Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hawass on Tutankhamun (Zahi Hawass)

With photos of Hawass.

DNA and CT scan analysis of the mummy of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Tutankhamun (ca. 1333-1323 BC) and of mummies either known or believed to be members of his immediate family have revealed startling new evidence for the young king’s lineage and cause of death. An additional outcome of the new study, in which DNA analysis was able to be used effectively on ancient Egyptian mummies for the first time, is that several previously unidentified mummies can now be given names. These studies were carried out by Egyptian scientists and international consultants a as part of the Family of Tutankhamun Project, under the leadership of Dr. Zahi Hawass. These findings have been published by JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, in their February 17, 2010, edition (Volume 303, no. 7).

The principal conclusions made by the team are that Tutankhamun’s father was the “heretic” king, Akhenaten, whose body is now almost certainly identified with the mummy from KV 55 in the Valley of the Kings. His mother, who still cannot be identified by name, is the “Younger Lady” buried in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35). The mummy of the “Elder Lady” from the same tomb can now be conclusively identified as Tutankhamun’s grandmother, Queen Tiye. New light was shed on the cause of death for Tutankhamun with the discovery of DNA from the parasite that causes malaria; it is likely that the young king died from complications resulting from a severe form of this disease.

Asharq Alawsat (Zahi Hawass)

At a press conference for international media figures held by the Supreme Council of Antiquities last Wednesday at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, I announced that important [archeological] discoveries had been made that shed more light on the dynasty of the golden pharaoh Tutankhamen. These discoveries marked the beginning of a new chapter in using modern techniques and advanced technology in the field of archeological discoveries.

For many years, Egyptian mummies remained silent, disclosing only a few of their secrets until modern science came and presented to us a new key to the secrets of the mummies, particularly those belonging to the same dynasty. These methods are represented in the deoxyribonucleic acid technique, known as DNA testing, and the CT-Scan. At long last, after a full comprehensive 18-month study of the mummy of King Tutankhamen that is preserved in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, and of other mummies believed to be from the same dynasty, we have set up a DNA laboratory at the basement of the Egyptian Museum and another at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine where two teams of distinguished scientists worked. Each team worked separately in its own laboratory away from the other, and both were assisted by German scientists who specialize in studying DNA.

At the press conference, I announced that the mummy in tomb KV55 is King Akhenaten who bewildered scientists and researchers either in their search for his mummy or in studying the conditions of his time.


Tony Holmes said...

The current exchange of information on the cause of Tutankhamun's death is not as cut and dried as Dr Hawass would have us believe. I believe it is in the interest of balance to publish the following comment by Prof Ashraf Selim:

Study author Ashraf Selim, professor of radiology at Cairo University, told Discovery News that malaria could have been indeed the cause of death for King Tut.
"The type of malaria found is what is sometimes refered to as malignant malaria as being the most viscious of all types and certainly might have lead to his death," Selim said.
However, Selim does not rule out some other interacting causes.
"The fracture of his thigh bone might have had complications like septiceamia (blood stream infection ) and fat embolism (fat in the blood reaching the lungs). Both can lead to the death of an individual," the researcher said.

Anonymous said...

All is not as cut and dried as what's his name would have us believe. Not everyone accepts his pronouncements as the final and only word.

René O'Deay said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one not afraid to question Hawass' edicts.