Happy birthday, curse of Tutankhamun. The rumor that some mysterious force set out to kill the team who opened the tomb of the boy pharaoh turns 90 today (April 5).
On April 5, 1923, Egyptologist Lord Carnarvon, the 57-year-old financial backer of the Tutankhamun search who opened the tomb along with Egyptologist Howard Carter, died of an infected mosquito bite he’d slashed open while shaving. Carnarvon’s failing health spurred a media frenzy that gave birth to the myth of the “Mummy’s curse.”
“Finally, the world’s press had a story had a story they could publish without deferring to The Times,” the newspaper that had an exclusive deal to report on the Tutankhamun tomb opening, Joyce Tylsdesley, an Egyptologist at the University of Manchester, said in a statement. Read more.
The popular ITV drama Downton Abbey has made Highclere Castle a hit with tourists. But now the stately home is hoping to attract visitors for a very different reason.
This grand 19th century mansion, so familiar to TV viewers, is the real-life ancestral seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. And almost a century ago, the fifth Earl was part of a significant find.
Ninety years ago, in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, he helped the fabled archaeologist Howard Carter to discover a wall of gold within the Shrine Room of the tomb of the ‘boy pharaoh’ Tutankhamun.
To mark the anniversary of the discovery, a visitor attraction has been created in the cellars of Highclere Castle - to give an impression of what was uncovered in November 1922. Read more.
In recent years, DNA analysis has shed light on the parents of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, the boy king Tutankhamun, known to the world as King Tut. Genetic investigation identified his father as Akhenaten and his mother as Akhenaten’s sister, whose name was unknown.
French Egyptologist Marc Gabolde offered a different interpretation of the DNA evidence on Thursday. Speaking at Harvard’s Science Center, Gabolde said he’s convinced that Tut’s mother was not his father’s sister, but rather his father’s first cousin, Nefertiti.
Nefertiti was already known to be Akhenaten’s wife and in fact the two had six daughters. Gabolde believes they also had a son, Tutankhamun, and that the apparent genetic closeness revealed in the DNA tests was not a result of a single brother-to-sister mating, but rather due to three successive generations of marriage between first cousins. Read more.
TUTANKHAMUN’S mysterious death as a teenager may finally have been explained. And the condition that cut short his life may also have triggered the earliest monotheistic religion, suggests a new review of his family history.
Since his lavishly furnished, nearly intact tomb was discovered in 1922, the cause of Tutankhamun’s death has been at the centre of intense debate. There have been theories of murder, leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria, sickle-cell anaemia, a snake bite - even the suggestion that the young king died after a fall from his chariot.
But all of these theories have missed one vital point, says Hutan Ashrafian, a surgeon with an interest in medical history at Imperial College London. Tutankhamun died young with a feminised physique, and so did his immediate predecessors.
Paintings and sculptures show that Smenkhkare, an enigmatic pharaoh who may have been Tutankhamun’s uncle or older brother, and Akhenaten, thought to have been the boy king’s father, both had feminised figures, with unusually large breasts and wide hips. Two pharaohs that came before Akhenaten - Amenhotep III and Tuthmosis IV - seem to have had similar physiques. All of these kings died young and mysteriously, says Ashrafian. Read more.
Around the world today, searchers are stumbling upon a gilt- and sepia-toned artifact of the Internet age—a Google doodle heralding the 138th birthday of Howard Carter, the British archaeologist who discovered the ancient Egyptian tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922.
The King Tut find brought Carter overnight—and lasting—fame, but it was anything but a stroke of luck, experts say.
“Everyone likes to use the phrase ‘stumble upon,’ and that always ticks me off a little bit,” Yale University Egyptologist John Darnell said.
Carter spent decades as an archaeological excavator exploring burial sites in ancient Thebes (now Luxor) before finding the roughly 3,000-year-old resting place of Tutankhamen, Darnell pointed out.
“Carter found [the tomb] in a methodical way … He did all the necessary background work,” he added. “He didn’t simply look for the door of a tomb, but rather he went at it in a way that we would probably characterize today as a form of landscape archaeology. Read more.
CAIRO, April 3 (UPI) — The man known as Egypt’s Indiana Jones is facing charges for a $17 million deal he made with the American Geographical Society, a prosecutor said.
General Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud said former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass is accused of wasting public money and stealing antiquities for arranging Tutankhamun exhibitions in the United States and Australia, Egypt’s Ahram Online reported.
The deal Hawass made allowed the transfer and display of 143 objects from the Egyptian Museum to Washington in 2003.
Egypt’s director of archaeological sites has requested the objects be returned to the museum.
The case against Hawass has been turned over to the Public Fund Prosecution Office. (source)
“IT IS normal,” Robert Connolly exclaims, poring over the faded pages of an obscure, decades-old book. Connolly has found an image that appears to settle the controversy over whether the boy king Tutankhamun had a club foot. As with many mysteries related to the famous mummy, the truth is hard to pin down.
The argument started last year when a team led by Egypt’s then-chief of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, reported that Tutankhamun’s left foot was severely deformed.
Hawass’s team CAT-scanned the mummy in January 2005. Their subsequent paper, published in 2009, noticed no foot-related problems. Then a reanalysis concluded that Tutankhamun’s left foot was in a sorry state. The authors diagnosed club foot, two diseased metatarsals, and a missing toe bone.
The finding that Tutankhamun was disabled made headlines around the world. But Connolly - a researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK, and part of a team that X-rayed the mummy in 1968 - is convinced it is wrong. Read more.
In Cairo, Patrick Cockburn sees seven archaeological sites opened to tempt back visitors who have stayed away since the Arab Spring
Egypt has opened to the public the tombs of leading retainers of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun at Saqqara, south of Cairo, in a desperate bid to lure back tourists who have avoided the country since the revolt in February that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Unemployed guides at Saqqara, one of the great archaeological sites of the world, speak hopefully of the publicity surrounding the grand opening of seven tombs boosting foreign interest in Egypt’s past. They stress that never before have visitors been able to see the tomb of Maya, Tutankhamun’s treasurer, with its scenes of bearers bringing offerings, or of the young pharaoh’s general, Horenheb, with incised stone carvings of his military victories.
But it may some time before fascination with ancient Egypt will be enough to make tourists forget the recent television pictures they have seen of fighting in Tahrir Square. At Saqqara, dominated by the 4,500-year-old brick-step pyramid of Zoser, even the souvenir sellers who used to try to harass visitors into buying over-priced trinkets, guide books and photographs, have given up trying. Read more.