“The sudden death of the boy king prompted the tomb builders to quickly finish and seal the tomb, which is why the cavity was discovered,” she told Ahram Online.

As a result of these conflicting opinions, several international conferences dedicated to Tutankhamen are held annually to find out what really happened.

Seyfried’s ideas were ultimately backed up by a 2018 statement claiming “with a high degree of certainty” that, according to National Geographic, there was no hidden room.

A statement released on behalf of Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: “We conclude with a very high degree of certainty that the hypothesis of the existence of secret rooms adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by ground penetrating radar data.”

However, a new study of hieroglyphs has again opened the door to this mystery.

Since then, Dr. Reeves has reaffirmed that the chances that Nefertiti is behind King Tut’s tomb are now slightly higher than 50/50.

What happened to Tutankhamun’s wife?

Tutankhamun’s wife, Ankhesenamun, has long remained a mystery to scholars after she disappeared from records sometime between 1325 and 1321 BC.

But in 2010, experts came close to solving the case thanks to DNA tests carried out on mummies found in the Valley of the Kings.

It turned out that one of the bodies belonged to the mother of the twins found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, indicating that she was Ankhesenamun.

However, there were doubts about her identity, as scientists discovered that the other mummy was not her father, Akhenaten.

In another turn of events, Dr. Zahi Hawass discovered a new burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings in 2017 that could have belonged to Ankhesenamun instead.

Experts were brought to the site after discovering foundation deposits, caches of pottery, food remains, and other tools pointing to the existence of a burial chamber.

As a result, 100 Egyptian workers excavated the untouched Valley of the Kings, located near the tomb of Pharaoh Aya. And Ankhesenamun, married to Tutankhamun, married “Ai” after the sudden death of Tutankhamun.

Ay ruled immediately after Tutankhamun from 1327 to 1323 BC.

It is still unknown where her body is.

Was Tutankhamun’s mask made for him?

Tutankhamun’s famous golden funerary mask, one of the most famous artifacts, was expertly crafted by knocking two sheets of gold together.

But some say that it was not created for the boy-king, but for a woman.

And in 2016, Dr. Yasmine El-Shazli, an Egyptologist, stated that the gold death mask may have originally depicted the pharaoh before he was saddled on a mulberry tree.

The expert explained that the face was originally separated from the headgear before they were welded together.

This two-piece mask is different from the typical death masks of the pharaohs, which are usually made from one piece.

She also explained that the mask originally had pierced ears, which is unusual for a 3D depiction of a man.

“This indicates that the face itself did not originally belong to the rest of the headgear, but the headdress belonged to the woman,” she said.

On another occasion, El Shazly suggested that Tutankhamun’s tomb might not have been made for him because the room was also littered with female motifs.

For example, she claimed that the canopic canopies in the burial chamber were decorated with very feminine faces, which were different from the portraits of Tutankhamun.

But for now, the mystery remains.

Source: Daily Mail

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