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Tutankhamen, Tutankhaten, Tutankhamon[1] possibly Nibhurrereya (as referenced in the Amarna letters)
Mask of Tutankhamun's mummy, the popular icon for ancient Egypt at The Egyptian Museum. It said, by professionals, to be worth nearly as much as the Crown jewels.
Mask of Tutankhamun's mummy, the popular icon for ancient Egypt at The Egyptian Museum. It said, by professionals, to be worth nearly as much as the Crown jewels.
Pharaoh of Egypt
Reign 1333–1324 BC,  18th Dynasty
Predecessor Smenkhkare? or Neferneferuaten?
Successor Ay
Consort(s) Ankhesenamen
Children 2 possibly, both female, names unknown
Father Akhenaten[2]
Mother unidentified mummy, "The Younger Lady"
Born 1341 BC
Died 1323 BC
Burial KV62

Tutankhamun (alternately spelled with Tutenkh-, -amen, -amon), Egyptian twt-ˁnḫ-ı͗mn; tVwa:t-ʕa:nəx-ʔaˡma:n (1341 BC – 1323 BC) was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (ruled 1333 BC – 1324 BC in the conventional chronology), during the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom. His original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten", while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun." In hieroglyphs the name Tutankhamun was typically written Amen-tut-ankh, because of a scribal custom that placed a divine name at the beginning of a phrase to show appropriate reverence.[3] He is possibly also the Nibhurrereya of the Amarna letters. He was likely the 18th dynasty king 'Rathotis' who, according to Manetho, an ancient historian, had reigned for nine years — a figure which conforms with Flavius Josephus's version of Manetho's Epitome.[4]

The 1922 discovery by Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's intact tomb received worldwide press coverage. It sparked a renewed public interest in ancient Egypt, for which Tutankhamun's burial mask remains the popular symbol. Exhibits of artifacts from his tomb have toured the world. In February 2010, the results of DNA tests confirmed that Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten (mummy KV55) and his sister/wife (mummy KV35YL), whose name is unknown but whose remains are positively identified as "The Younger Lady" mummy found in KV35.[5]




Tutankhamun receives flowers from Ankhesenamen

Tutankhamun was nine years old when he became pharaoh and reigned for approximately ten years. In historical terms, Tutankhamun's significance stems from his rejection of the radical religious innovations introduced by his predecessor and father, Akhenaten.[6] Secondly, his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was discovered by Carter almost completely intact — the most complete ancient Egyptian royal tomb ever found. As Tutankhamun began his reign at such an early age, his vizier and eventual successor Ay was probably making most of the important political decisions during Tutankhamun's reign.

Tutankhamun was one of the few kings worshiped as a god and honored with a cult-like following in his own lifetime.[7] A stela discovered at Karnak and dedicated to Amun-Re and Tutankhamun indicates that the king could be appealed to in his deified state for forgiveness and to free the petitioner from an ailment caused by wrongdoing. Temples of his cult were built as far away as in Kawa and Faras in Nubia. The title of the sister of the Viceroy of Kush included a reference to the deified king, indicative of the universality of his cult.[8]


Tutankhamun's most probable lineage based on recent genetic tests; names provided where known, along with the tomb location in which they were found

After years of speculation, an extensive DNA analysis publicized in February 2010 confirmed that Tutankhamun was the biological son of Akhenaten (formerly Amenhotep IV) and the mummy known as The Younger Lady who was found in KV35, and who was also a biological sister of Akhenaten, and is likely to have been either Nebetah or Beketaten.[9] His grandfather was the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and Queen Tiye has also been shown to be his grandmother, who in turn was the daughter of the nobleman Yuya and his wife, Thuya.[9]

Previously, speculations about Tutankhamun's parents were abundant because of the piecemeal evidence available before DNA testing. Tutankhamun had been thought to be the son of his grandparents, Amenhotep III and his Great Royal Wife, Queen Tiye. Others claimed that he may have been a son of Amenhotep III, although not by Queen Tiye since she would have been around 50 at the time of his birth. Professor James Allen argued that Tutankhamun was more likely to be a son of the short-lived king Smenkhkare rather than Akhenaten.[10][11]

One common theory not eliminated now is that Tutankhamun's mother was Kiya, a minor wife of Akhenaten. Queen Kiya's title was "Greatly Beloved Wife of Akhenaten," and images in Akhenaten's Amarna tomb show a royal fan bearer standing next to Kiya's death bed, fanning someone who may be a princess. Researchers also thought the figure was a wet nurse holding a baby, considered to be the boy king-to-be.

