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King Tut Artifacts on Display Again After 30 Years


It has been three decades, but the splendor of King Tut is returning to the United States. A one-year tour across America has begun in Los Angeles. VOA's Paige Kollock explains the allure of one of the world's most celebrated archaeological discoveries.

For the first time since 1976, artifacts from the tomb of King Tutankhamun, also known as "King Tut," will travel from Egypt to America on a one-year visit.

This time around, curators of the exhibit, called "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," are packing displays with more than twice as many gold and jewel-encrusted artifacts, all of which are over 3,300 years old.

Curator David Silverman says each new piece gives further clues about the mysterious life of Tut. "The sculptors' art, the jewelry making, the glass making, everything is incredible."

One hundred thirty artifacts will be shown. Some have rarely or never traveled out of Egypt before. Although Egyptian law mandates that the mummy and his sarcophagus remain at home, the exhibit includes a mini-coffin said to contain his liver. The display will also offer clues as to how the king may have died.

He was originally thought to have been murdered, but scientists and forensics experts have studied computer scans of his mummy that now prove that theory unlikely.

Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic, who sponsored most of the research, says the cause of Tut's death may have been much simpler. “He may have been a reckless teenager, it may have been that he was in a chariot going too fast, and he may have suffered a terrible fate from that recklessness.”

Body scans did reveal a broken leg, which some think was the cause of death, but no one knows for sure. Researchers have also been able to determine the approximate age of the king when he died: 19.

The legendary King Tutankhamun has been a source of mystery for nearly a century. The fascination with the mummy began with the discovery of his tomb in 1922; the first Egyptian royal tomb to be found nearly intact.

His ascent to the throne at age 8, his mysterious, untimely demise, and the rumored "curse" on those involved with his tomb's discovery have captivated the world's attention.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has already sold 250,000 tickets. And a museum spokesperson says they intend to draw thousands more, as people fly in from all over the world for a glimpse of the life of this young king.

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