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Thread: King Tutankhamun Re-examined
Jan 14th, 2005 2:30 PM #1
King Tutankhamun Re-examined
King Tut Gets CT Scan
By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Jan. 7, 2005 — An eerie outline of King Tutankhamun's face appeared in three dimensional images on Wednesday as the 3,300-year-old mummified body of the Egyptian pharaoh was removed from his its tomb and subjected to a CT scan.
Carried in a specially equipped van parked near King Tut's tomb in the Valley of the Kings — the original plan to move the mummy to Cairo was dropped due to public protest — the test lasted for about 15 minutes.
“ There are so many stories about his death and his age. Today we will determine what really happened. ”
Read about researchers working in the field featured in our Discovery Quest series.
A team of archaeologists and doctors led by Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist, brought out the wooden box containing the mummy from beneath a stone sarcophagus and carried it out into the daylight where the van outfitted with the CT scan machine was waiting.
Still resting in his box, King Tut was inserted in the machine, which then captured more than 1,700 images of his remains.
Toes, fingers and an outline of the boy pharaoh's face could be seen, Hawass said.
The 3-D X-rays should solve forever the mystery of whether King Tut was murdered or died of natural causes, and provide new insights into his royal lineage, his exact age at the time of his death — now estimated at 17 — and the diseases he might have had.
"There are so many stories about his death and his age. Today we will determine what really happened," Hawass told reporters.
Tut a Puzzle
King Tut, the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt, has been puzzling scientists ever since his mummy- and treasure-packed tomb were discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter.
Only a few facts about his life are known. Tut.ankh.Amun, "the living image of Amun," ascended the throne in 1333 B.C., at the age of nine, and reigned until his death at 17 or 18. He was a pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, probably the greatest of the Egyptian royal families.
It is unclear if King Tut is the son or a half-brother of Akhenaton, the "heretic" pharaoh who introduced a monotheistic religion by overthrowing the pantheon of the gods to worship the sun god Aton.
The most intriguing question, however, is whether the boy king, buried in a "hurried fashion," according to Hawass, was murdered or died of natural causes.
A series of X-rays taken by British scientist Ronald Harrison in 1968, when Tutankhamun's tomb was last opened, revealed a bone fragment in his skull, prompting speculation that a blow to the head killed the boy pharaoh.
But recent studies suggest the pharaoh could have easily died from poor health. Research in 2000 suggested that the pharaoh may have been cursed with a genetic disease which left him with fatty hips, while another study attributed the pharaoh a disorder called Klippel-Feil syndrome, which makes sufferers look as if they have a short neck, and puts them at risk of a fatal spinal cord injury from a minor fall.
"The cause of death of the famous young pharaoh remains enigmatic, but the radiographs of his skull cannot be used to support a theory of homicide," Richard Boyer, from the Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, wrote in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.
Boyer, who carried out a critical review of the 1968 skull and cervical spine radiographs, said that the resin introduced at the time of embalming makes it hard to provide a definitive evaluation of Tutankhamun's head and neck through the X-rays.
The problem will be easily bypassed by CT scan. Hawass said that the first results will be announced this month in Cairo.
He added that Egyptian officials will then begin a process of restoration to protect and preserve the mummy, which was largely damaged by Carter's team, when sharp tools were used to remove the gleaming gold-and-blue death mask.
Jan 17th, 2005 1:35 AM #2
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Very interesting read!
I must say I'm very curious to see those pictures... Now they can reconstruct the face too, based upon the bone structure of the skull.- If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your parents, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT. (Zappa)
Mar 6th, 2005 2:44 AM #3
In a related story, just released..
The golden treasures of the boy pharaoh are dazzling, but it is costing a king’s ransom to see the loot. The new King Tut exhibit debuting in Los Angeles this summer is also shaking the cobwebs of museums everywhere and perhaps redefining their role.
“It's a different world today,” says Tim Leiweke, the CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Company.
Different, indeed. Leiweke’s world is rock concerts. He's never done art. But, for the first time, his entertainment company is betting $40 million it can run a blockbuster art exhibit — and make lots of money doing it.
"Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" opens June 16 in Los Angeles, then travels to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Chicago and Philadelphia through 2007
Mar 16th, 2005 9:17 AM #4
- If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your parents, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT. (Zappa)
- Join Date
- Nov 2001
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