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Scientists Refute Tutankhamun Death Theory


A recent investigation and documentary which re-examined the forensic evidence surrounding King Tutankhamun’s death revealed a ground-breaking new theory on how he died.  According to researchers, his pattern of injuries indicated that he was struck by the wheel of a fast moving chariot causing catastrophic injury.  But that wasn’t the end of their intriguing hypothesis. The scientists further claimed that the black charred appearance of his skin was a result of a botched embalming process which led his body to spontaneously combust within the sarcophagus. However, a number of experts have now come forward to refute this conclusion.

Many scientists have acknowledged that the speeding chariot hypothesis is a likely scenario. The king might have been riding in a chariot during a hunt or a battle—activities that ancient Egyptian rulers routinely performed as part of their kingly duties. King Tut could have tumbled off the chariot and then been struck in the chest by another chariot passing at high speed. However, there are other possibilities.

The damage to Tutankhamun’s chest might have also been caused by a strong kick from a horse—entirely possible, since horses pulled the pharaoh's chariot. Others have proposed that the king was hunting on foot in a marsh when a hippopotamus charged and killed him. Today hippos are extinct in Egypt but in Tutankhamun’s day, these aggressive 3,000 pound creatures were legendary for their attacks. Victims may suffer massive tearing, deep puncture wounds, and crushed bones, any combination of which could be fatal.

The second claim made by the initial research team that the great quantity of resins and oils poured over Tutankhamun’s mummy burst into flames as a result of a chemical reaction after he had been sealed in the sarcophagus has also been refuted.  Tutankhamun’s flesh is indeed black and with a charred appearance. However, a number of aspects of the remains contradict the theory of a fire.

King Tutankhamun was wearing a beaded linen cap on his shaved head. If his flesh had burned, wouldn't his cap show similar effects? King Tut's mummy was also decked out with jewellery—bracelets, necklaces, pendants, earrings, finger rings, and amulets galore, made of gold and silver set with precious stones such as carnelian, lapis lazuli, quartz, and turquoise. When Howard Carter first opened the innermost, solid-gold coffin, he also found a linen shroud lying on top of the torso section. None of these items appear to have suffered fire damage.

It is possible that the television program, 'Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Burnt Mummy', may still reveal some compelling explanations for some of the puzzling aspects of the case.  But it seems that King Tutankhamun has not yet revealed all of his secrets, including the definitive reason for his death…

By April Holloway

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April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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