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The most famous Egyptian pharaoh today is, without doubt, Tutankhamun. However, before the spectacular discovery of his almost intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in November 1922, Tutankhamun was only a little known figure of the late 18th Dynasty.
The picture on the right show Tutankhamun's death mask
Note: There are different variations of the spelling of Tutankhamun. It can be spelt as Tutankhamon or Tutankhamen.
On this page will answer the following questions about Tutankhamun:
- When and where was Tutankhamun born?
- At what age did Tutankhamun become a Pharaoh?
- Why is Tutankhamun so famous?
- When was Tutankhamun's tomb discovered?
- Who was Howard Carter?
- How did Howard Carter know where to look?
- Where was Tutankhamun buried?
- What did they find inside the Tomb?
- When did Tutankhamun die?
- What did Tutankhamun die from?
- What was Tut's funeral like?
- What is the Mummy's Curse?
Tutankhamun was probably born at Akhetaten which was the capital city of Egypt. He was born in about the year 1346 BC.
He became pharaoh at the tender age of nine in 1337 BC and reigned during the 18th Dynasty when the Egyptian Empire was at its height. He reigned from about 1337 to 1328 BC.
His tomb was discovered by a team of British archaeologists in 1922, nearly 3000 years after his death.
The reason that Tutankhamun is so well known today is that his tomb, containing fabulous treasures, was found early this century (1922) by British archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon.
The tomb of Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun was discovered on November 4, 1922 by English archaeologist Howard Carter.
Read the story of the Discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb
Howard Carter was born in 1874 in Norfolk, England. His father named Samuel Carter was an artist who taught Howard Carter the fundamentals of drawing and painting.
Several finds made in the Valley of the Kings over the years led Howard Carter to believe that the king was still somewhere in the Valley.
Carter believed he found clues to Tutankhamun in the discoveries made by Theodore Davis. Davis had found a cup and other fragments bearing the name of Tutankhamen and his queen.
Valley of the Kings
He was buried in a hastily prepared tomb in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, the traditional burial place of his predecessors. The person responsible for his burial, and shown on one of the walls in Tutankhamun's tomb, was Ay who succeeded him on the Egyptian throne.
Quick Fact : The first of a flight of 16 descending steps was found on 4 November 1922, just in front and to the north side of the entrance to the tomb of Ramesses VI.
The Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt contains many of the tombs of pharaohs from the New Kingdom, including Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great.
Egyptian treasures found in Tutankhamun's tomb
The small tomb contained hundreds of objects (now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo), many richly decorated and covered in gold, that would be needed by the king in his afterlife.
Over 3,000 treasures were placed in the tomb to help Tutankhamen in his afterlife, and the walls of the burial chamber were painted with scenes of his voyage to the afterworld.
Tutankhamun reigned for around 9 years, making him about 18 when he died.
How do we know?
1) Forensic analysis of his mummy has put his age at death at about 18.
2) Clay seals on wine jars found in his tomb record not only the type of wine and the vineyard, but also the king's regal year when each wine was laid down. The highest recorded date is Year 9, suggesting that Tutankhamun died in that year.
There is no positive evidence on Tutankhamun's mummy as to how he met his death.
During an x-ray of the mummy in 1968, scientists found bone fragments in Tut's skull, prompting a sensational theory that the boy king had been bludgeoned to death.
Another recent theory is that King Tutankhamun wasn't murdered after all, but died from a broken leg. According to National Geographic (December 2006) a new CT scan of King Tutankhamun's mummy "showed a thin coating of embalming resin around the leg break, suggesting that Tut broke his leg just before he died and that his death may have resulted from an infection or other complications."
Tutankhamun died suddenly and so his burial was arranged in haste.
Legend has it, anyone who dares to open the tomb will suffer the wrath of the mummy.
Read about the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb