14 July 2013
An icon of the ancient world, and a symbol of Egyptian power, King Tutankhamen's death was more of a mystery than a surprise. How exactly did the nineteen year old boy king die? Scientists have joined together to solve the three thousand year old mystery. The death of the young Pharaoh in 1324 B.C. has puzzled researchers for nearly a century. Was he murdered, poisoned, or did he have a genetic disease? Each of these three have been rumored to be the cause of death to the boy King. No matter how many theories are suggested to be valid, indication proves only one of the rumors is correct. Discovering the presence of genetic disorders in Tut's genes, along with the walking canes and an after life pharmacy buried in his tomb, allowed researchers to be certain of his cause of death. With strong evidence to prove the diagnosis, the nineteen year old king suffered from and eventually died from an unlucky combination of Malaria and bone deformities.
Born approximately 1341 B.C., King Tutankhaten was the 12th king of the 18th Egyptian dynasty. Tutankhaten received the throne at the young age of nine and reigned over Egypt. The new King succeeded the throne from Smenkhkare, who ruled for approximately four years. It is unknown how Tutankhamen was related to Smenkhkare but researchers believed that "he may be a brother or someone related to Akhenaton". There are only a few records found about King Tut's ruling but it was evident that he paved the way for the restoration of the traditional religion in Egypt which was banned during Akhenaton's reign because of the establishment of a cult where the god of sun, Aton, was worshipped. "Although his name meant "living image of the Aten", the boy king restored the old ways by reinstating the traditional pantheon of gods and reopening their temples. Tutankhaten also reestablished Memphis and Thebes as seats of power. To honor the god Amun, Tutankhaten and Ankhesenpaaten, his chief queen, changed their names to Tutankhamen and Ankhsenamun." (Jones)
When the young Pharaoh was only 19, he unexpectedly died. In 2010, when observing his mummified remains, scientists found traces of malaria parasites and hypothesized that malaria, combined with degenerative bone disease, was his cause of death. Whatever the case, he died without designating an heir and was succeeded by Ay, a high ranking official and King Tut's official adviser. He was buried in a small tomb that was quickly converted for his use in the Valley of the Kings. "Like other rulers associated with the Amarna period—Akhenaton, Smenkhkare, and Ay—he was to suffer the posthumous fate of having his name stricken from later king lists and his monuments usurped, primarily by his former general, Horemheb who subsequently became king." (Dorman) Tutankhamen's tomb shows evidence that it had been previously entered and raided but the location of his burial was clearly forgotten by the time of the 20th dynasty because there was craftsmen assigned to work on the tomb of Ramses VI which was located nearby. These craftsmen had built temporary stone shelters directly over the entrance of the tomb which allowed the tomb to be preserved, until an organized search of the Valley of the Kings by English archaeologist Howard Carter revealed the location in 1922.
The week after the location was revealed, Carter spent one afternoon uncovering sixteen steps of a rock cut stairway that descended at a forty-five degree angle into a small hill below the entrance of the tomb. At the level of the 12th step, Carter found that the upper portion of a door had been plastered. The doorway’s surface had the Royal Necropolis seal: Anubis over nine foes. Carter could not find a royal name, but he did notice that a corner had been resealed, indicating that robbers had broken into the tomb during ancient times and that