King Tutankhamun
18th Dynasty, Egypt, 1334-1325 B.C.
Exterior of shrine (left) showing two representations of the king and queen. Kemet (Egypt), as part of African culture in general, tended to give women unusual status and importance. The representation of King Tut and Queen Ankhesenamon, for example, show the queen having a far more important presence than we would expect in the art of Western Asia, for example.

Queen Nefertiti had six daughters; King Tut married one of them, his half sister. Ankhesenamon was thirteen years old when she became the wife of Tutankhamun when he was only nine years old. Tutankhamun succeeded Smenkhkare in 1334 B.C., but only ruled about 10 years. The teenage queen apparently suffered two failed pregnancies: the miscarriage of a 5-month-old female fetus and a stillborn baby girl. (Both were mummified and buried in Tutankhamun’s tomb.)

King Tut was born most likely in city of Ankhetaten (present-day Tell el-Amarna). Little is known of Tut’s childhood. There is considerable archaeological and textual evidence indicating that King Tut was the grandson of Queen Tiye. King Tut's parents was probably King Akhenaten, and a secondary wife Queen Kiya. See also King Tut's family tree.

King Tut died around 1325 B.C. at the age of about 18 [source], leaving behind a mystery of his death. English archaeologist Howard Carter and his excavation team in 1922 had badly mangled the mummy of Tut. A bone fragment detected in his skull during a 1968 X-ray was caused not by a blow, but by the embalmers or by Carter’s rough treatment.

After King Tutankhamun died, Queen Ankhesenamon took some drastic measures perhaps because she was afraid of the priests and the power of general Horemhab, which was growing. Horemhab was stirring up opposition to Amarna and the worship of the god Aten. Ankhesenamon wrote to the chief of the Hittites, Suppiluliuma, who was an emerging power in the northern Mediterranean. She offered herself and the throne of Egypt to one of his sons. Prince Zananza set out for Egypt, but was murdered on the border of Egypt. It is probable that he was killed by general Horemhab's military agents.

The man chosen to succeed Tutankhamun was Kheperkheprure Ay, who was master of horse in Thebes. Ankhesenamon was given to Ay as his bride. Some believe that Ay was the father of Queen Nefertiti, which would have made him Ankhesenamon's grandfather. Together, they assumed the throne before Tutankhamun was buried. Kheperkheprure Ay died in 1319 B.C., but Ankhesenamon disappeared before his death. She was replaced by Kheperkheprure Ay's wife, Tey.

King Horemheb, was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty.
The Face Beneath the Mask

Feast your eyes on the face that hasn't been seen for 30 centuries and see how the latest medical science is shedding light on the man behind the mask. Scientists and special-effects experts on three continents have teamed up to recreate a face which they say is the closest image yet of the boy king.

Egypt's most famous face has been brought back to life with the help of facial-reconstruction expert Dr. Robin Richards. So how was it done?
The Golden Throne

This chair is by far the most spectacular of the six found in Tutankhamun's tomb. The wood frame was wrapped with sheets of gold and silver and then inlaid with an array of semiprecious stones, faience and colored glass, which together were worked into a wealth of symbolic and decorative elements. Finely detailed lion's legs support the chair, while the arm panels take the form of winged uraei (or cobras) surmounted by the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. Partially visible is the exquisitely rendered chair back, which depicts Queen Ankhesenamun anointing her husband beneath the life-giving rays of the sun disc.
The Science Museum, United Kingdom
click to enlarge
Nut greeting Tutankhamun (left to right)

Burial chamber: rear wall (center part)
New Kingdom, Dynasty 18
Valley of the Kings East Valley, Thebes West Bank, Thebes
One of a pair of life sized statues of Tutankhamun that were found either side of the entrance to the burial chamber. This one stood at the right hand side.
Death mask of Tutankhamun, was placed over the head and shoulders of his mummy.
It is inlaid with blue glass and lapis lazuli.
click to enlarge
click to see more photos
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Treasures within the tomb
Perfume Box


A double perfume box of gold and silver pedestal, in the shape of two cartouches, having plumes for lid.
Back: The young King represented in similar attitude to the front, but as King, and on the left with a black face on the right a light flesh colored face.
Ancient Africa
Massive hinged gold hoop-shaped bracelet found on the mummy of Tutankhamun. Its central plaque bears a large gold scarab inlaid with lapis lazuli. All the floral and block-decoration is inlaid with lapis lazuli, turquoise, cornelian and quartz in colored cement.

