Computer Scans Reveal King Tut’s Appearance And New Possible Cause Of Death
The name “King Tut” gives birth to images of powerful royal families of Egypt, of course, it does. Tutankhamun was the last great king of his lineage before the military rule took over the land, and one of the youngest rulers at that. However, the way we visualize this young king is quite different from the way he really looked.
It has also been found that his cause of death is incorrect as well.
So, who was “King Tut”? How did this young king meet his demise? The truth may surprise you!
Tutankhamun took the throne at the age of 9 years old. This child-man ruled Egypt until the age of 19, receiving respect above all in the land.
The popular consensus about his death, says that King Tut was killed in a chariot accident while riding out with his officials. This sounds like a normal incident for that day and age, but unfortunately, it is not true.
The truth is, Tutankhamun had a club foot. Within his tomb, there were countless walking sticks and even a pair of orthopaedic sandals, it is true!
Albert Zink, head of the Institute of Mummies and Icemen in Italy, had a strong opinion on this theory. He believed there was no way a child king could have stood upon that chariot and driven his horses.
It is also said that the leg on the same side had been broken previously as well. It would have been terribly uncomfortable, if not impossible, for Tutankhamun to be upon that chariot at all. It is quite apparent that death took him in some other way.
Zink told this opinion to the U.K. daily, the Independent, and was followed by other researchers who felt the same way.
“Apparently, King Tut had Koehler’s disease, ‘Death of the bones’, and Malaria”, said Ashraf Selim, an Egyptian radiologist.
These are probably the culprits that took the young king from the throne.
The club foot was found by virtual autopsy. This same procedure of using over 2000 computerized tomography scans of the king’s face and body, also discovered that Tutankhamun wasn’t all that attractive either.
According to the evidence, King Tut had a pronounced overbite and lips like a woman. Wow! It seems that we were way off in our idea of Egyptian royalty. It seems that they were no less flawed than we are today.
One more fact
To top it off, Tutankhamun’s parents were siblings. Although this may not have been frowned upon at that time, it did contribute to the young king’s birth defects and obvious shortcomings.
Because his parents were siblings, “King Tut” was born with two doses of the royal lineage of flaws. Yes, the blood was pure, but the result was a young and weakening child to rule the land.
The rule of Tutankhamun ended in the 18th dynasty and gave way to military rule. Although there have been many facts discovered about this ruler, it is clear that his royal lineage was the greatest among Egypt’s royal families throughout history, despite its shortcomings.
A Czech archaeological mission working near the Giza plateau has uncovered the tomb of an ancient Egyptian military official who commanded battalions made up of foreign soldiers, according to a statement from the Egyptian antiquities ministry.
The find has led experts to conclude that ancient Egypt was much more globalised than they once thought, the ministry said. The tomb is believed to have belonged to Wahibre merry Neith, who lived between the late 26th dynasty and early 27th around 500 BC.
His tomb was found about 12km south-east of the Pyramids of Giza, very close to an embalming cache discovered in February, which also belonged to Wahibre-merry-Neith.
The tomb was found by a mission from the Egyptology Department at Prague’s Charles University, one of the oldest in Europe.
The tomb is divided into separate parts by narrow bridges cut into the natural rock.
Measuring 14 metres square, its main well was about 6 metres deep. However, as is the custom in ancient burial sites from the time, there was a smaller and deeper shaft in the middle of the main well that led to the double sarcophagus where Wahibre-merry-Neith was buried.
At the bottom of the deeper well, which measures 6.5 x 3.3 metres, at a depth of about 16 metres, the mission found two sarcophagi, one inside the other.
The outer sarcophagus is made of two large slabs of white limestone, said the ministry’s statement, while the inner coffin is made out of basalt rock and fashioned in the shape of the human body.
The upper part of the basalt sarcophagus was inscribed with excerpts from the 72nd chapter of the Egyptian Book of Dead, according to a statement from mission head Dr Marslav Barta.
The texts depict the resurrection of the deceased and his journey to the afterlife.
The basalt sarcophagus measures 2.30 metres long and 1.98 metres wide.
The sarcophagus did not contain a mummy, leading the mission to conclude that the tomb had been raided around the 4th or 5th centuries AD, Barta confirmed in a statement.
He said his team was able to approximately date the theft because of two ceramic vessels that were left behind in the main well. The upper part of the basalt sarcophagus was found smashed, said the ministry’s statement, suggesting that this was where the graverobbers entered the tomb.
Though the tomb was markedly light on artefacts, the mission was able to extract an intricately carved scarab, around 400 ushabti statues made of faience (a sintered-quartz ceramic material prevalent in ancient Egypt) and two alabaster canopic jars (containers that held the eviscerated organs of the deceased which were an important part of ancient burial customs).
Dr Muhammad Mujahid, deputy head of the Czech Mission, said that “although the archaeological excavations of the cemetery of Wa-ip-Ra Meri Nate did not provide us with many important archaeological finds or elaborate funerary items, this cemetery is considered unique and important”.
He explained that it provides new insight into the turbulent period that marked the beginning of Persian domination over ancient Egypt.
On his part, Dr Waziri said: “The design of this well-tomb has no identical counterpart in ancient Egypt.”
The Dogon Tribe Of Africa And Their Extraterrestrial History
One of the most amazing sources of evidence of our ancestors coming from the stars in the history of the Dogon Tribe of Africa. There are between 400,000 and 800,000 Dogon in a remote civilization in the central plateau region of Mali in Africa.
The Dogon culture is known for its detailed, meaningful art and tribal customs, but the Dogon are mostly known for their ancient, accurate cosmology and the legends of their ancestors from Sirius.
The Importance of the Dogon hit the western world in 1930 when French anthropologists first heard legends from the Dogon priests.
The legends were passed down through many generations and documented through artwork.
The Dogon spoke of an extraterrestrial species from the Sirius Star System, referred to as the Nommos, who visited them on earth.
The Nommos were an aquatic race of humanoid creatures, similar to mermaids. This was amazing to hear because the god, Isis, of Babylon is depicted as a mermaid and associated with Sirius.
The Dogon say that the Nommos descended to earth from the heavens in a great boat, accompanied by extreme wind and loud noise.
The Dogon explained that the Sirius system had a companion star, but it cannot be seen from the earth due to the brightness of Sirius A.
Researchers have found Dogon artefacts dating back over 400 years depicting orbits of these stars.
Years later, in 1970, astronomers finally had good enough telescopes to zoom in on Sirius and they photographed Sirius B. The Dogon were right!
They also identified the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn without the use of a telescope. How could they know this?
Being only 8 light years away, Sirius A is the Brightest Star in the Earth sky. Sirius B is an extremely heavy, dense and tiny white dwarf star, smaller than the earth, but weighing 8X more than our Sun. It is gravitationally bound to Sirius A and part of the same solar system.
White dwarfs form when a star runs out of fuel. They begin to collapse on themselves, not being large enough to supernova.
Going back for hundreds of years ever since the Nommos came to visit the Dogon, they have held a ceremony every 50 years to celebrate the orbit of Sirius A and Sirius B. Astronomers later confirmed their orbit to be almost exactly 50 years!
Ancient Egyptian Mummy Shows Evidence of Nose Cancer
Scientists have been busy trying to find the cause of death of the “Mysterious Lady,” a 2,000-year-old ancient Egyptian mummy whose womb contained an extremely well-preserved unborn fetus. By closely studying her skull, they suspect that this ancient soon-to-be mommy likely died of cancer — a discovery that’s blown the minds of oncologists and Egyptologists alike.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, this mummy was assumed to belong to a male priest. However, ground-breaking work by the Warsaw Mummy Project revealed it was, in fact, female. More surprises arose when they discovered she was also the first known example of a pregnant mummy.
Earlier this year, the Warsaw Mummy Project was astounded when CT scans of the “Mysterious Lady” revealed further evidence that the body’s pelvis cavity contained a fetus. Most remarkably, their study showed that the fetus had effectively been “pickled” by the highly acidic and low oxygen environment of the mummified womb, leaving it in remarkably good condition.
The researchers on the project told IFLScience that they often found themselves being asked how this young woman died, so they decided to find out. Further scans of the pregnant mummy’s skull revealed unusual signatures in the bone that suggest she was suffering from cancer.
In particular, markings on the skull shows signs that modern doctors see in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer, a rare type of cancer that impacts the part of the throat that runs between the back of the nose to the back of the mouth.
“A small pathological change, about 7 millimetres in diameter, a round lesion surrounding an empty space, can be seen on the CT scans, in the bone behind the left orbit. This is most likely a change made by a tumour, possibly a metastatic site,” Wojciech Ejsmond and Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, co-directors of the Warsaw Mummy Project, told IFLScience.
“This type of metastatic change on the bones of the skull occurs, among others, after adenoma, but if it was this type of tumour, histopathological tests will give us a definitive answer. In addition, there are large cavities in the bones of the face, including the nasal cavity, maxillary sinuses, and the palatal part of the maxillary bones,” Ejsmond and Ozarek-Szilke explained.
“The changes in the craniofacial bones are corresponding with nasopharyngeal cancer in modern patients.”
To verify the cancer diagnosis, the researchers need to properly examine the mummy’s tissues. Identifying cancer within the actual tissues could also raise some other possibilities that scientists have excited about.
The team from the Warsaw Mummy Project says that oncologists could determine the “molecular signature” of cancer found in the mummy and then compare it with current cancers. This, they say, could provide some valuable insights into the evolution of cancer.
A bunch of ancient mummies have been discovered with possible signs of cancer in their bodies before. In 2017, scientists discovered the world’s oldest known cases of breast cancer and multiple myeloma in two ancient Egyptian mummies.
The two bodies, dating 2000 BCE and 1,800 BCE, were found buried at the pharaonic necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan and likely belonged to the elite classes of the governing Egyptian families of Elephantine.
Despite their riches and fame, nothing could save them from an untimely death.
Africa’s 2000-year-old trees of life are suddenly dying off
Africa’s iconic baobab trees are dying, and scientists don’t know why. In a study intended to examine why the trees are so long-living, researchers made the unexpected finding that many of the oldest and largest of the trees have died in the past decade or so.
The African baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is the oldest living flowering plant, or angiosperm, and is found in the continent’s tropical regions. Individual trees — which can contain up to 500 cubic metres of wood — can live for more than 2,000 years. Their wide trunks often have hollow cavities, and their high branches resemble roots sticking up into the air.
The researchers — who published their findings1 in Nature Plants on 11 June — set out to use a newly developed radiocarbon-dating technique to study the age and architecture of the species. Usual tree-ring dating methods are not suitable for baobabs, because their trunks do not necessarily grow annual rings.
The trees’ ages were previously attributed to their size. In local folklore, baobabs are often described as being old, says study author Adrian Patrut, a radiochemist at Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania.
Between 2005 and 2017, Patrut’s team dated more than 60 trees across Africa and its islands — nearly all of the continent’s largest, and potentially longest-living known baobabs. To compare the ages of different parts of the trees, the researchers collected samples of wood from the inner cavities and exteriors of the trunks and from deep incisions in the stems, which were then sealed to prevent infection.
Patrut and his colleagues say that their measurements suggest the trees live so long because they periodically produce new stems, similarly to how other trees produce new branches.
The team says that over time, these stems fuse into a ring-shaped structure, creating a false cavity in the middle.
But, surprisingly, the scientists also found that most of the oldest and largest baobabs died during the study, often suddenly between measurements.
Nine of the 13 oldest, and 5 of the 6 largest, baobabs measured died in the 12-year period — “an event of unprecedented magnitude”, says the study.
The researchers found no signs of an epidemic or disease, leading them to suggest that changing climates in southern Africa could be to blame — but they stress that more research is needed to confirm this idea.
In one instance, the researchers observed that in 2010 and 2011, all the stems of Panke, a giant, sacred baobab tree in Zimbabwe, fell over and died.
The team estimates that the tree was 2,450 years old, making it the oldest known accurately dated African baobab and angiosperm. Other trees across southern Africa also died completely or had partial stem collapse.
Local experts welcomed the technique for dating baobabs, but some were sceptical of the team’s findings on the die-off. Michael Wingfield, a plant pathologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, says that the team’s sample was small and did not provide evidence that baobabs are not afflicted by an epidemic. “We know very little about baobab health,” Wingfield says. “There is much more to this picture than purely the fact that the oldest trees are dying.”
Sarah Venter, a baobab specialist at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, says that her team’s ongoing research shows that baobabs may not be as drought-resistant as previously thought — and this could be the cause of the deaths. But lower tolerance for drought would affect all the trees, not just the largest and oldest ones, she says.
Fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ may be more than a million years older than previously thought
The ‘Cradle of Humankind’ is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa that comprises a variety of fossil-bearing cave deposits, including Sterkfontein Caves. Sterkfontein was made famous by the discovery of the first adult Australopithecus in 1936.
Since then, hundreds of Australopithecus fossils have been found there, including the well-known Mrs. Ples and the nearly complete skeleton known as Little Foot.
