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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

This is a living example of technology advancement. We accepted things and events attributing their cause to nature and her wrath. However, advancement and technology could give us a different picture. This way, it has become a habit with us to accept everything that history states and dictates. On the process the modern world has found ways to offer a different view on it. In other words, the modern world has turn impossibilities to possibilities. William’s report gives an insight into this. A mummy scanned after a thousand years has opened new avenues regarding a cause of it’s’ death. The mummy referred to here is that of King Tut or Tutankhamen, meaning the living image of Amun. The earlier ruler, Amenhotep-IV has shocked the country by attacking Amun, a major God, smashing his images and closing all his temples. His family had ruled for centuries before the boy king, Tut took over. However, Tut ruled for nine years and then died both mysteriously and unexpectedly.
The scanning of Tut’s mummy also gave an insight as to how mummies were buried. Howard Carter, who scanned the body found it difficult to extract the mummy. The ritual resins had hardened thereby cementing Tut to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. Carter finally had to chisel the mummy away having no other option. Every major point was severed. Tut was buried with gold which was meant to guarantee the resurrection and was also buried with every day things he would need in his after-life. Tut also had things to take on his journey to the great beyond-glittering goods, precious collars, necklaces and sandals, all of pure gold. The computed Tomography scan couldn’t solve the mysterious death of Tut but gave us clues for sure. The X-rays and C.T. scan reveal a startling fact-the breast bone and the Pont ribs of Tut were missing. Such a revelation would not have been possible without technological precision. This fact gives us a clue that Tut, in all likelihood did not die a natural death.

Technology hasn’t been able to give us a definite answer to Tut’s death. However, it has given us a direction to think and proceed. Maybe in future, technology would solve it for us. The whole excavation and the scan required scores of people. It was a grueling job and the workers had a tough time. After the pharaoh was rested in peace again, Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said, “I didn’t sleep last night, not for a second. I was worried. But now I think I will go and sleep.” It just proves how tough the whole process was. In other words, King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned-in death as in life. He was famous when he was alive and his untimely death has raised the necessity to probe the lingering mysteries of this young ruler who died more than 3,300 years ago.

Tutankhamun was one of the Egyptian Pharaohs. He became a king at a very small age of 15 or so but after a short period of time he was probably murdered by his enemies. We have no clues about why he was murdered, by whom, with what, and many others. What we know now is that he was buried solemnly after being mummified and encased in three coffins one in the other. He was buried with gold, silk garments, diamonds and even with under garments because the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. After his grand burial, a pyramid was erected upon his tomb. This is a very famous pyramid in Egypt’s long history. All this happened 3300 years ago.

1.    Who was Tutankhamun?

2.    What do you know about his death?

3.    How was Tutanhamun buried after his life?

Centuries passed. In the year 1920, an archaeologist, Howard Carter, discovered this tomb. Note that it was after 3300 hundred years of Tut’s burial! Carter was a British citizen and therefore he didn’t have the beliefs of the Egyptians. The Egyptians never tried to go near Tut’s tomb because they had feared that going near Tut’s tomb was disasterous. It could invite the Pharaoh’s curse! Like other British citizens, carter also believed that this was just a superstition to keep thieves away from the tomb and from the enormous wealth buried with the little Pharaoh. Anyway carter was not scared. He decided to take Tut’s body out.

1.    Who was Howard Carter?

2.    What discovery did he make in 1920?

3.    What superstition had prevailed about Tutankhamun? Did Carter believe this? Why?

But taking Tut’s body wasn’t that easy. Carter and his team broke the three gold coffins one after the other. Finally they broke the innermost coffin and saw the dried, hard body of Tut! It was really wonderful to see the dead body of a 3300 year old mummy and to know for sure that his name was Tutankhamun. Don’t you think so? I would have felt a creeping feeling!!! However, Howard carter was a strong heart. He then decided to take the body out of the coffins but soon realized that that was not so easy because the body had got hardened with the resins and separating the body from the coffin was IMPOSSIBLE! But Carter could not think of leaving the body there. He feared the thieves who could destroy the mummy for stealing the valuable wealth inside, so Carter decided to cut Tut’s body into pieces.

1.    Why wasn’t it easy to take out Tut’s body out of the third coffin?

2.    Why could not Carter think of leaving Tut’s body in the tomb?

That really happened: Carter amputed Tut’s hands, legs and all the other joints. You can call it a kind of a 21st century murder of a 1300 BC Pharaoh and the Murder was committed by HOWARD CARTER. Carter had no other option because for him the mummy was more important than the treasures. Having taken the sliced pieces of Tut, Carter rejoined them into Tut again.Why did Carter ampute Tut’s body? Well, Carter received criticisms from everywhere for killing an ancient mummy but Carter went ahead with his discovery. After some years, probably after Carter’s death, a doctor performed an Xray and found out that one of Tut’s bones was missing from his reassembled body. How did it happen? No one knows! Years passed and archaeologists and scientists performed a number of studies and experiments.

1.    Why was Carter criticized?

2.    Do you think Carter was absolutely wrong in amputing Tut’s body? Why?

3.    What did the Xray images reveal of Tutankhamun?

The most remarkable experiment performed on Tut’s body was that his whole body was CT Scanned in the year 2001. The first Pharaoh to be CT Scanned and Xrayed! The first Egyptian to taste the most modern scientific treatment! The first man to be honored with modern technology! Tut is outstanding, amazing, lucky.
1.    How is King Tutankhamun ahead of his countrymen and all the men who lived and died on this earth?

Questions & Answers

1.    When was Tutankamun’s mummy first discovered?

2.    What are the modern world’s speculation about his death? OR What new clues has the scientific world got about the life and death of Tut?
Tutankhamun’s mummy was first discovered in the year 1920 by archaeologist Howard Caretr’s team. The modern world speculates that he was the last of the Pharaohs of a powerful dynasty. He was less than twenty years when he was probably murdered whereas he became king at a very younger age.

3.    What are the facts behind the curse of the Pharaoh?

4.    Why did Howard Carter ampute Tut’s mummy?

5.    Give an account of Tut’s funerary treasures.

6.    King Tutankamun was outstanding during his life and beyond that. Explain.

7.    What were Howard Carter’s contributions to archaeology? Why was he criticized for the same?