King Tut Re-Creation Presents a Shocking Image
Incest left the young pharaoh with a club foot, feminine hips and a large overbite.
Tutankhamun's beautiful golden mask, the embodiment of a man secure in his power, has been flattering the pharaoh for many centuries, according to the most detailed image yet of the teenage king's face and body.
In the flesh, King Tut had a club foot, a pronounced overbite and girlish hips, says a "virtual autopsy" built using more than 2,000 computerized tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh's body.
Built for the BBC documentary, "Tutankhamun: the Truth Uncovered," the shocking 3-D computer model could shed new light on the death of the boy pharaoh at the age of 19.
Previous theories suggested King Tut may have died as a result of a chariot accident, but the virtual reconstruction showed a different scenario.
"It was important to look at his ability to ride on a chariot and we concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided," Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and Icemen in Italy, told the U.K. daily The Independent.
According to Ashraf Selim, an Egyptian radiologist, King Tut "also developed Kohler's disease or death of the bones, during adolescence, which would have been incredibly painful."
Indeed, about 130 walking sticks found in King Tut's treasure-packed tomb would support the theory that the boy pharaoh had to rely on canes to get around.
Zink believes the pharaoh's early death was most likely caused from his weakened state - a result of genetic impairments inherited from his parents, who were siblings.
Indeed, in 2010 an international genetic study produced a five-generation pedigree of Tutankhamun's immediate lineage. In the study, the mummy known as KV55 - most likely the "heretic" Akhenaten - and KV35YL, also known as the Younger Lady, were identified as siblings, as well as King Tut's parents.
The study confirmed the frail king was afflicted by malaria and suffered a badly broken leg, above his knee, just before he died.
"It is difficult to say whether malaria may have been a serious factor in the cause of death," Zink said.
The boy pharaoh has been puzzling scientists ever since his mummy and treasure-packed tomb were discovered on Nov. 22, 1922, in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter.
Only a few facts about his life are known. Tut.ankh.Amun, "the living image of Amun," ascended the throne in 1332 B.C., at the age of 9, and reigned until his death at 19.
As the last male in the family, his death ended the 18th dynasty - probably the greatest of the Egyptian royal families - and gave way to military rulers.
A virtual reconstruction depicts King Tut at the time of death.
King Tut's Mask
"Tutankhamun: His Tomb and the Treasures" is a new exhibition now in Zurich that has meticulously reconstructed the tomb complex and its treasures. Specially trained craftspeople in Cairo built more than 1,000 exact replicas under scientific supervision. The work took over five years. Here is a replica of the famous mask of King Tut, weighing 24 lbs, which was pressed over the head of the king's bandaged mummy. The idealized portrait of the young king echoes the style of the late Amarna period. The life-like eyes are formed by bright quartz, with obsidian inlays for the pupils.
King Tut, With Wife
This scene, depicted on the backrest of King Tut's throne, shows how Tutankhamen used to lean back in a relaxed manner while his wife, Anchesenamun, stood beside him and rubbed ointment into his shoulder.
This is how the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun appeared to archaeologist Howard Carter when he discovered it in 1922.
King Tut's Tomb in 3-D
Tutankhamun's tomb and its contents, as viewed in a 3-D model. A corridor led to an antechamber and an annex filled with objects. The antechamber opened into the coffin chamber with King Tut's sarcophagus. The coffin chamber led to another small room filled with King Tut's treasures.
Two tiny mummified female fetuses were found in the tomb with the king. But they were not the only companions placed in the tomb for King Tut's journey to the afterlife. The boy king was buried with more than 5,000 priceless objects, including this treasure chest.
The famous gold throne found in the tomb was ordered when Tutankhamen became king at the age of nine.
The dead king in the underworld was akin to the sun at night and, in the New Kingdom, this was identified with the god of death, Osiris. The heads of lions corresponded to the time the sun god spent in the body of the god of heaven in feline form. The facial details of the lion head –- the rims of the eyes, tip of the nose and tear ducts -- are given almost life-like properties through the use of glass.
Hired Help for the Afterlife
These figures were supposed to take the place of the king in performing the daily tasks that came up in the afterlife. A total of 413 of these figures, known as ushabtis, were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. Among the collection, 365 were responsible for carrying out day-to-day duties, 36 ushabtis served as overseers for groups of 10 workers each, and 12 acted as monthly supervisors