Monday, March 14, 2011

Theories Revealed of King Tut's Death

The Death of King Tut

As I mentioned in my previous review of The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson and Martin Dugard, we will never know what really killed King Tutankhamen (King Tut). However, we do have enough circumstantial evidence to come up with several possible theories, which may give us a better idea of what led to King Tut’s demise. This is what I’m going to discuss here today, but I would like to start off by briefly discussing his life as pharaoh of Egypt to give you a better idea of who he was and where he came from.

History of the Boy King Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen was the son of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, who was responsible for desecrating the Egyptian religion by removing the sun god Amun and replacing it with Aten, which means the sun. The Egyptians hated him for it because they were no longer allowed to worship Amun but instead were forced to worship Aten, which meant nothing to them. Akhenaten married the beautiful yet ambitious Nefertiti, who later went on to become pharaoh herself once Akhenaten died. Nefertiti was unable to provide a male heir to the throne; however she did give birth to many daughters. 

Akhenaten had a second wife named Kiya who was successful in producing a son, Tutankhamen. However, Tutankhamen was viewed as being only half a god since he was the son of Kiya and not Nefertiti. Sadly, Kiya died while giving birth to Tut and Nefertiti decided to raise Tut as if he was her own son. Once Akhenaten died, Nefertiti knew Tut’s position as pharaoh would not be secure so she devised a plan to have Tut marry his half sister and lifelong companion, Ankhesenamon. Tut was only 9 years old when he married his 13 year old half sister. 

King Tut was beloved by his people for restoring the Amun Priesthood, although, he was not loved by all his people. Both his vizier Aye and his general Horemheb were jealous and it is believed they both plotted against the young boy king. Tut only reigned for about 10 years until he died around 1325 B.C. at the age of 19, leaving behind a mystery of his death.

Theories of King Tut’s Death

The death of King Tut has baffled the minds of many world renowned and well respected scientists and Egyptologists. One of the reasons why it is hard to pin point the actual cause of death is due to the unfortunate fact that Carter’s team dismantled the corpse while looking for precious amulets and jewelry. Also, one member of Carter’s team decided to cut Tut out of his sarcophagus since he was stuck to it like glue due to the embalming practices. 

One theory, which to me sounds most reasonable, is that Tut died from gangrene as a result of a broken bone. Scientists ran a CT scan of Tut’s mummified body and found a severe fracture in his lower left femur, which appeared to be different than the breaks caused by Carter’s team because it had ragged rather than sharp edges and there appeared to be two layers of embalming material present inside the fracture. This means the break occurred before Tut died maybe from him falling during a chariot accident.

Then another part of the team believes that this can’t be possible. They state that if the fracture had occurred while he was alive then there would have been evidence of a hemorrhage or hematoma present in the CT scan. To back up this argument they believe that the embalming liquid must have been pushed into the fracture by Carter’s team, which to me seems highly unlikely. 

Another theory and probably the most controversial theory is that Tut was murdered. Many believe this to be the cause of death because a fracture to the back of the skull was revealed in an X-ray of his mummy. A trauma specialist at Long Island University believes that this could not have been caused by an accident. However, another team of specialists agrees that there is “NO evidence for murder present in the skull of Tutankhamun. There is NO area on the back of the skull that indicates a partially healed blow. There are two bone fragments loose in the skull. These cannot possibly have been from an injury from before death, as they would have become stuck in the embalming material. The scientific team has matched these pieces to the fractured cervical vertebra and foramen magnum, and believes these were broken either during the embalming process or by Carter’s team". 

According to Dr. Hawass “it has long been suggested that King Tutankhamen may have been poisoned, so in fact, if we are not certain as to how he died, then murder cannot yet be ruled out.”
I have also heard other theories that King Tut died of malaria and that at the time of his death he was not in good health. He had a severely impacted molar that caused him a great deal of pain and there’s evidence that suggests he may have had a cleft lip and a clubbed foot. So as you can see there are many different theories as to how King Tut died and no one knows for sure how he really died. I think people want to believe he was murdered because it makes for a better story and it’s more interesting than dying of gangrene, but it's definitely a possibility. I have provided you with all the facts and so now I will leave it to you to decide and contemplate how Tut died. 

Here are some pictures of the treasures found in his tomb. 

I'm very interested in hearing what you think may of killed King Tut and also some of your opinions and thoughts on this topic. Please comment because I'm very curious as to what others think.

Here is an AMAZING video done by National Geographic called King Tut's Final Secrets. It discusses all the theories as to how he may have died while also discussing “The Curse of King Tut” which explains the random deaths and weird occurrences to those who were present at the excavation of his tomb.


  1. Loved this post! And Hawass is my favourite Egypotologist - I recently bought his autobiography Secrets of the Sand but haven't got around to reading it yet.

    Personally I do think Tut's death is suspicious, but then he was the product of incest and his health was weak. It's a shame we'll never know for sure.

  2. @Sam
    I'm glad you like this post! It took forever to write and compose. I love Dr. Hawass too and the video I posted above features him and his teams research. I didn't know he has an autobiography out...I should look into reading it. I too think Tut's death was suspicious and I would REALLY like to know if it was from fowl play or just natural causes.


  3. I saw this documentary. I was saddened at how much damage the mummy acquired at hands of recklessness at his first discovery. I think it is sooo interesting that no one knows what happened to him and everyone cares.

  4. What a great post.So full of information.Loved the video.So many people are interested in King Tut.Wouldn't it be great to really know what happened instead of only guesses?Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. @ April

    I would LOVE to know what really happened to him but sadly I don't think we ever will :) Glad you liked the post and thanks for commenting!


  6. I love Egyptology!
    I think that the fractured leg was most likely, but there are way to many things that could have gone wrong for an absolute answer. I think its interesting to see how his body was affected by his breeding.
    I still can't believe that Carter's team man handled him so badly. That is history and treasure!

  7. My mother, a former RN, believes that Tut may have died from a fat embolism as the result of his broken leg.

    Minor correction - the recent DNA tests strongly suggest that Tut was actually the son of Akhenaten and his full sister, not Akhenaten and Kiya, as was previously thought. :)

  8. recently I came up with a theory that King Tut may have died during the Plague of the First Born from the bible. This would explain why his father is the only pharoah who's grave hasn't been discovered because the Egyptians would have been embaressed that he let the Hebrews go and lost so much of Egypts army. It's possible that they may have been so upset with him that they didnt even bury him at all. Also Scientists do not know how King Tut died which led me to think that he must have died by Gods hand or the angel of death.

  9. King tut....son of akenaten...was a hybrid like his father...half human..half for the truth....ask yourself a few questions....why is king tuts mummy so famous?? His dna contains alien genes...why is this "famous king" shrouded in mystery..but we know so much about other pharoahs?? Wake up people...the truth is out there..and dr.hawass is full of shyt..he is a liar..a glory hound who doesn't want the truth about the pyramids or the pharoahs to be known