The Giza plateau and the Great Sphinx – I guess you have already heard about them – lie in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt; the valley that the tomb of the 19-year old pharaoh Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922. Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, which takes place between 1332 and 1323 BC.
However, at the time of the discovery, many mysteries surrounded the mummy. Although the beauty of the chamber’s treasures were breathtaking, it could not bring about any scientific answer about Tutankhamun’s life. Who were his parents? What did he look like?
Science has had a huge impact on the understanding of the enigmatic pharaoh.
Through science, archeologists and historians have thrown some light on the famous king. In almost one hundred years, DNA tests, scanners, and state-of-the-art equipment have allowed them to improve their knowledge. These tools may be used to find answers that otherwise could not be found.
From 2007 to 2009, genetic studies have been conducted by the King Tutankhamun Family Project Mummies on eleven royal mummies including Tutankhamun. The aim was to determine family relationships. Scientists were finally able to have a view of the genealogy of the pharaoh’s family over five generations.
Another study performed in 2010 by a group of researchers disproved the theory according to which Nefertiti, the beautiful wife of Akhenaten, was Tutankhamun’s mother. Tutankhamun’s father and mother would be Akhenaten and Akhenaten’s sister.
Some scientists have also even been able to have an idea of the physical condition of Tutankhamun. Using state-of-the-art technology and scanners, they found out that the Pharaoh was probably suffering from Kohler’s disease, a disease affecting mostly young boys and leading to bone decay.
This year, a 3-D reconstruction of the pharoah’s body was created using more than 2000 images of the mummy. Results of this virtual autopsy were beneficial. Far from his golden mask and supposed strength, the pharaoh had wide hips and a club foot.
It would explain the presence of more than a hundred walking sticks in his tomb.
Thus, the idea of the king’s death by chariot is compromised – more likely, he would not even have been able to stand on his own two feet. It is possible that his death was due to the Kohler’s disease and to genetic problems caused by consanguinity.