King Tut is one of the best known royal family members of ancient Egypt, with his golden mask often serving as an icon for the study of ancient Egypt and even world history.
This Egyptian king actually made a bigger impact on the world centuries after his death than he was ever able to make in his short life.
Despite how brief his reign over Egypt, King Tut has become one of the most famous icons in world history.
Why Is King Tut So Famous?
King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut, is so famous because his burial tomb allowed archeologists to better understand what the burial of the king was supposed to look like.
Thanks to the tomb’s seemingly untouched state, archaeologists were able to learn a lot of new information surrounding the lives and deaths of the ancient Egyptians.
King Tutankhamun was a boy king who has been seen as both a pawn and beacon of rebellion during his short reign.
His tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 by controversial archaeologist Howard Carter after being funded by the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert.
While some recounts of their discovery state that they were working by candlelight and the discovery was shocking, other accounts have stated that the men were trespassing illegally and were simply trying to sneak into the tomb before the authorities arrived.
When the men peered into the tomb, they found the walls were stacked with exquisite treasures such as lapis-lazuli bracelets, nephrite rings, an ornate suit of leather armor, golden sandals, chariots, walking canes, a fan made from ostrich feathers, board games, musical instruments, plenty of jars of wine and beer, and pectorals that were made from glass paste, silver, and gold.
The sheer amount of riches and the quality that managed to endure was unmatched by any other tomb that archeologists of the time ever opened before, even when compared to the tombs of other royal family members.
Unlike the majority of tombs that were opened by archeologists, King Tutankhamun’s tomb was completely untouched by the hands of thieves.
Those who want to see what remains of King Tut’s belongings that are still in Egypt should visit the Grand Egyptian Museum complex, also known as the Giza Museum.
How Old Was King Tut When He Became King?
King Tutankhamun was only nine years old when he first ascended to the throne and is estimated to have been born somewhere around 1341 B.C.E.
He was the son of King Akhenaten, who had greatly shaped ancient Egyptian culture.
King Tut’s father was the king who moved the empire’s capital from Thebes to Amarna.
Akhenaten is also known for making ancient Egypt a monotheistic society from a previously polytheistic society, ordering that his people only worshiped the sun god, Aten.
One of the first changes that young King Tut decided to reverse was the controversial rule his father made, allowing his people to worship whichever god they wanted to.
While some people saw many of his early decrees as pawn work for his advisors, others saw this as a rebellious move against his father’s strict rule.
The citizens seemed to vastly prefer King Tutankhamun to his father due to the way Akhenaten’s controlling nature put a damper on ancient Egyptian art and culture, which is something that quickly changed under the rule of the boy king.
After spending the first three years of his rule in Akhetaten, King Tutankhamun decided to move his residence to Memphis and set up a new administrative capital in Cairo.
During this time, he changed his name to Tutankhamun and began devoting his time to the restoration of temples, images, and privileges of the old gods his father sought to destroy.
Although King Tutankhamun was too weak to properly lead the Egyptian military, he became a major figure among artists and churches.
A majority of his work as king was fixing the things that his father had destroyed.
For a decade, King Tut served as Egypt’s ruler until he died of malaria at only 19 years old.
He became the most famous mummy ever found.
Was King Tut Sick?
Yes, King Tutankhamun suffered from many health conditions that could be connected to the sheer amount of inbreeding going on in the ancient Egyptian family.
According to a study from the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Tubingen, it was likely that King Tutankhamun suffered from intense pain and medical problems from a very early age.
One of the first things that researchers discovered about King Tut’s body was the abnormal shape of his head, hips, and even his legs.
His left foot was clubbed, and the bones in his toes were dying due to a degenerative disease.
The disease most likely made his feet swell past the point of being able to walk without assistance, which explains why his tomb was lined with hundreds of walking canes.
According to genetic tests done, researchers discovered that Akhenaten was married to his sister and even Tut’s own wife was likely either his sister or half-sister.
Despite the problems caused by inbreeding, these problems most likely did not contribute to his death on their own.
Instead, most people have pointed to the severe case of malaria that King Tut was suffering from before he died.
As if malaria and severe medical problems weren’t enough, King Tutankhamun also had a severely broken right leg.
This means that he couldn’t walk on his left side because of the degenerative disease in his foot, but he couldn’t walk on his right because the entire leg was broken.
In the time leading up to his untimely death, this boy king was suffering immensely and still managed to rule an entire empire with the approval of his people.
Although he lived for less than two decades, King Tutankhamun changed history both in his life and well after his death.
Did King Tut Have Any Children?
Yes, King Tutankhamun had two daughters with his wife and sister, who was his only wife or lover.
Due to the practices surrounding childbirth and the severe case of inbreeding occurring in the royal family, both his daughters were likely stillborn.
When King Tut’s belongings were being cataloged, researchers stumbled across an undecorated wooden box that was about two feet in length that was originally tied into position and sealed with the jackal and nine captives.
Although the seal depicting a jackal and nine captives had broken over time, the box itself was unphased.
This box stood out in the ornate tomb because of its lack of fancy designs.
When the box was opened, there were two miniature anthropoid coffins placed next to each other.
Although these coffins were very similar, one coffin was slightly bigger than the other.
The researchers decided to open the smaller coffin first, which was a little less than 20 inches in length.
