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Mummies have fascinated the public imagination since they were first discovered, and one of the most interesting mummies is King Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh. But in addition to his tender age, King Tut is a fascinating person, and a fascinating mummy.
1. Unlike nearly any other mummy from the 18th Dynasty, King Tut was mummified with lots of resin poured over his body to keep it preserved. Unfortunately, that led to some serious damage of the body, which was seared away. Some Egyptologists suspect that when he died he wasn’t near anyone who could give him the proper mummification.
2. Another odd element of Tut’s mummification was his penis, which was actually mummified erect.
3. King Tut’s penis actually went missing in 1968. People thought that it had been stolen, but it turned out that it had just fallen off into the sand next to him and was rediscovered in 2006.
4. No one knows why Tut died so prematurely. He appears to be about 18 years old at time of death. People suspect everything from infectious diseases to murder, and one recent book suggested that it was a chariot accident. But it seems unlikely that forensics will ever be able to tell us exactly what happened.
5. Tut was the result of a family that involved some serious inbreeding. His parents were identified as siblings thanks to DNA testing on their mummies, and he even married his own half sister Ankhesenpaaten.
6. Before he died, Tut and his wife had two daughters, but both were stillborn. Their remains were left in the pharaoh’s tomb and allowed researchers to use DNA analysis to locate the mother’s mummy in a separate tomb.
7. Tut’s coffin is made of solid gold. It’s so heavy that it takes eight men to lift it.
8. The resins that were used to mummify Tut led to some serious problems when archaeologists tried to remove the mummy from his tomb. It had turned hard and stuck him to the bottom of the coffin, so the archaeologists broke off his arms and legs, cut off his head, and sawed his body in half before scraping all the bits out with hot knives.
9. It’s likely that he had a club foot or some other impairment as he was buried with 130 walking sticks.