History of King Tut
In 1922, Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, broke through into a tomb in Egypt which had been sealed for 3,200 years. This was the tomb of a young pharaoh named Tutankhamen who died around 1324 B. C., after only a ten-year reign. Not much had been known about this pharaoh prior to 1922, but many artifacts which Carter discovered buried with him gave the world a wealth of information about royal life. He soon became the most famous pharaoh in the world.
King Tut was the grandson of Amenhotep II, as has been proven by genetic testing. He was also probably the son of Akhenaten, who lived in the New Kingdom era of Egypt (1550-1295 B. C.). Akhenaten did away with the worship of many gods and chose to revere the sun god Aten. After he died, two pharaohs ruled before the 9-year-old Tutankhamen took the throne.
King Tut did away with the sun god and restored the creator god Amun, putting the name onto his own. He worked with advisers to restore Egypt's power in the area. King Tut is shown seated while involved in archery. This was due to the fact that he had a clubfoot. He was in very poor health. The pharaohs usually married siblings. This practice may bring about a weakness in health for all involved. King Tut's parents were siblings. This fact was revealed in 2010 by DNA testing. He married his half-sister. His two girls were stillborn.
Some historians believed that Tut was assassinated because a hole was found in the back of his head. However, later it was shown that the hole occurred during the mummification process. Modern technology has given us more information. In 1995, a CT scan of his mummified body showed that he had an infected broken leg. His DNA testing showed many malaria infections.
The Egyptians believed that royal persons must be mummified, which means to be preserved and ready for the afterlife. People who prepare dead bodies are called embalmers. They took out King Tut's organs and wrapped the body in bandages soaked in resin. Then they put over his head and shoulders a solid gold mask which weighed twenty-four pounds. Finally, he was put into eight containers each layered into the one below. Three were golden coffins, four were gilded wooden shrines and the last was a granite sarcophagus.
Tut's tomb is rather small, so archaeologists believe that possibly he died suddenly and a tomb had to be made quickly. More than five thousand items filled the antechambers of the tomb. These included everything he would need for his future life, such as furniture, chariots, clothing and weapons. Although robbers broke in and stole items from the entrance chamber, the inner chambers remained sealed. Later pharaohs forgot him, mainly because his father was rather revolutionary. Stone debris built up around the tomb. Workmen's huts were built all around it.
Howard Carter had been excavating Egyptian tombs for over thirty years. He thought that all of the tombs across the river from Thebes in the Valley of the Kings had been found until his discovery in 1922. Tut's tomb was the best preserved tomb of all. It took the archaeologists ten years to empty the tomb and make a catalog of each item.
Many artifacts from King Tut's tomb have toured the world in a collection. Today, the gold burial mask and other fragile items remain in Egypt for safekeeping. Tut's mummy lies in his tomb preserved in a glass coffin which is climate-controlled.
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