On November 26, 1922, archaeologists, led by Howard Carter, entered the tomb of King Tutankhamun, which was full of treasures and artifacts from 3,300 years ago. Here are 5 things you didn’t know about King Tutankhamun, the son of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV.
King Tut Was Only Pharaoh for About 10 Years King Tutankhamun was referred to as the boy king because he became Pharaoh at about nine years of age and died around ten years later. He was married to his half-sister, Ankhesenamun, which was a common practice among Egyptian royals. Although they had two children together, neither child lived, and they were both interred in the same tomb with their father.
The Tomb Was Supposed to Be Cursed After opening the tomb, George Herbert, AKA Lord Carnarvon, who helped supply the funds to conduct the search for ancient tombs in Egypt, died after he was bitten by a mosquito on the cheek. The idea of the curse was amplified later by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame, but then again, Doyle also thought fairies existed. Howard Carter, who opened and explored the tomb, lived for about 16 years without any ill effects, so the curse was probably nothing more than a fanciful idea.
Burial Sites Commonly Carried Curses Howard Carter was apparently the man who started the idea of the curse while at the excavation site, and it was done to scare away any potential looters. However, Carter wasn’t the first man to come up with the idea because legends of curses had been used as far back as 1616 when William Shakespeare used a curse, “Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones" as his epitaph.
Tutankhamun Was Buried in The World’s Most Expensive Coffin Two of Tutankhamun’s three coffins were made of wood, covered with gold sheet. But, to Howard Carter’s great surprise, the innermost coffin was made from thick sheets of beaten gold. This coffin measures 1.88m in length, and weighs 110.4kg. If it were to be scrapped today it would be worth approximately $1.7 million. But as Tutankhamun’s final resting place it is, of course, priceless.
King Tut’s Death Was Probably Accidental For years, it was speculated that King Tut’s death at age 19 came courtesy of a blow to the head, inflicted, perhaps, by a murderous rival. More recently, however, experts have determined that the damage to his mummy’s skull occurred after death, either during the embalming process or at the hands of Carter’s crew. So how did the boy king die? In 2005 a study revealed that he broke his leg and developed an infection in the wound shortly before death. According to one theory, the pharaoh sustained the injury by falling from his chariot during a hunt. Meanwhile, DNA testing in 2010 suggested that Tutankhamen had malaria. Alternate theories about King Tut’s demise still abound, however, including the hypothesis that he succumbed to the lethal bite of an enraged hippopotamus.