It was all settled. CT scans revealed that Tutankhamun had a nasty leg fracture, and in 2007 Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, rendered his verdict: "He was not murdered as many people thought. He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert. Falling from a chariot made this fracture in his left leg and this really is in my opinion how he died." Septicemia (blood infection) or a fat embolism (release of fat into the blood stream) was to blame, and science had, through Hawass, spoken.
Everyone duly recalibrated their images of Tut. Long dismissed as a minor, ineffectual child pharaoh, the "Boy King" was reimagined as an avid sportsman. Now, further analysis of Tut's CT scans, those of close relatives, and DNA studies may require another image makeover, thanks to results just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by Hawass, Carsten Pusch (a DNA specialist from the University of Tübingen), and colleagues. But did the researchers get a little ahead of the evidence in some of their interpretations?
Monday, April 19, 2010
More questions about the JAMA paper on Tutankhamun
Archaeology Magazine (Mark Rose)