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Cause of King Tut's Death Remains Mystery

  • Robert Raffaele

Thanks to modern technology, scientists in Egypt have ruled out some theories about a centuries-old mystery. New tests show that Egypt's most famous ruler - King Tutankhamun - commonly referred to as King Tut - did not die a violent death. But the exact cause of death remains a mystery.

The Egyptian-led research team poured over 1,700 CAT-scan, images of King Tut's mummy. X-ray exams performed in 1968 found bone fragments inside his skull, suggesting Tut was struck on the back of the head. Others believed his chest might have been crushed in a chariot accident. But Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, says the new images show no signs of foul play or injuries related to a crushed chest. However, he suspects a previously undetected injury might have caused a deadly infection.

Doctor Zahi Hawass says, "We found that he had a fracture on the left leg. And that fracture proved to have happened a few days before he died. It was before mummification, and therefore it could happen, we are not sure, it could (have) happened that he died because of this accident."

Doctor Hawass says there's still a possibility that King Tut may have been poisoned. But he says researchers probably never will learn the exact cause of death. However, the CAT-scan results provided some new insights about the king, who ruled 33-hundred years ago. They show he was healthy, with a slight build, and stood about 170 centimeters tall (5 feet, six inches) at the time of his death.

He was also 19 years old, the first time his age has been firmly established.