Discovering Tut – Summary

Tut died more than 3300 years ago. He was the last teen-aged ruler of a powerful family that had ruled Egyptian empire for centuries. He ruled for about nine years and then died unexpectedly. His tomb was discovered and investigated in 1922 by the British archaeologist, Howard Carter. Later it was taken out again for CT scan to solve the mystery of his death. The mummy was scanned after a thousand years to find a cause of its untimely death but technology hasn’t been able to give us a definite answer to Tut’s death. However, it has given us a direction to think and proceed.


Tutankhamun, the 11th Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt is famous due to the discovery of his completely intact tomb by the British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.

Tut was a teen aged heir to the royal throne of Egypt. The family had ruled Egypt for centuries. But Tut died young. He was the last of the family line. His father or grandfather Amenhotep-III was a powerful Pharaoh who ruled for almost 40 years. His son, Amenhotop-IV succeeded him but he shocked the country by attacking Amun, a major God, smashing his images and closing all his temples. His family had ruled for centuries before the boy King, Tut took over. However, Tut ruled for nine years and then died unexpectedly.

Centuries passed. In the year 1920, an archaeologist, Howard Carter, discovered his tomb after 3300 hundred years of Tut’s burial. Carter was a British citizen and therefore he didn’t have the beliefs of the Egyptians. The Egyptians never tried to go near Tut’s tomb because they had feared that going near Tut’s tomb was disastrous. It could invite the Pharaoh’s curse! Like other British Citizens, Carter also believed that this was just a superstition to keep thieves away from the tomb and from the enormous wealth buried with the little Pharaoh. Anyway Carter was not scared. He decided to take Tut’s body out.

But taking Tut’s body wasn’t that easy. Carter and his team broke the three gold coffins one after the other. Finally, they broke the innermost coffin and saw the dried, hard body of Tut. It was really wonderful to see the dead body of a 3300 year old mummy and to know for sure that his name was Tutankhamun. He then decided to take the body out of the coffin but soon realized that it was not so easy because the body had got hardened with the resins and separating the body from the coffin was impossible. But Carter could not think of leaving the body there. He feared the thieves could destroy the mummy for stealing the valuable wealth inside, so Carter decided to cut Tut’s body into pieces.

After some years, probably after Carter’s death, a doctor performed an X-ray and found out that one of Tut’s bones was missing from his reassembled body. How did it happen? No one knew! Years passed and archaeologists and scientists performed a number of studies and experiments.

Today, CT scan takes hundreds of X-rays and creates a three dimensional image of the body. Tut’s mummy was put into a CT scanner on 5th January, 2005 to answer two questions – How did he die? and how old was he at the time of death? King Tut was one of the first mummies to be scanned in death as in life. The process took less than three hours. The Pharaoh was taken back in the tomb again. The CT scan dispelled all doubts. Nothing had gone seriously wrong. Tut is resting in peace in his tomb in the valley of the departed Kings of Egypt.

The modern world has turned impossibilities to possibilities. William’s report gives an insight into this. The mummy scanned after a thousand years has opened new avenues regarding the cause of its death but technology hasn’t been able to give us a definite answer to Tut’s death. However, it has given us a direction to think and proceed. Maybe in future, technology would solve it for us.

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