“Sterkfontein has more Australopithecus fossils than anywhere else in the world. But it’s hard to get a good date on them,” said Purdue University’s Professor Darryl Granger.
“People have looked at the animal fossils found near them and compared the ages of cave features like flowstones and gotten a range of different dates.”
“What our data does is resolve these controversies. It shows that these fossils are old — much older than we originally thought.”
To determine the age of the Australopithecus-bearing sediments at Sterkfontein, the researchers measured radioactive cosmogenic nuclides — aluminium-26 and beryllium-10 — in the mineral quartz.
“Cosmogenic nuclides are extremely rare isotopes produced by cosmic rays — high-energy particles that constantly bombard the Earth,” they explained.
“These incoming cosmic rays have enough energy to cause nuclear reactions inside rocks at the ground surface, creating new, radioactive isotopes within the mineral crystals.”
“An example is aluminum-26: aluminium that is missing a neutron and slowly decays to turn into magnesium over a period of millions of years.”
“Since aluminum-26 is formed when a rock is exposed at the surface, but not after it has been deeply buried in a cave, we can date cave sediments — and the fossils within them — by measuring levels of aluminium-26 in tandem with another cosmogenic nuclide, beryllium-10.”
The team’s results show that the entire Australopithecus assemblage at Sterkfontein dates to 3.4-3.7 million years ago.
In addition to the new dates at Sterkfontein based on cosmogenic nuclides, they made careful maps of the cave deposits and showed how animal fossils of different ages would have been mixed together during excavations in the 1930s and 1940s, leading to decades of confusion about the previous ages.
“What I hope is that this convinces people that this dating method gives reliable results,” Dr. Granger said.
“Using this method, we can more accurately place ancient humans and their relatives in the correct time periods, in Africa, and elsewhere across the world.”
The results were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nabta Playa: The world’s first astronomical site was built in Africa and is older than Stonehenge
Ancient societies all around the world erected massive stone circles like celestial clocks, aligning them with the sun and stars to mark solstices. These early calendars foretold the coming of the seasons, helping civilizations track when to plant and harvest crops. They were also connected with religion and served as special ceremonial sites.
Located in Africa, Nabta Playa was once a large internally drained basin in the Nubian Desert, located approximately 800 kilometres south of modern-day Cairo and about 100 kilometres west of Abu Simbel.
Today the region is characterized by numerous archaeological sites. The Nabta Playa archaeological site, one of the earliest of the Egyptian Neolithic Period, dated to circa 7500 BC.
By the 7th millennium BC, exceedingly large and organized settlements were found in the region, relying on deep wells for sources of water. Huts were constructed in straight rows. Sustenance included fruit, legumes, millets, sorghum and tubers. Also in the late 7th millennium BC, but a little later than the time referred to above, goats and sheep, apparently imported from Western Asia, appear. Many large hearths also appear.
In the 1960s, a prominent American archaeologist named Fred Wendorf wanted to search for the ancient origins of Pharaonic Egypt, away from the Nile River. When he was taken out to the site, he first thought they were natural formations. But he soon realized that the site was once a large lakebed that would have destroyed any such rocks. He would return many times over the course of decades. Then, during excavations in the early 1990s, Wendorf and a team of excavators, including Polish archaeologist Romuald Schild, uncovered a circle of stones that seemed to be aligned with the stars in some mysterious way.
THE FIRST ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATION
By the 5th millennium BC, these peoples had fashioned what may be among the world’s earliest known archaeoastronomical devices (roughly contemporary to the Goseck circle in Germany and the Mnajdra megalithic temple complex in Malta). These include alignments of stones that may have indicated the rising of certain stars and a “calendar circle” that indicates the approximate direction of summer solstice sunrise. “Calendar circle” may be a misnomer as the spaces between the pairs of stones in the gates are a bit too wide, and the distances between the gates are too short for accurate calendar measurements.” An inventory of Egyptian archaeoastronomical sites for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention evaluated Nabta Playa as having “hypothetical solar and stellar alignments.”
Astrophysicist Thomas G. Brophy suggests the hypothesis that the southerly line of three stones inside the Calendar Circle represented the three stars of Orion’s Belt and the other three stones inside the calendar circle represented the shoulders and head stars of Orion as they appeared in the sky. These correspondences were for two dates – circa 4800 BC and at precessional opposition – representing how the sky “moves” long term. Brophy proposes that the circle was constructed and used circa the later date, and the dual date representation was a conceptual representation of the motion of the sky over a precession cycle.
