January 24, 2005

Mysteries of Tut

Nothing fires the public's imagination like the discovery of gold treasure or a good mystery. Tut provides both.


Interesting account in the Independent of some recent research on King Tut; I found this bit on the old research fascinating as well:

The mummy of Tutankhamun was anatomically examined on 11 November 1925. The autopsy by Douglas Derry, the Professor of Anatomy at the Egyptian University, created a macabre scene.

The mummy was intact, although not in as good a condition as was hoped. Few royal mummies survive today which have not at some time or other been rifled by robbers, who have torn the wrappings and left the corpses damaged and exposed to the atmosphere.

The first problems soon became apparent as the magnificent gold death mask which covered Tutankhamun's head, shoulders and part of his chest was stuck to the bottom of the coffin in which they had rested for so long. This was due to unguents which had been poured over the mummy after it had been placed in the coffin, which with the passing of time had dried to a stony hardness.

The linen bandages were in a fragile condition and crumbled at the slightest touch. It proved impossible to unwrap the mummy layer by layer as had been hoped. They had to cut the bandages.

Enclosed in the many layers of wrappings were a vast number of personal and mystical ornaments. The King lay with his arms across his body, each covered from the elbow to the wrist with bracelets of gold, silver and semi-precious stones. It was not until the greater part of the bandages had been removed, that Tutankhamun's remains could be lifted from the coffin.

The bandages that covered the head of the King seemed to be in a better state of preservation. The removal of the final bandage from the King's face was a delicate operation, as the danger of damaging the King's features was uppermost in Dr Derry's mind.

The face of the young pharaoh, whose reign had ended over 3,000 years earlier, was then revealed. A serene, refined and cultured face, it had well formed features and lips clearly marked. His skin was brittle and cracked. His eyes were partly open and had in no way been interfered with, except to be covered with fabric impregnated with resin.

Dr Derry concluded that Tutankhamun would have been between 18 and 20 when he died. But there was no visible clue as to whether or not he had met his death naturally.

Posted by Ideofact at January 24, 2005 10:44 PM


aha! So that's why Tut is still in his tomb rather than at the Egyptian Museum with the other mummies!

Posted by: praktike at January 24, 2005 11:28 PM