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King Tut

The Story of King Tut

King Tut's Reign

Canopic Stopper
Canopic Stopper: An image of King Tut fashioned out of calcite. These ornate carvings served as stoppers for the canopic coffinettes that held Tuthankamun's organs.

Tut was born during the Amarna Age around 1343 BCE and became king around 1333 BCE when he was only nine or ten years old. He reigned for only about nine years before his premature and unexpected death.

Akhenaten, Tut's father, introduced the worship of one god, Aten, and forbade the worship of all other gods in this age. He closed down temples and overturned traditional religious practices. Tutankhamun was originally named Tutankhaten, in honor of this new religion. When he became pharaoh after his father's death, however, he restored the traditional gods and changed his name to Tutankhamun, after the god Amun.

While King Tut is the most well known pharaoh today, he was considered a minor king in the broad scope of Egyptian history. His name was omitted from the lists of rulers kept by the ancient Egyptians because of his association with Akhenaten. His unexpected death cut his reign short, and he had no children to succeed him.

King Tut's Death

Even after more than three thousand years, scientists and historians are still writing King Tut's story. Numerous theories have been proposed about what led to the young king's death, and changing technology has informed the various interpretations throughout the years.

Howard Carter, who discovered Tut's tomb, performed the first analysis of Tut's mummy by hand on November 11, 1925. The process took four days, and Carter's team uncovered and recorded several artifacts hidden within the wrappings of Tut's mummy. As analysis technology developed, x-rays were performed in 1968, revealing damage to the base of Tut's skull, which raised speculation about his death. The most recent and thorough analysis of his mummy was performed in 2005 using CT scans and DNA studies, which have disproved the theory that Tut was murdered by a blow to the head. A current theory suggests that a compound fracture to Tut's left thigh may have led to infection resulting in death.