King Tut died after being struck by a chariot during a race held in Egypt roughly three thousand years ago in the year 1323 B.C., new research suggests. But could it really be that one of the most famous men to ever live or die was merely the unfortunate victim of an ancient pedestrian-versus-vehicle collision?
According to The Mirror, Egyptologist Dr. Chris Naunton of the Egypt Exploration Society says 'yes.' Dr. Naunton has performed what is being called a 'virtual autopsy' on King Tut, the boy pharaoh whose untimely death has been the subject of both wild speculation and scientific study for as long as anyone can remember. Specialists in car crash technology have also analyzed Tut's injuries and created chariot crash simulations on computers that reportedly determined the chariot theory was not just viable but likely.
King Tut Chariot Race Death: Runaway Chariot Killed Boy King, Says Ancient Egypt Expert
Dr. Naunton believes the chariot that killed Tut struck him as he was kneeling on the ground. Obviously, no explanation for why the king was on the ground in the path of a speeding chariot on race day will ever truly be given or known; speculation as to that aspect will no doubt continue. Could he have been stooped to examine his own chariot, perhaps? Was it a set-up? If Tut's death was an accident, how was the aftermath handled; just what would have become of a run-of-the-mill chariot racer who mistakenly took out the king of ancient Egypt?
King Tut first came to power at the tender age of 10, and ruled for nine short years before his mystery-shrouded death. As the Daily Mail stated in an article this week, "[Tutankhamun] was the last of the royal line from the eighteenth dynasty of the New Kingdom, one of the most powerful royal houses of ancient Egypt."
Interestingly, when the body was being prepared for entombment, no heart was found in Tutankhamun's chest. A high-impact trauma to his body may explain this seemingly alarming discovery; the 19-year-old's heart could have simply exploded from the force of the chariot and the resulting pieces of the organ were just not recognized for what they were when the body cavity was being cleaned.
King Tut Chariot Race Death Not Bad Enough, Pharaoh Also Burned Inside Coffin
Speaking of how the mummified body of young King Tut was prepared, researchers have also determined that the embalming process appears to have been botched in some way prior to his royal burial, and the pharaoh actually caught fire inside his solid-gold sarcophagus! (This guy could not catch a break.)
A small piece of charred flesh was in good enough shape to be tested (after 3,000 years!) and helped confirm Tut's skin was burned posthumously and while sealed in the sarcophagus. Researchers say evidence suggests oils used in the ancient embalming process may have been a factor in the closed-coffin fire.
King Tut's tomb was first found by Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon in 1922.