November 4th, 1922 was the date in history that saw the breakthrough to the tomb of the as yet undiscovered Tutankhamun. After over 30 years of working and studying in Egypt, archaeologist Howard Carter finally found the steps leading down into what is arguably the most famous of the ancient tombs.
Howard Carter, along with his friend and sponsor Lord Carnarvon, had spent years and years of searching for the rumoured tomb of King Tut, suspending their research for the duration of World War I, and resuming it as soon as they were able after its conclusion. By the autumn of 1922 the hunt was most definitely on and they made their exciting breakthrough in the afternoon of November 4th. It was in the days afterwards that they made progress clearing the passageways and blocked stairs down into the tomb, but they still did not know for certain that the tomb they were excavating was the one for which they had been searching for so long.
It took a further month or so for the tomb to be fully investigated and excavated, and along the way Carter and his team discovered that a number of robberies had taken place in the 3000 years since it was sealed.
Since Tutankhamun has been removed, along with all his grave goods, many many teams of investigators and researchers have examined his mummified remains. Theories about how the Ancient Egyptians treated their dead have changed over the years and there is still more to be learned from them.
This October saw the publication of the results of the latest round of examinations and investigations on Tutankhamun’s remains using CT scans and a “virtual autopsy”, Many outlets reported on the investigation, which concluded that the Boy King, as he is affectionately known, died at the age of around 15 years old, possibly from the result of a thigh injury and not from a chariot crash as had been previously thought. The report also concluded that he had a club-foot, “womanly hips”, protruding teeth, a cleft palate and a pronounced overbite. His parents were brother and sister, who in turn were probably born to a brother and sister union, which probably accounts for his physical defects.
This is recreation of how Tutankhamun would have looked before he died using CT scans, X-rays and computer reconstruction techniques. It just goes to show that even though his tomb was discovered 92 years ago, interest in who he was and how he came to die so young has never waned, and what was started by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter in the late 18th Century is still as compelling to modern historians and archaeologists today.
If you would like to find out more about the latest round of investigation on Tutankhamun’s remains, please visit this article from the Telegraph, or if you live in the UK you can pick up the BBC’s programme on iPlayer.