Thousands of New Artifacts Discovered Near King Tut's Tomb, and More are Coming
Intriguingly, this is happening precisely 100 years after the discovery of King Tut's tomb.
The allure of Egypt’s ancient Boy King, Tutankhamun — King Tut — engages even the most atrophied imagination. Both his life and especially his death are almost fictitiously perfect. Discovering King Tut’s tomb was a story in itself, shrouded in mystery and legends of ancient curses, ending with a long-lost buried treasure even more magnificent than anyone dreamed.
Exactly 100 years later, luck struck again just a few miles away from King Tut’s tomb in Saqqara, Egypt, near Giza. World-renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who’s also Egypt's former state minister for antiquities, and many other archeologists unearthed a giant trove of ancient artifacts and mummies in a string of connected coffin rooms 65 feet beneath the surface.
King Tut’s Discovery
No doubt you’re familiar with the story of King Tut. King Tutankhamun is known as the Boy King because he became Pharaoh at the young age of nine years old and ruled for only ten years before dying around the year 1324 B.C. at 19 years old. These days he’s arguably the most famous pharaoh name, but we knew nothing about him until 100 years ago when archeologists discovered his tomb.
Thanks to technology, we know King Tut likely suffered several pathologies, such as Köhler disease II—a rare bone disorder known for a painful swollen foot — but none of them were fatal. He also had a curved spine, cleft palate, and a weakened immune system, ultimately losing the battle to malaria and a broken leg.
Genetics indicate King Tut was the grandson of the great pharaoh Amenhotep III and likely the son of Akhenaten — a controversial figure from 18th-century Egypt history. The infamous Nefertiti became a wife to Akhenaten and King Tut’s stepmom. Akhenaten arguably gave Nefertiti more power than any woman held before her.
Together, Akhenaten, and some say, Nefertiti, upended a centuries-old religious system of worshiping many gods and forced Egypt’s population to worship a single god, the sun god Aten. They also moved Egypt’s religious capital from Thebes to Amarna. Though early on during his reign, King Tut reversed Akhenaten’s rules by restoring Thebes as the religious center and reviving previous worship practices.
That whole period is fascinating, but we knew little about it until King Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered on November 4, 1922, by British archaeologist Howard Carter.
The tomb managed to stay miraculously safe from graverobbers and was found completely intact. Like a fairytale, the tomb was bursting with over 5,000 artifacts — including four massive shrines covering three golden coffins, an ornate throne, containers of wine and beer, various furniture, chariots, clothes, 130 of the king’s walking sticks, and weapons including a golden dagger meant to protect him in the afterlife.
The abundant treasure and subsequent deaths of some of the people involved in discovering the tomb unleashed rumors that King Tut’s tomb was cursed. Though experts insist they’re just fables created from active imaginations.
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