More evidence of the incestuous nature of Egyptian royal marriages was discovered when Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced the recovery of a part of a limestone block depicting Tutankhamun and his wife, Ankhesenamen, along with text. These identify both Tutankhamun and his wife, Ankhesenpaaten, as "children of the king's body" or the biological son and daughter of Akhenaten.


Cartouches of his birth and throne names are displayed between rampant Sekhmet lioness warrior images (perhaps with his head) crushing enemies of several ethnicities, while Nekhbet flies protectively above

Given his age, the king must have had very powerful advisors, presumably including General Horemheb, the Vizier Ay and Maya the "Overseer of the Treasury". Horemheb records that the king appointed him lord of the land as hereditary prince to maintain law. He also noted his ability to calm the young king when his temper flared.[12]

In his third regnal year, the king changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun. Akhenaten's Amarna revolution (Atenism) was now reversed. Akhenaten had attempted to supplant the traditional priesthood and deities with a god, Aten, who until then was considered minor. The ban on the old pantheon of deities and their temples was lifted. The traditional privileges were restored to their priesthoods, and the capital was moved back to Thebes with the city of Akhenaten abandoned.[13]

The "Restoration Stela" erected in the temple at Karnak expresses the pharaoh's thoughts of the changes brought about by Ahkenaten and the reasons for his reversals:

The temples of the gods and goddesses ... were in ruins. Their shrines were deserted and overgrown. Their sanctuaries were as non-existent and their courts were used as roads ... the gods turned their backs upon this land ... If anyone made a prayer to a god for advice he would never respond – and the same applied to a goddess.[14]

As part of his restoration, the king initiated building projects, in particular at Thebes and Karnak, where he dedicated a temple to Amun. Many monuments were erected, and an inscription on his tomb door declares the king had "spent his life in fashioning the images of the gods". The traditional festivals were now celebrated again, including those related to the Apis Bull, Horemakhet and Opet. His restoration stela says:

"Now the gods and goddesses of the land are rejoicing in their hearts...the provinces all rejoice and celebrate throughout this whole land because good has come back into existence."[15]

Pendant from Tutankhamun's tomb

The country was economically weak and in turmoil following the reign of Akhenaten. Diplomatic relations with other kingdoms had been neglected, and Tutankhamun sought to restore them, in particular with the Mitanni. Evidence of his success is suggested by the gifts from various countries found in his tomb. Despite his efforts for improved relations, battles with Nubians and Asiatics were recorded in his mortuary temple at Thebes. His tomb contained body armour and folding stools appropriate for military campaigns. However, given his youth and physical disabilities, which seemed to require the use of a cane in order to walk, historians speculate that he did not take part personally in these battles.[16][5]

When he became king, he married Ankhesenepatan, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun. They had no surviving offspring. The king's tomb contained two female fetuses interred in small coffins, but inscriptions give them no names other than "Osiris," a reference to rebirth in the next life.[17] The 2010 DNA study confirmed that these stillborn girls were biological children of Tutanhkamun, and that their mother most likely corresponds to a badly preserved female mummy ("KV21A") discovered in KV21.[5]


Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb that was small relative to his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, so that his mummy was buried in a tomb intended for someone else, perhaps Ay. This would preserve the observance of the customary seventy days between death and burial.[18]


This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.
Horus name
t G43 t F31 s t G43 Z3
Kanakht Tutmesut
The strong bull, pleasing of birth
Nebti name
nfr O4
G43 M40 Z3 s W11
V28 D36

wr aH pr Z1 i mn
𓅒𓄤𓉔𓊪𓅱𓇩𓏪𓋴𓎼𓂋𓎛𓂝𓇿𓇿𓈅𓈅𓅨𓉥𓉐𓏤𓇋𓏠 [nnb] 𓂋𓇥𓂋𓀯
Neferhepusegerehtawy Werahamun Nebrdjer
One of perfect laws, who pacifies the two lands; Great of the palace of Amun; Lord of all[19]
Golden Horus name
U39 N28
O34 R4
t p
R8A HqA q
mAat s