Inside the coffin was another coffin, which is where a small mummified body lay with a tiny royal mask going over the face.
The first mummy was a little less than a foot in length and was preserved in near-perfect condition.
When the researchers opened the second set of coffins, they found another mummified infant that was about 15.5 inches in length and had not been preserved as well.
After the bodies were researched by Douglas Derry in 1932, he concluded that both children must have died before or shortly after childbirth.
One of the mummified infants still had the umbilical cord attached to it.
Later research of one of the bodies discovered that the child suffered from Sprengel’s deformity with a congenitally high right scapula, spina bifida, and scoliosis.
Had these children lived, they may have ended up like their father.
Whom Did King Tut Marry?
King Tutankhamun married his sister, Ankhesenamun, who was the third oldest of the six daughters of Akhenaten.
She became her brother’s wife when he was only between eight and 10 years old, making her about 13 years old at the time of their marriage.
Alongside her sisters Meritaten and Meketaten, the trio became known as the “Senior Sisters” and began attending many functions in the government and their church.
Prior to becoming the wife of King Tutankhamun, Ankhesenamun also served as the wife of her father Akhenaten alongside her sisters.
Akhenaten attempted to father children with his three eldest daughters, causing the second oldest daughter to die during childbirth.
Following the death of her father, Ankhesenamun was married to King Tutankhamun as they attempted to undo the work of their father.
When King Tut died at 19 years old, Ankhesenamun was left in her early 20s without a spouse or an heir to the throne.
This meant that their paternal grandfather Ay had to step into the role of ruler, with some reports claiming that Ankhesenamun then married Ay.
After Ay’s equally short reign, Ankhesenamun seemed to disappear from history.
Nobody knows where she was buried, and there have yet to be any funerary objects found with her name on them, leading people to question what happened to her following the death of Ay.
Can The Public See King Tut’s Tomb?
Yes, King Tutankhamun’s tomb has been in the process of reopening to the public after years of carefully curated restoration efforts that started back in February of 2009.
This restoration effort was led by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute to help bring back one of Egypt’s most popular tourist attractions.
The organizations are currently trying to find the perfect balance between the amount of tourism allowed to take place in the tomb and maintaining the tomb for future generations.
Some major changes were made to the tomb, with the belief that these major changes would allow the tomb to last even longer.
The first of these changes was the addition of a new air system, which promises to prevent the colors of the wall paintings from fading.
By adding this new air filtration system and ventilation system, the humidity generated by visitors will no longer create moisture in the air that causes the paint to fade.
The air filtration system also helps collect dust that visitors are bringing in on their shoes, allowing the walls to go longer between delicate washings.
This expensive renovation was paid for by the Getty Conservation Institute and doubled as one of the most in-depth studies of the tomb of all time.
In order to properly restore the ancient tomb, researchers spent countless hours on every small detail inside the tomb.
This allowed them to see what was aging and what was the artistic style of the time.
Although the project was in the name of preserving history, there was a lot of political turmoil over the project that caused it to take a decade.
While some were eager to see the tomb in a better state, others questioned whether it should still be a tourist destination.
What Happened To King Tut’s Mask?
In 2014, the golden beard of King Tutankhamun’s iconic mask was broken clean off during a routine cleaning.
While an employee was lightly cleaning the mask, the long beard came off in his hand.
In a panic, he used a strong adhesive glue to quickly put the priceless artifact back together.
As even hobbyist antiquers know, modern glues can cause there to be a gap between the break and the original surface of the object.
The piece was then put back on display, causing the museum to get countless claims of the object having been broken.
They tried to sweep the situation under the rug by claiming that the damage was unfound, but an investigation was opened in 2015.
While everyone could understand how the mask could have broken during cleaning, the problem was that the workers did not follow proper restoration procedures and caused even more damage by not repairing the artifact to museum standards.
This situation resulted in eight people being charged with negligence and violation of the professional rules of the workplace, which includes six restorers and two former head officers of the restoration section at the museum.
In order to fix this botched attempt at repair, the museum was forced to bring in experts to restore the priceless piece.
This is the second time that King Tutankhamun’s mask has been damaged while in an institute that was tasked with keeping it safe.
Does King Tut’s Tomb Have A Secret Tomb Attached?
No, King Tutankhamun’s tomb does not have any secret tombs or chambers attached to the main tomb.
Archeologists had hoped that if Tut’s tomb had a secret chamber, it would be the long-lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti.
The idea of King Tutankhamun’s tomb having a secret chamber first resurfaced in 2016 when some archeologists claimed that organic material or metal could be hidden behind the decorated walls of his final resting place.
When this theory was first announced, archeologists claimed that there was a 90% chance that there was a hidden chamber somewhere surrounding the boy king.
However, the chance plummeted to 0% only a couple of years later.
An Italian team of researchers was brought to King Tutankhamun’s tomb in order to use ground-penetrating radar to survey the area surrounding the royal tomb.
Despite their best efforts, the radar team didn’t find a single corridor or room attached.
Archeologists were devastated by the results of the radar survey, with many archeologists firmly believing that finding a secret room could be the discovery of the century.
Although Queen Nefertiti may not be in her husband or son’s tombs, the hunt for her final resting place continues to be a primary goal for modern archeologists in Egypt.