(New Zealand Herald)
By STEVE CONNOR
The mystery of Tutankhamun – the boy king of ancient Egypt – has been partially solved. He was not murdered but did have a broken leg that could have killed him.
A CT scan of his mummy shows that the 19-year-old suffered a badly broken leg shortly before his death that could have become lethally infected, Egypt’s top archaeologist, Dr Zahi Hawass, announced yesterday. He said the remains of Tutankhamun, who ruled about 3300 years ago, showed no signs that he had been murdered – dispelling a mystery that has long surrounded the pharaoh’s death.
“The team found no evidence for a blow to the back of the head, and no other signs of foul play.”
Hawass said some members of the Egyptian-led research team, which included two Italian experts and one from Switzerland, interpreted a fracture to Tut’s left thigh as evidence that he may have broken his leg badly just before he died.
“The break itself would not have been life-threatening but infection might have set in,” the statement said.
Part of the team believes it also possible, though less likely, that the fracture was caused by the embalmers.
Others believe the bone chipping may have been caused by archaeologists.
Some 1700 images were taken during the 15-minute CT scan aimed at answering many of the mysteries that shrouded his life and death – including his royal lineage, his age at the time of his death and the reason he died.
Tutankhamun is believed to have been the 12th ruler of Egypt’s 18th dynasty. He ascended to the throne at about 8 years old and died around 1323 BC.