Thousands of years ago, a pharaoh named Tutankhamun—commonly known as “Tut”—lie on his deathbed. He was one of the youngest pharaohs ever to rule Egypt. Ever since King Tut’s mummified body was discovered in 1922, archaeologists have worked to uncover the mystery of his life and early death.
King Tut took the throne when he was nine-years-old in 1332 B.C.E. He was the son of Akhenaten and the stepson of Nefertiti. As many royal people did in his time, King Tut married within the royal bloodline when he wed his half-sister Ankhesenamun.
King Tut ruled over Egypt for approximately 10 years before he died at age 19. Though this marked the end of his reign, it was also the start of his mysterious legend.
The mystery of King Tut is that no one in modern times knows why he died. Some scientists think he was assassinated. They investigated this theory by performing a computed tomography (CT) scan of King Tut's remains in 1968. When the CT results came back, they showed that King Tut had many fragments in his skull. This supports the idea that a blow to the head killed him.
On the other hand, some scientists believe King Tut died of a brain hemorrhage caused by a broken leg. This theory was developed when scientists discovered that the bone in King Tut’s thigh was fractured. In 2005, a new CT scan of the old pharaoh’s remains showed no skull fragments, but revealed that his thigh bone was broken and his rib cage was extremely damaged. This discovery led to the hypothesis that the King, while in a chariot crash, was kicked by a horse in his ribs.
The chariot crash theory remains controversial. Other experts think King Tut’s death was caused by malaria—there were no treatments at the time—but there is hardly any evidence to support this. Some people even theorize, without much evidence, that King Tut was killed by a hippopotamus.
The mystery has not been solved, but scientists continue to study evidence, review the King’s remains, and debate theories. They may eventually figure out who or what killed King Tut, but mystery lingers. For such a young person, King Tut's death surely sparked—and continues to spark— a lot of questions.
The Independent; National Geography