It was announced on Monday that a team of forensic experts, led by Dr. Chris Naunton of the Cranfield Forensic Institute, Bedfordshire, U.K. have come up with two new important findings, after a fresh examination of the mummy of King Tutanhamun of Egypt.
Since 1922, when the tomb of King Tutanhamun, or King Tut, was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter, the world has been fascinated by the boy king. After ascending Egypt's throne at the age of nine, he only reigned for 10 years.
The first new finding
Naunton became intrigued about the death of King Tut after he found references to the mummy being in a "burned condition" in the records of Dr. Carter. This sparked an investigation into the circumstances of the charring.
In late 2013, Dr. Naunton and his team found papers revealing that a post-mortem had been done in the 1960's using x-rays and a scanning electron microscope. The results revealed the body had been burned.
Research led to the theory that embalming fluids combined with oxygen and the linen used to wrap the body caused a chemical reaction, causing the body to literally "cook" at a temperature of over 200 degrees C. Despite the interest in and study of the remains over the years, this one condition was overlooked.
The second new finding
Theories on what caused the demise of King Tutanhamun abound; one was that he was killed by a blow to the head, while another was that his death was caused by a broken leg. There are additional theories that include several diseases the boy king may have had that could have contributed to his death, including Marfan syndrome, among others.
Dr. Naunton and his colleagues performed a "virtual autopsy" on the mummy, and this revealed a pattern of injuries down one side of his body. Car collision experts were brought in and they created computer simulations of chariot crashes.
The team of researchers theorized that King Tutanhamun died as the result of a chariot crash: a chariot smashed into him while he was on his knees, shattering his ribs and pelvis. A TV special next week on Britain’s Channel 4 will document the results of Naunton's discovery.