Tut’s case may be one of the earliest established by genetic tests, but malaria was probably a common scourge then, as it still is. Last year, at least 250 million people contracted the disease, the United Nations estimates, and almost half the world’s population is at risk, mainly in poorer tropical lands. The wasting fever is expected to kill 700,000 children this year.
Malaria courses relentlessly through narratives of history and literature. It blighted the greatness that was Rome, though it may have saved the city from a sacking by Attila the Hun, who may have turned back out of fear of the fever raging there. Archaeologists digging in cemeteries near former marshes around Rome have uncovered evidence of widespread outbreaks of the disease in the empire’s waning years.
News from the Valley of the Kings (Kate Phizackerley)
Reading what has been written in press reports, it's tempting to conclude that the DNA testing of Tutankhamun's family has resolved everything. I don't think that's the case. I want to spend some time on looking at the family tree and chronology because I think it turns up some questions. It also highlights why some margin of error may need to be read into some of the results.
For instance if we take what is being said then we would have:
* Akhenaten reigned for 17 years (I've used his ascension as origin)
* His daughter Ankhesenamun (KV21A) was born in year 4 and was aged 21 - 25 at death
* His son Tutankhamun was born in year 12, ascended the throne at 9 and died aged 19.
As can be seen, that would give us two interesting things. There would be an inter-regnal gap between Akhenaten and Tutankhamun suggesting that there must have been another Pharaoh, possibly two. That's even if we discount co-regencies. But, if there was an intervening Pharaoh, why should be believe that the mummy in KV55 is Akhenaten rather than this other Pharaoh (Smenkhare?)?