King Tut: The Life of a Pharaoh in Photos
For an “Egytophile” like me, the opening of the King Tut exhibit in New York City at the Times Square Discovery Center is nothing short of manna from heaven! But for those who can’t make it to the exhibit, here is a photo essay of the “Boy Who Would be King”.
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty who ruled from 1333 BC to 1323 BC. His name means “the living image of Amun”.
After many years of speculation, a DNA test was performed in February 2010 which confirmed that Tut’s parents were Akhenaten and Queen Kiya.
Tutankhamun was nine years old when he became pharaoh and reigned for approximately ten years. He was one of the few kings worshiped as a god and honored with a cult-like following in his own lifetime.
Upon ascension to the throne, Tutankhamun married 13-year-old Ankhesenamen who happened to be the daughter of the famously beautiful queen Nefertiti. It is thought that Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamen are “children of the king’s body” or the biological son and daughter of Akhenaten.
Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamen had no surviving offspring. When Tut’s tomb was discovered, however, two female fetuses interred in small coffins were found nearby. In 2010, it was confirmed that these stillborn girls were the biological children of Tutanhkamun and Ankhesenamen.
At first, the cause of Tut’s death was uncertain and the subject of much speculation.
X-rays of Tutankhamun’s mummy, taken in 1968, revealed a dense spot at the lower back of the skull interpreted as a subdural hematoma. Such an injury could have been the result of an accident, but it has also been suggested that the young pharaoh was murdered. Eventually, however, it was determined that this crack was the result of drilling by embalmers.
A new CT scan then discovered a fracture to Tutankhamun’s left thighbone. This was interpreted as evidence that the pharaoh badly broke his leg shortly before he died and his leg became severely infected. The CT scan also revealed that Tutankhamun suffered from a cleft palate and a club foot.
On February 2010 it was finally determined that Tutankhamun died of gangrene after breaking his leg.
Tutankhamun faded from public consciousness in Ancient Egypt within a short time after his death. That was, however, until November 4, 1922 when British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb (since designated KV62) in the Valley of the Kings.
On November 29, 1922 the tomb was officially opened.
Described as “organized chaos”, Tut’s burial chamber contained approximately 800 objects which included three funeral beds, four chariots, gilded wooden shrines, an elaborate canopic chest, a large statue and various oils, ointments, scents, foods and wine which he would need as he traveled on to the afterlife.
In 1978, King Tut Fever hit when the King’s artifacts traveled to museums around the country.
That same year, comedian Steve Martin unveiled his song “King Tut” on Saturday Night Live.
All in all, not bad for a king who only ruled for 10 years.