t p
R8A w T
U39 xa
i t

C2 U39 xa
Wetjeskhausehetepnetjeru Heqamaatsehetepnetjeru Wetjeskhauitefre Wetjeskhautjestawyim
Who wears crowns and pleases the gods; Ruler of Truth, who pleases the gods; Who wears the crowns of his father, Re; Who wears crowns, and binds the two lands therein
M23 L2
Hiero Ca1.svg
N5 L1 Z2
Hiero Ca2.svg
𓇓𓆤 𓍹𓇳𓆣𓏥𓎟𓍺
Lord of the forms of Re
Son of Re
G39 N5
Hiero Ca1.svg
i mn
t G43 t S34 HqA iwn Sma
Hiero Ca2.svg
𓅭𓇳 𓍹𓇋𓏠𓈖𓏏𓅱𓏏𓋹𓋾𓉺𓇗𓍺
Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema
Living Image of Amun, ruler of Upper Heliopolis

He is depicted only once as a prince, on a block from Hermopolis, where he is called Tutankhwaten (twt-ˁnḫw-ỉtn).[20] By the time of his enthronment, he was known as Tutankhaten (twt-ˁnḫ-ỉtn), which in Egyptian hieroglyphs is:

i t


At the reintroduction of traditional religious practice, his name changed. It is transliterated as twt-ˁnḫ-ỉmn ḥq3-ỉwnw-šmˁ, and often realized as Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema, meaning "Living image of Amun, ruler of Upper Heliopolis". On his ascension to the throne, Tutankhamun took a praenomen. This is translated as nb-ḫprw-rˁ, and realized as Nebkheperure, meaning "Lord of the forms of Re". The name Nibhurrereya in the Amarna letters may be a variation of this praenomen.

Cause of death

X-rays of Tutankhamun's skull. The medical instrument points to the location of the possible injury at the base of his skull

The cause of Tutankhamun's death was unclear, and was the root of much speculation. In early 2005 the results of a set of CT scans on the mummy were released.

British archaeologist Howard Carter's team initially examined the body in the early 1920s, although they primarily were interested in recovering the jewelry and amulets from the body. To remove these objects from the body, which often were stuck fast by the hardened embalming resins used, Carter's team cut up the mummy into various pieces: the arms and legs were detached, the torso cut in half and the head was severed. Hot knives were used to remove it from the golden mask to which it was cemented by resin.

Since 1926, the mummy has been X-rayed three times: first in 1968 by a group from the University of Liverpool led by Dr. R. G. Harrison, then in 1978 by a group from the University of Michigan, and finally in 2005 a team of Egyptian scientists led by Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass, who conducted a CT scan on the mummy.

X-rays of Tutankhamun's mummy, taken in 1968, revealed a dense spot at the lower back of the skull interpreted as a subdural hematoma. Such an injury could have been the result of an accident, but it has also been suggested that the young pharaoh was murdered.[21] A trauma specialist from Long Island University at C. W. Post Campus insisted that this injury could not have been from a natural cause. The specialist stated that the blow was to a protected area at the back of the head which is not easily injured in an accident.[22][23] Theories as to who was responsible for the death include Tutankhamun's immediate successor Ay, his wife, and his chariot-driver.[23] Calcification within the supposed injury indicates that Tutankhamun lived for a fairly extensive period of time (on the order of several months) after the injury was inflicted.[23]

Scientists discovered a small, loose, sliver of bone within the upper cranial cavity, which was discovered from the same X-ray analysis. In fact, since Tutankhamun's brain was removed post mortem in the mummification process, and considerable quantities of now-hardened resin introduced into the skull on at least two separate occasions after that, had the fragment resulted from a pre-mortem injury, some scholars, including the 2005 CT scan team, say it almost certainly would not still be loose in the cranial cavity. But other scientists suggested that the loose sliver of bone was loosened by the embalmers during mummification, but it had been broken before. A blow to the back of the head (from a fall or an actual blow) caused the brain to move forward, hitting the front of the skull, breaking small pieces of the bone right above the eyes.[22]

In February 2010, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the 19-year-old may well have died of complications from malaria, combined with a rare bone disorder affecting the foot called Kohler disease II, a disease typically affecting boys aged 5-9 caused when the navicular bone temporarily loses its blood supply. As a result, tissue in the bone dies and the bone collapses, producing symptoms of a club foot. He also had a curvature of the spine.