Near the Calendar Circle, which is made of smaller stones, there are alignments of large megalithic stones. The southerly lines of these megaliths, Brophy shows, aligned to the same stars as represented in the Calendar Circle, all at the same epoch, circa 6270 BC. The Calendar Circle correlation with Orion’s belt occurred between 6400 BCE and 4900 BC, matching the radio-carbon dating of campfires around the circle.
A 2007 article by a team of University of Colorado archaeoastronomers and archaeologists (three members had been involved in the original discovery of the site and its astronomical alignment) has responded to the work of Brophy and Rosen, in particular their claims for an alignment with Sirius in 6088 and other alignments which they dated to 6270, saying that these dates were about 1,500 years earlier than the estimated dates. The Sirius alignment in question was originally proposed by Wendorf and Malville, for one of the most prominent alignments of megaliths labelled the “C-line”, which they said aligned to the rising of Sirius circa 4820 BCE.
Brophy and Rosen showed in 2005 that megalith orientations and star positions reported by Wendorf and Malville were in error, noting that “Given these corrected data, we see that Sirius actually aligned with the C-line circa 6000 BCE. We estimate that 6088 BCE Sirius had a declination of -36.51 degrees, for a rising azimuth exactly on the C-line average”. Malville acknowledged the corrections made by Brophy and Rosen, but concluded the C-line of megaliths “may not represent an original set of aligned stele; we refrain from interpreting that alignment.”
They also criticised suggestions made by Brophy in his book The Origin Map that there was a representation of the Milky Way as it was in 17,500 BCE and maps of Orion at 16,500 BC, saying “These extremely early dates as well as the proposition that the nomads had contact with extraterrestrial life are inconsistent with the archaeological record. Inference in archaeoastronomy must always be guided and informed by archaeology, especially when substantial fieldwork has been performed in the region.
They propose that the area was first used as what they call a “regional ceremonial centre” around 6100 BC to 5600 BC with people coming from various locations to gather on the dunes surrounding the playa where there is archaeological evidence of gatherings which involved large numbers of cattle bones, as cattle were normally only killed on important occasions.
Around 5500 BCE a new, more organised group began to use the site, burying cattle in clay-lined chambers and building other tumuli. Around 4800 BC a stone circle was constructed, with narrow slabs approximately aligned with the summer solstice, near the beginning of the rainy season.
More complex structures followed during a megalith period the researchers dated to between about 4500 BC to 3600 BC. Using their original measurements and measurements by satellite and GPS measurements by Brophy and Rosen they confirmed possible alignments with Sirius, Arcturus, Alpha Centauri and the Belt of Orion. They suggest that there are three pieces of evidence suggesting astronomical observations by the herdsmen using the site, which may have functioned as a necropolis.
“The repetitive orientation of megaliths, stele, human burials and cattle burials reveals a very early symbolic connection to the north.” Secondly, there is the orientation of the cromlech mentioned above. The third piece of evidence is the fifth-millennium alignments of stele to bright stars.
They conclude their report by writing that “The symbolism embedded in the archaeological record of Nabta Playa in the Fifth Millennium BC is very basic, focussed on issues of major practical importance to the nomads: cattle, water, death, earth, sun and stars.”
‘Cursed’ Mummies From El-Mezawaa Necropolis Restored
A team from Egypt’s Mummies Conservation Project has finished restoring a group of seven mummies in the El-Muzawaa necropolis in Dakhla oasis, completing the first phase of the project, Gharib Sonbol, head of Ancient Egyptian restoration projects at the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online.
The restoration of Al-Muzawaa necropolis mummies came within the framework of the project, which was launched three years ago by the ministry to preserve and maintain all mummies stored in Egyptian storehouses.
Aymen Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the ministry, explains that the project started with the conservation of mummies in the Mostafa Kamel gallery storehouses in Alexandria and at the Alexandria National Museum, as well as those in the Kom Ushim stores in Fayum.
According to Sonbol, the second phase of the project will begin shortly and will involve the restoration of several more mummies.
He explained that during the recently completed work, the team noted that two mummies have “screaming” faces, a term used to describe mummies with open mouths.
The hands of a third mummy were bound with rope.
“This is not the typical form of mummification, but it indicates that those people were cursed by the god or the priests during their lifetime,” Sonbol said.
He continued that the project offers a great opportunity for restorers to learn more about the death and life of those mummified people.