From the tomb of Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings, W. Thebes. 18th Dynasty (1334-1325 B.C.)
Two of the bracelets found on Tutankhamun's arms. The massive rigid hinged gold example (a) has a cylinder of turquoise inset into a plaque smothered with applied wire and granulation. The other (b) has a flexible strap of gold and glass beads attached to a circular gold plaque, also highly decorated, with a central lapis lazuli inset.

From the tomb of Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings,
W. Thebes. 18th Dynasty (1334-1325 B.C.)
Click to enlarge
Description: Click to enlarge
United Kingdom
Reconstruction 2002
French Reconstruction 2005
Tut's mummy [Source]
"Facial reconstruction is destined to remain an art, albeit an increasingly informed one. The shape of the face bears only a restricted resemblance to the underlying bone structure. Facial reconstructions are inherently inaccurate, therefore, and cannot be used as a positive proof of identification – certainly not in a court of law. Like many things in archaeology, a facial reconstruction is a scientifically-informed artistic recreation – an interpretation." 
Computerised 3D facial reconstruction web site
Painted Wooden Torso of the King wearing a royal crown with a cobra, found at the Antechamber.
King Tutankhamun and
Queen Ankhesenamon
American Reconstruction 2005
Egyptian Reconstruction 2005
Burial chamber:
Right Wall -- Book of the Dead, spell 1: funeral procession
Tutankhamun is lying on a deathbed. The sledge is towed by
12 persons of which nine probably are representing the '"The nine friends of the king". Following are the two viziers of the South and North. All persons pulling the sledge wear a wig and a white headband. White headbands are still used by relatives at funerals in nowadays Egypt. They all wear white sandals in a shape identical with the two pair found in Tutankhamun's tomb. [more images]
Primary Source:
Egyptologist W.M. Flinders Petrie, famously known as "The Father of Pre-history". Petrie, excavations at Nagada and Ballas in Upper Egypt nearly 100 years ago unearth nearly 2200 ancient graves.  He wrote over a thousand books, articles and reviews reporting on his excavations and his finds.

From his book The Making of Egypt, by Flinders Petrie, Emeritus Professor of Egyptology, University of London, The Sheldon Press, 1939. page 155:


109. The Nubian Mixture.—The later Hyksos were obviously decadent, and at last an invasion from the south threw them back northward and established a black queen as the divine ancestress of the XVIIIth dynasty. Thus again a southern people reanimated Egypt, like the Sudani Illrd dynasty and the Galla Xllth dynasty."

"The black queen Aohmes Nefertari had an aquiline nose, long and thin, and was of a type not in the least prognathous (L.D., III, i). Nefertari must have married a Libyan, as she was mother of Amen-hetep I, who was of fair Libyan style. This black strain seems to have come through the Taoa I and II ancestry; but the whole tangle of the XVIIth dynasty is complex, and very difficult to bring into a definite scheme, owing to the tombs having all been robbed, and the contents mixed by Arabs more than a century ago. In any case the main sources of the XVIIIth dynasty were Nubian and Libyan, depicted black and yellow (L.D., III, i) but not the red of the Egyptian. A possibility of the black being symbolic has been suggested." -- Flinders Petrie

Migrations. (The Huxley Lecture for 1906)
by W.M. Flinders Petrie
The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 36, (Jul-Dec., 1906), page 14.

"The change at the rise of the XVIII Dynasty was the invasion by a small dark race from Nubia, like the present Berberis. Such is the type of the royal mummies then. But probably not a great number came down, as the space there is but small, and the movement seems rather to have been a successful heading of the forces of Egypt itself. The result from the skulls of this age (curves 60 to 64) show the same two stocks as before in Upper Egypt, approximated but not yet fused together."-- Flinders Petrie

Images courtesy of
King Tut comes to the US
Courtesy of Cairo Museum
Source of image Cairo Museum
Source of images Theban Mapping Project.
King Tut - Click on photo to enlarge
Egyptian Way of Mummification
dates approximated
dates approximated
History of the Boy King (simplified)
2005 Update: Tutankhamen Fraud Alert!
The Griffith Institute
Tutankhamun: Anatomy of an Excavation
The Howard Carter Archives
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Tutankhamen 'killed by sickle-cell disease'

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