"Not long before his death, the king fractured his leg, and the scientists think this was important. The bone did not heal properly and began to die. This would have left the young king frail and susceptible to infection. What finished him off, they believe, was a bout of malaria on top of his general ill health."[24]

2005 findings

March 8, 2005, Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass revealed the results of a CT scan performed on the pharaoh's mummy. The scan uncovered no evidence of a blow to the back of the head and no evidence suggesting foul play. There was a crack in the skull, but it appeared to have been the result of drilling by embalmers. A fracture to Tutankhamun's left thighbone was interpreted as evidence that the pharaoh badly broke his leg shortly before he died and his leg became severely infected. Members of the Egyptian-led research team recognized, as a less likely possibility, that the fracture was caused by the embalmers. All together, 1,700 images were produced of Tutankhamun's mummy during the 15-minute CT scan.

Tutankhamun coffinette

Much was learned about the young king's life. His age at death was estimated at nineteen years, based on physical developments that set upper and lower limits to his age. The king had been in general good health and there were no signs of any major infectious disease or malnutrition during his childhood. He was slight of build, and was roughly 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) tall. He had large front incisors and the overbite characteristic of the Thutmosid royal line to which he belonged. He also had a pronounced dolichocephalic (elongated) skull, although it was within normal bounds and highly unlikely to have been pathological. Given the fact that many of the royal depictions of Akhenaten (possibly his father, certainly a relative), often featured such an elongated head, it is likely an exaggeration of a family trait, rather than a distinct abnormality. The research also showed that the pharaoh had "a slightly cleft palate".[25] Scientists found a slight bend to his spine also, but agreed there was no associated evidence to suggest that it was pathological in nature, and that it was much more likely to have been caused by the embalming process. This ended speculation based on the previous X-rays that Tutankhamun had suffered from scoliosis. However, it was subsequently noted by Zahi Hawass that the mummy found in KV55, provisionally identified as Tutankhamun's father, exhibited several similarities to that of Tutankhamun — a cleft palate, a dolichocephalic skull and slight scoliosis (also found on one of Tutankamun's stillborn daughters), the first and third elements being a common defect on people suffering from Klippel-Feil syndrome[26][27] or Marfans syndrome,[28] which incapacitated him and might have played a role in his accidental death. The 2010 studies found no evidence of Marfans, so this theory is disproved. The large number of long sticks found in the tomb have been identified by some as walking sticks, aids required by his bone problems.

Iconography depicting Tutankhamun firing arrows from a chariot. His mummy's broken leg, and possibly his death through its infection, might have been caused by the crash of such a chariot in a hunting expedition.

The 2005 conclusion by a team of Egyptian scientists, based on the CT scan findings, is that Tutankhamun died of gangrene after breaking his leg. After consultations with Italian and Swiss experts, the Egyptian scientists found that the fracture in Tutankhamun's left leg most likely occurred only days before his death, which had then become gangrenous and led directly to his death. The fracture, in their opinion, was not sustained during the mummification process or as a result of some damage to the mummy as claimed by Howard Carter. The Egyptian scientists also have found no evidence that he had been struck on the head and no other indication that he was murdered, as had been speculated previously. Further investigation of the fracture led to the conclusion that it was severe, most likely caused by a fall from some height — possibly a chariot-riding accident due to the absence of pelvis injuries — and may have been fatal within hours[29]

Despite the relatively poor condition of the mummy, the Egyptian team found evidence that great care was take with the body of Tutankhamun during the embalming process. They found five distinct embalming materials, which were applied to the body at various stages of the mummification process. This counters previous assertions that the king’s body had been prepared in a hurry. In November 2006, at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Egyptian radiologists stated that CT images and scans of the king's mummy revealed Tutankhamun's height to be 5 feet 6 inches tall, a revision upward from earlier estimates.[30]

Michael R. King continues to dispute these findings, claiming that the king was murdered. He argues that the loose sliver of bone was loosened by the embalmers during mummification, but that it had been broken before. He argues that a blow to the back of the head (from a fall or an actual blow) may have caused the brain to move forward, hitting the front of the skull, breaking small pieces of the bone right above the eyes.[22] Tut could have died of a Contra-coup injury, in which he hit the front of his head, resulting in hemorrhaging. This would make it look like he was bludgeoned, but what most likely happened is that he fell off his chariot.[31] The evidence that he died away from 'home' is that he had an excess of resin poured on him (more than usual), to hide the smell of decay. He also had flowers that only bloom in the spring wrapped around his neck. Since mummification takes about 3 to 4 months, he would have died in December or January, which is during the hunting season.[32] The hunting-accident explanation was given further force in a 2007 documentary film [33] which was shown on Australian national TV in October 2009.

