Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Documentary preview: Tutankhamun: Secrets of the Boy King

National Geographic (Steven Stanek)

An unusual level of interest in Tutankhamun was bound to occur now that the Tutankhamun exhibition is coming to London, and a TV documentary is being shown in UK television on 30th October 2007, which is previewed on the National Geographic website:

King Tutankhamun likely died after falling from his chariot while hunting, Egypt's top archaeologist says in an upcoming TV documentary, offering new insights into the boy pharaoh's long-debated death.

Tutankhamun is widely thought to have died of an infection stemming from a broken leg, after CT scans in 2005 revealed a severe fracture in his left thighbone, challenging

"He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has overseen recent examinations of the pharaoh's mummy.

"Falling from the chariot made this fracture in his left leg, and this really is in my opinion how he died."

Hawass made the comments in the film Tutankhamun: Secrets of the Boy King, a documentary scheduled to air October 30 on Britain's Channel Five.

The new theory stems largely from examinations of some of the 5,000 artifacts found in the king's tomb, which suggest he was an active, sporting young man and not the sheltered and fragile boy often portrayed by history.

See the above two-page article for the full story.

The Independent on Sunday also covers the documentary:

Until now, many historians had assumed that he was treated as a rather fragile child who was cosseted and protected from physical danger. However, Nadia Lokma of the Cairo Museum said that a recent analysis of the chariots found in the tombs of the pharaohs indicated that they were not merely ceremonial but show signs of wear and tear. Hundreds of arrows recovered from the tomb also show evidence of having been fired and recovered. "These chariots are hunting chariots, not war chariots. You can see from the wear on them that they were actually used in life," Dr Lokma said.

A cache of clothing found in Tutankhamun's tomb, which was stored in the vaults of the Cairo Museum, suggest that he was accustomed to riding these chariots himself. They include a specially-adapted corset which would have protected the wearer's abdominal organs from any damage from an accident or the heavy jostling of a chariot ride.

A final piece of evidence comes from a garland of flowers placed around the neck of Tutankhamun's mummy. Botanists found it included cornflowers and mayweed that were fresh at the time the decoration was made.

See the above page for more.

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