Trivia Questions About the Discovery of King Tut's Tomb

On November 26, 1922, British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter King Tutankhamen’s tomb in more than 3,000 years.  See if you can answer these trivia questions about a splendidly grave discovery...

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How Did King Tut Die? King Tutankhamun, colloquially known as King Tut, was the 12th pharaoh of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, in power from approximately 1332 to 1323 B.C.E.  Research suggests King Tut died from a gangrene infection resulting from a broken leg. Early investigations pointed to bone fragments in Tutankhamun’s skull to propose the theory that he died from a blow to the head by political rivals. However, a full scan of his body in 2006 found the damage to King Tut’s skull occurred after his death due to bad handling of his mummy. 

What Did They Find in King Tut's Tomb? # Tut's tomb was opulent by modern standards, but he was actually not a major king during his time. Photo credit: Mark Fischer/Flickr. The most fascinating item found in King Tut’s tomb was the stone sarcophagus containing three coffins, one inside the other, with a final coffin made of gold. When the lid of the third coffin was raised, King Tut's royal mummy was revealed, preserved for more than 3,000 years. As archaeologists examined the mummy, they found other artifacts, including bracelets, rings and collars.  Also in the room were various artifacts for his journey including oils, perfumes, toys from his childhood, precious jewelry and statues of gold and ebony. 

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Why Did People Think the Tomb Was Cursed? # A series of deaths in the years after Carter (shown here with an assistant) opened the tomb bolstered the rumor that the tomb was cursed. Photo credit: Lucas/Flickr. There was a legend about a curse of the pharaohs that said anyone disturbing the tombs would die. Of course, many people had disturbed most of the tombs over centuries and didn't necessarily die of anything other than old age or an unrelated accident or illness years later. However, a few months after entering King Tut's tomb, Carter's benefactor, Lord Carnarvon, did die, and a few other expedition members died within seven years. So it looked like there was a curse, but Carnarvon was already sick -- he had chronic illnesses -- and the 1920s weren't exactly the height of sanitary and medical technology. There is speculation that pathogens sealed in the tomb might have hastened Carnarvon's death, but that hasn't been proven, especially because those pathogens would have had effects long before Carnarvon's death.

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What Major "Oops" Moment Occurred During the Excavation? They decapitated and tore apart Tut's mummy. For real. The funeral mask, which is that gold, blue, and black thing you see in all the ads for King Tut exhibits, and other jewelry were stuck to the mummy with resin. In their eagerness to see these items, the archaeologists wrenched off the accessories, taking body parts with them.




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