The film reveals that a robbery during the Second World War damaged Tutankhamun’s mummy and obscured key evidence as to how he died. But now, evidence from CT scans and new research suggests that Tutankhamun was not murdered, but died from a broken leg caused during a hunting accident.[34]

These theories have been overturned by the DNA studies noted above, released in February 2010, which showed the king died of a combination of malaria and a bone disease.

DNA study findings

A DNA study released in February 2010 claimed that Tutankhamun was weakened by congenital illnesses and died of complications from the broken leg aggravated by severe brain malaria.[2]

Genetic tests have provided evidence that Tutankhamun and at least four other mummies from his family were infected with Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes an often deadly form of malaria. The team, led by Zahi Hawass, of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, concluded that the king’s many disorders probably weakened his immune system, so that he could have died after suffering a “sudden leg fracture, possibly introduced by a fall,” which became life-threatening when he got malaria.[35]

The study also revealed that Tutankhamun suffered from a cleft palate, Köhler's disease and club foot.[2] Dr. Zahi Hawass and his team have now examined the remains of Tutankhamun and 10 other royal mummies from his family — two of which they have now confirmed using genetic fingerprinting to be the young king's grandmother and most probably his father. They say there is no compelling evidence to suggest King Tutankhamon or indeed any of his royal ancestors had Marfan's Syndrome.[36]

Discovery of tomb

Tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings

Tutankhamun seems to have faded from public consciousness in Ancient Egypt within a short time after his death, and he remained virtually unknown until the early twentieth century. His tomb was robbed at least twice in antiquity, but based on the items taken (including perishable oils and perfumes) and the evidence of restoration of the tomb after the intrusions, it seems clear that these robberies took place within several months at most of the initial burial. Eventually the location of the tomb was lost because it had come to be buried by stone chips from subsequent tombs, either dumped there or washed there by floods. In the years that followed, some huts for workers were built over the tomb entrance, clearly not knowing what lay beneath. When at the end of the twentieth dynasty the Valley of the Kings burials were systematically dismantled, the burial of Tutankhamun was overlooked, presumably because knowledge of it had been lost and his name may have been forgotten.

For many years, rumors of a "Curse of the Pharaohs" (probably fueled by newspapers seeking sales at the time of the discovery) persisted, emphasizing the early death of some of those who had first entered the tomb. However, a recent study of journals and death records indicates no statistical difference between the age of death of those who entered the tomb and those on the expedition who did not. Indeed, most lived past seventy.

Senet board game

KV is an abbreviation for the Valley of the Kings, followed by a number to designate individual tombs in the Valley. Ancient Egyptian senet games similar to the one displayed at the right, were found in the tomb.[37]

Some of the treasures in Tutankhamun's tomb are noted for their apparent departure from traditional depictions of the boy king. Certain cartouches where a king's name should appear have been altered, as if to reuse the property of a previous pharaoh—as often occurred. However, this instance may simply be the product of "updating" the artifacts to reflect the shift from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun. Other differences are less easy to explain, such as the older, more angular facial features of the middle coffin and canopic coffinettes. The most widely accepted theory for these latter variations is that the items were originally intended for Smenkhkare, who may or may not be the mysterious KV55 mummy. Said mummy, according to craniological examinations, bears a striking first-order (father-to-son, brother-to-brother) relationship to Tutankhamun.[38]

2007 discoveries

September 24, 2007, it was announced that a team of Egyptian archaeologists, led by Zahi Hawass, discovered eight baskets of 3,000-year-old doum fruit in the treasury of Tutankhamun's tomb. Doum comes from a type of palm tree native to the Nile Valley. The doum fruit is a traditional funeral offering.

