King Tut Died From Broken Leg, Not Murder, Scientists Conclude

Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News
December 1, 2006

King Tut probably died from a broken leg, scientists say, possibly closing one of history's most famous cold cases.

A CT scan of King Tutankhamun's mummy has disproved a popular theory that the Egyptian pharaoh was murdered by a blow to the head more than 3,300 years ago.

Instead the most likely explanation for the boy king's death at 19 is a thigh fracture that became infected and ultimately fatal, according to an international team of scientists.

The team presented its results this week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, Illinois.

"I think it is the end of the investigation. … We can now close this file," said team leader Ashraf Selim, a radiologist at Kasr Eleini Teaching Hospital at Cairo University in Egypt.

But the research effort may add to rumors surrounding the infamous "curse of Tut."

During their investigation, the scientists experienced several mysterious occurrences, from a freak sandstorm to a strange power outage.

"People love to say it's the curse [whenever strange things happen around King Tut]," Selim said, chuckling.

"Of course, being a scientific man, I don't believe in these things."

No Skull Fractures

Tutankhamun, who ascended to the throne at the age of eight, was mummified and buried with other ancient royals.

His tomb, filled with 5,000 artifacts, was discovered near Luxor, Egypt, in 1922 by a team of archaeologists led by Howard Carter.

Continued on Next Page >>


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