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Howard Carter Egyptologist Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen) - King Tut Zahi Hawas Tomb
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Understanding ancient Egyptian Mythology:
Ancient Egyptian mythology involves a great number of deities revolving around different aspects of the natural world. The complex belief system evolved to become skewed towards personalities, with each locality developing varied myths to relate to their own deity. The sun for example was regarded as the main source of life in ancient Egypt, conquering all forces of darkness and evil. However, it was worshipped under different names and represented in different ways (i.e. Aten the sun-disk, the falcon headed god Ra, Atum etc). Consequently, the King was regarded as God’s representative on earth, and was known as “ the Son of Ra”. Amun was the most popular and powerful local Theban deity, who was elevated to supreme deity for political reasons, linking him with the sun God Ra to create Amun Ra : “the King of Gods”. During the New Kingdom, the priesthood of Amun controlled the vast temples, and dominated Egyptians’ lives. However, that came to change when Amenhotep VI abolished the priesthood of Amun, announcing a new belief system revolving around the worship of the Sun God Aten. Amenhotep then changed his name to become Akhenaten, which was synonymous to “ Servant of the Aten”, creating a new capital known as the Horizon of Aten to replace Amun’s city of “Thebes”. In ancient history, such a period of religious transition to supplant the existing God Amun with a new god Aten- the minor god- was known as the Atenism revolution.

King Tut and the transition from Atenism to familiar Egyptian religion:
Although much is uncertain about Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen)’s parentage, a popular theory argues that Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti, who only bore him six daughters. Therefore, Akhenaten decided to marry Queen Kiya – famous as “the greatly beloved wife of Akhenaten” in ancient history- to give birth to a son to succeed him in ruling. Images found on the tomb of Akhenaten depict a royal figure standing next to Kiya’s death bed with a nurse holding a new born “ King to be”, which is believed to be Tutakhenaten. In the year three of Tutankhaten’s reign- which makes him 11 years old- all bans were lifted on the worship of old gods, restoring their religious significance and importance for the God Amun Ra, reversing Akhenaten’s Atenism revolution. Such a remarkable decision would not have been logically taken by a Pharaoh as young as King Tut, and so, historians argue that Ty his vizier was the reason behind such a significant transition to familiar Egyptian religion. The young Pharaoh then changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen)-as known today-, establishing magnificent temples dedicated to the God Amun to revive the religious importance of Amun’s old capital “Thebes”.

Note* Some textbooks refer to King Tut, as Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen) Hekaiunushema, which simply means the “Living Image of Amun”. Moreover, his ascension to throne granted him a praenomen known as “Nebkheperure”, which translates to the “Lord of the forms of Re.

Howard Carter and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb:
Howard Carter was a British Egyptologist employed by Lord Carnarvon. On November 4th, 1922, Carter discovered King Tut’s tomb (marked as KV62) near the tomb of Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings. On November 26th of the same year, Carter contacted his patron, and together they entered the tomb for the first time in 3,000 years to make worldwide headlines, discovering that it was one of three un raided tombs. Carter and his patron were able to unearth 1,700 precious pieces of King Tut’s priceless belongings, which are today displayed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum at Tahrir Square.

Headlines remained for long single-minded on Carter being on top of the ancient Egyptian Curse’s hit list for entering the tomb, which clearly stated at its entrance “ They who enter this sacred tomb shall swift be visited by wings of death”. Carter and his patron were determined to continue their excavation, regardless of the media’s exaggerated emphasis on ancient Egyptian curses, and on February the 16th 1923, Carter opened the inner chamber to see Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen)’s mummy intact for the first time. Carter and his team decided to cut up the mummy into pieces to remove its head from the golden mask to which it was cemented. Ironically, Carter died a decade after entering the tomb, and also after working on it for 17 years to unfold magnificent details, captivating the modern world. Today, visitors can enter Tutankhamun (Tutankhamen)’s tomb in Thebes to watch the King’s body inside the gilded coffin. The burial chamber’s walls depict a magnificent visual of “ the Opening of the mouth” ceremony, which was a ritual performed to the body prior to burial in belief that this would reactivate the sense, so the deceased would function in the afterlife. For those visting Cairo, make sure to check out King Tut’s impressive chamber in the Egyptian Museum to get a deeper insight on the King’s personal belongings. The museum is open daily and charges only $7 as an admission fee.

Zahi Hawas’s revealing in-depth information about King Tut’s life and death :
Many scholars had no idea what caused King Tut’s early death, and so many attempts were made to reveal the mysteries reasons to the modern world. Hence, King Tut’s mummy was scanned three times: in 1968 by the University of Liverpool, then in 1978 by that of Michigan, and last but not least, in 2005 by the Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Dr. Zahi Hawas. It was not until March 8th 2005, where Hawas revealed stunning results about King Tut, backed up by scientific evidence from the CT scan performed on the mummy. The King was said to be 170 cm tall, with large in front teeth and an overbite characteristic like the Thutmosid line of Kings, which he belonged to. In addition, the scans showed that the young King had enjoyed good health, and suffered no signs of infections-unlike what previous scholars had argued- Hawas estimated that King Tut died at 19 years of age, based on physical developments that set upper and lower limits to his age. His head was elongated just like his father (or in some theories his relative Akhenaten), and he suffered from scoliosis. The most important discovery made from the scans, was a fracture in the King’s left leg, which was likely to have occurred days before his death, indicating that it became gangrenous leading to his death. Scientists from all over the world confirmed that this might be the true reason behind King Tut’s death, defying previous research done suggesting that the King was killed.

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