Fifty clay pots bearing Tutankhamun's official seal were also discovered. According to Dr Hawas, the containers probably contained money that were destined to travel with the pharaoh to the afterlife. Howard Carter's and his team originally discovered the objects, but did not open or remove them from the tomb.

King Tutankhamun still rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. November 4, 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter's discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus to a climate-controlled glass box. The case was designed to prevent the heightened rate of decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb.[39]


This cover of the June 2005 National Geographic magazine features the French rendering of Tutankhamun, the only one of three executed in 2005 that was given a skin color. The bust features what its creators considered a "mid-range" skin tone for modern-day Egyptians.

In 2005, three teams of scientists (Egyptian, French, and American), in partnership with the National Geographic Society, developed a new facial likeness of Tutankhamun. The Egyptian team worked from 1,700 three-dimensional CT scans of the pharaoh's skull. The French and American teams worked plastic moulds created from these—but the Americans were never told who the subject of the reconstruction was.[40] All three teams created silicone busts of their interpretation of what the young monarch looked like.

Supporters of afrocentrism have claimed that Tutankhamun was black, and have protested that attempted reconstructions of Tutankhamun's facial features (as depicted on the cover of National Geographic Magazine) have represented the king as “too white”.[41] Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, however, rejects the claims of afrocentrists that Tutankhamun was black. According to Dr. Hawass: "Tutankhamun was not black, and the portrayal of ancient Egyptian civilization as black has no element of truth to it;" Hawass further observed that "[Ancient] Egyptians are not Arabs and are not Africans despite the fact that Egypt is in Africa." [42]

Skin tone and ethnicity

Although modern technology can reconstruct Tutankhamun's facial structure with a high degree of accuracy based on CT data from his mummy,[43][44] correctly determining his skin tone is impossible. There is no consensus on Tutankhamun's skin tone.

Terry Garcia, National Geographic's executive vice president for mission programs, said, in response to some critics of the Tutankhamun reconstruction:

"The big variable is skin tone. North Africans, we know today, had a range of skin tones, from light to dark. In this case, we selected a medium skin tone, and we say, quite up front, 'This is midrange.' We will never know for sure what his exact skin tone was or the color of his eyes with 100% certainty.  ... Maybe in the future, people will come to a different conclusion."[45]

Numerous contemporaneous images of Tutankhamun, such as are on this golden throne, depict the monarch and members of his family with dark, red-brown skin; prognathism; a receding chin; and, consistently, dark eyes.

What the evidence shows

Scientific examination of the remains of Tutankhamun have revealed that the boy king was: 1) extremely dolichocephalic, or long-headed,[46] 2) had enlarged incisors;[46] and 3) had a pronounced alveolar prognathism, resulting in an overbite[46] and a concomitant receding chin line. Investigators also found him to be: 4) "gracile,"[46] meaning “slender, thin, delicate, frail, weakly.”

Although various experts have pointed out that skull shapes etc are not a reliable indication of ancestry,[47] in the fields of forensic criminology and forensic anthropology, these characteristics are believed by many to indicate a Negroid person. [48]

The gracile and dolichocephalic aspects are not unique to Negroid peoples, but are also features of the so-called Mediterranean race, as originally labelled by Carleton Coon and Earnest Albert Hooton. Although its existence as a “race” is disputed by some, this “Mediterranean race” includes many of the peoples of northern Africa, western Asia, southern Europe and the Levant.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55]

Biological anthropologist Susan Anton, the leader of the American team on the Tut reconstruction project, said that the race of the Tut skull was “hard to call”. She stated that the shape of the cranial cavity indicated an African, while the nose opening suggested narrow nostrils, which is usually considered to be a European characteristic. The skull was thus tentatively concluded to be that of a North African.[56][57]

The extreme dolichocephaly was once thought to have been either the product of head binding or a family congenital deformity,[58] but these assumptions were also debunked by the study.[59]


The splendors of Tutankhamun's tomb are among the most traveled artifacts in the world. They have been to many countries, but probably the best-known exhibition tour was The Treasures of Tutankhamun tour, which ran from 1972 to 1979. This exhibition was first shown in London at the British Museum from March 30 until September 30, 1972. More than 1.6 million visitors came to see the exhibition, some queueing for up to eight hours and it was the most popular exhibition in the Museum's history.[citation needed] The exhibition moved on to many other countries, including the USA, USSR, Japan, France, Canada, and West Germany. The Metropolitan Museum of Art organized the U.S. exhibition, which ran from November 17, 1976, through April 15, 1979. More than eight million people attended.

An excerpt from the site of the U.S. National Gallery of Art:

...55 objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun included the boy-king's solid gold funeral mask, a gilded wood figure of the goddess Selket, lamps, jars, jewelry, furniture, and other objects for the afterlife. This exhibition established the term 'blockbuster.' A combination of the age-old fascination with ancient Egypt, the legendary allure of gold and precious stones, and the funeral trappings of the boy-king created an immense popular response. Visitors waited up to 8 hours before the building opened to view the exhibition. At times the line completely encircled the West Building.[60]

In 2004, the tour of Tutankhamun funerary objects entitled "Tutankhamen: The Golden Hereafter" made up of fifty artifacts from Tutenkhamun’s tomb and seventy funerary goods from other 18th Dynasty tombs began in Basle, Switzerland, went to Bonn Germany, the second leg of the tour, and from there toured the United States . The exhibition returned to Europe and to London. The European tour was organised by the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and the Egyptian Museum in cooperation with the Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig. Deutsche Telekom sponsored the Bonn exhibition.[61]

In 2005, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, in partnership with Arts and Exhibitions International and the National Geographic Society, launched the U.S. tour of the Tutenkahamun treasures and other 18th Dynasty funerary objects this time called "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs." It was expected to draw more than three million people.[62]

The exhibition started in Los Angeles, California, then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Chicago and Philadelphia. The exhibition then moved to London[63] before finally returning to Egypt in August 2008. Subsequent events have propelled an encore of the exhibition in the United States, beginning with the Dallas Museum of Art in October 2008 which hosted the exhibition until May 2009.[64] The tour will continued to other U.S. cities [65]. After Dallas the exhibition moved to the de Young Museum in San Francisco, to be followed the Discovery Times Square Exposition in New York City.[66]

The exhibition includes 80 exhibits from the reigns of Tutankhamun's immediate predecessors in the Eighteenth dynasty, such as Hatshepsut, whose trade policies greatly increased the wealth of that dynasty and enabled the lavish wealth of Tutankhamun's burial artifacts, as well as 50 from Tutankhamun's tomb. The exhibition does not include the gold mask that was a feature of the 1972-1979 tour, as the Egyptian government has determined that the mask is too fragile to withstand travel and will never again leave the country.[67]

A separate exhibition called "Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs" began at the Ethnological Museum in Vienna from March 9 to September 28, 2008 showing a further 140 treasures from the tomb.[68] This exhibition continued to Atlanta and the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

In popular culture

If Tutankhamun is the world's best known pharaoh, it is partly because his tomb is among the best preserved, and his image and associated artifacts the most-exhibited. As Jon Manchip White writes, in his foreword to the 1977 edition of Carter's The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, "The pharaoh who in life was one of the least esteemed of Egypt's kings has become in death the most renowned." As a side effect, the interest in this tomb and its alleged "curse" led to horror movies featuring a vengeful mummy.

Film and television

  • We Want Our Mummy," a 1939 film by the Three Stooges. In it, the slapstick comedy trio explore the tomb of the midget King Rutentuten (pronounced "rootin'-tootin'") and his Queen, Hotsy Totsy. A decade later, they were crooked used-chariot salesmen in Mummy's Dummies, in which they ultimately assist a different King Rootentootin (Vernon Dent) with a toothache.
  • King Tut, played by Victor Buono, was a villain on the Batman TV series which aired from 1966 to 1968. Mild-mannered Egyptologist William Omaha McElroy, after suffering a concussion, came to believe he was the reincarnation of Tutankhamun. His response to this knowledge was to embark upon a crime spree that required him to fight against the "Caped Crusaders", Batman and Robin.
  • The Discovery Kids animated series Tutenstein stars a fictional mummy based on Tutankhamun, named Tutankhensetamun and nicknamed Tutenstein in his afterlife. He is depicted as a lazy and spoiled 10-year-old mummy boy who must guard a magical artifact called the Scepter of Was from the evil Egyptian god of Set.
  • La Reine Soleil (2007 animated film by Philippe Leclerc), features Akhenaten, Tutankhaten (later Tutankhamun), Akhesa (Ankhesenepaten, later Ankhesenamun), Nefertiti, and Horemheb in a complex struggle pitting the priests of Amun against Akhenaten's intolerant monotheism.


  • The mummy of Tutankhamun is depicted as a villain in Raj Comics's Nagraj, a Hindi superhero comicbook. In this series, his mask is the source of his power.
  • The video game Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy features a fictional representation of Prince Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun is the victim of an unnamed magical ritual which results in almost instantaneous mummification and extraction of what appears to be his "life force". In the instruction manual, the Mummy is described as young, inexperienced and naive.


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  7. ^ "Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology", Editor Donald B. Redford, p. 85, Berkley, ISBN 0-425-19096-x
  8. ^ "The Boy Behind the Mask", Charlotte Booth, p. 120, Oneworld, 2007, ISBN 978-1-85168-544-8
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Further reading

  • Andritsos, John. Social Studies of ancient Egypt: Tutankhamun. Australia 2006
  • Booth, Charlotte. The Boy Behind the Mask", Oneworld, ISBN 978-1-85168-544-8
  • Brier, Bob. The Murder of Tutankhamun: A True Story. Putnam Adult, April 13, 1998, ISBN 0425166899 (paperback)/ISBN 0-399-14383-1 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-613-28967-6 (School & Library Binding)
  • Carter, Howard and Arthur C. Mace, The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Courier Dover Publications, June 1, 1977, ISBN 0-486-23500-9 The semi-popular account of the discovery and opening of the tomb written by the archaeologist responsible
  • Desroches-Noblecourt, Christiane. Sarwat Okasha (Preface), Tutankhamun: Life and Death of a Pharaoh. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1963, ISBN 0-8212-0151-4 (1976 reprint, hardcover) /ISBN 0-14-011665-6 (1990 reprint, paperback)
  • Edwards, I.E.S., Treasures of Tutankhamun. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976, ISBN 0-345-27349-4 (paperback)/ISBN 0-670-72723-7 (hardcover)
  • Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, The Mummy of Tutankhamun: the CT Scan Report, as printed in Ancient Egypt, June/July 2005.
  • Haag, Michael. "The Rough Guide to Tutankhamun: The King: The Treasure: The Dynasty". London 2005. ISBN 1-84353-554-8.
  • Hoving, Thomas. The search for Tutankhamun: The untold story of adventure and intrigue surrounding the greatest modern archeological find. New York: Simon & Schuster, October 15, 1978, ISBN 0-671-24305-5 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-8154-1186-3 (paperback) This book details a number of interesting anecdotes about the discovery and excavation of the tomb
  • James, T. G. H. Tutankhamun. New York: Friedman/Fairfax, September 1, 2000, ISBN 1-58663-032-6 (hardcover) A large-format volume by the former Keeper of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum, filled with colour illustrations of the funerary furnishings of Tutankhamun, and related objects
  • Reeeves, C. Nicholas. The Complete Tutankhamun: The King, the Tomb, the Royal Treasure. London: Thames & Hudson, November 1, 1990, ISBN 0-500-05058-9 (hardcover)/ISBN 0-500-27810-5 (paperback) Fully covers the complete contents of his tomb
  • Rossi, Renzo. Tutankhamun. Cincinnati (Ohio) 2007 ISBN 978-0-7153-2763-0, a work all illustrated and coloured.

External links

Simple English

Tutankhamun's burial mask

Tutankhamun (sometimes called King Tut) was a Pharaoh (like a king) of Ancient Egypt from about 1334 BC to 1323 BC. He became Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty (royal family) during the New Kingdom at 9 years old. Tutankhamun ruled only 9 years and died very young, at 18, so he is known as The Boy King. He was married to his half-sister Ankhesenamun, daughter of Queen Nefertiti,his step mother.

Some scientists and historians think Tutankhamun was killed by someone else. When his mummy was examined by a CAT scan in January 2005, a very bad break in the leg was found. This may have been from a riding accident. Most scientists now think that Tutankhamun died because his broken leg got infected. Others believe that his vizier, Ay, murdered him, because Ay also succeeded him as Pharaoh. Because of this, Tut was buried in Ay's tomb and Ay in his. Other sources say that he had died from a sickness.

The tomb was discovered in March 1922 by the famous British archaeologist Howard Carter.

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