Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues
- By A.R. Williams
About the Author
A.R. Williams lives in Virginia. He developed a love for reading at a very young age and in the fourth grade, when an assignment to write their own works of fiction was given, it occurred to him that he could craft tales for others to enjoy.
A.R. Williams' work has appeared in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Three Crow Press, and Every Day Fiction. A.R. received an honourable mention in the fourth quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest in 2010.
This chapter deals with a story on exploration carried out to find the mystery surrounding King Tut’s death. It gives a brief description of the struggle taken by the team to extract the remains from his coffin. This chapter is a narration of the experience of researchers while exploring his coffin and highlights the process of forensic reconstruction. The story presents the efforts of archaeologists to unravel the mystery of Tut’s death which seemed more like a murder. It is about medical technology being used to investigate such intricate cases.
Zahi Hawass – Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. He is one of the members of the team of researchers, and very particular about getting the details right. It also shows that he is extremely focused on this project as he exclaims that he was not able to sleep thinking of the seriousness of this extraction and reconstruction.
Howard Carter – He is the British Archaeologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb in the year 1922. This discovery was sensational as it was successful after years of futile searching. He was not able to separate the body from the other belongings buried along with the Kings body. He justified his action of chiselling away the consolidated material from the body to raise the king’s remains.
Amenhotep III – King Tut’s grandfather who was a powerful pharaoh and ruled for almost four decades.
Amenhotep IV – Successor of Amenhotep III. He promoted the worship of Aten and changed his name to Akhenaten. Amenhotep IV also moved the religious capital to Akhetaten. He attacked the Amun, a major God and smashed his idols.
Tutankhaten – Widely known as King Tut. He was just a teenager when he became a ruler. He also changed his name to Tutankhamun; reigned for about nine years and died unexpectedly. The speculation of his death gave rise to exploration to find the truth. His mummy became the first one to be examined using a CT scan.
The story Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues, is a description of the exploration conducted by a team of researchers. It gives the account of struggles the team faces to unravel the mystery of the death of a teenage ruler, King Tut. The story highlights the change in the methods of archaeology from a few decades back to the present era of modern technology. It gives you an idea about the kind of exploration conducted in 1922 by Carter when there was no modern method to extract the remains.
It also helps you understand the revolution in the field of archaeology which is due to the modern equipment and sophisticated methods being used to give accurate results. The story helps you to understand the collaborative efforts of all the team members involved in this project. The tomb of King Tut is extracted. You will also understand the concept of life after death, a concept in ancient times was thought that you could carry all your belongings to the new life hereafter. The tomb was thus, filled with belongings of King Tut like razors, necklaces, wines which were for the King to use after death.
The main focus is laid on the process of forensic reconstruction of the remains to find the cause of death and the age when the king died. The modern method of CT Scan is used, and King Tut’s body was the first to be put under scan. The scanner picked up images of the King’s body and the anatomy was conducted much to the relief of the team members.
The mummy of King Tut
As the mummy of King Tut was glided for performing a CT scan, angry winds stirred, and dark clouds covered the stars. His scan was being done to unearth the mysteries that had surrounded his death.
Tourists had lined to pay their respects to the ‘mummy’ of the famous Egyptian king Tutankhamun and made speculations about his untimely death.
The mummy was in a very bad state, according to Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. King Tut’s tomb was first discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, a British archaeologist. Tut was found buried with numerous “funerary treasures” in a coffin made of pure gold. The treasures found included precious collars, inlaid necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, a ceremonial apron, sandals and sheaths for his fingers and toes. These treasures are till date the richest royal collections ever found. Some everyday items considered to be needed in the afterlife, like board games, bronze razor, linen undergarments, cases of food and wine were also found. This revealed that the ancient Egyptians believed in the idea of resurrection and hoped to take their riches with them.
Carter’s investigations and the problems faced
Carter investigated the three nested coffins. In the first, a shroud adorned with garlands of willow and olive leaves, wild celery, lotus petals and cornflowers were found. This gave vague evidence that the death might have taken place in the month of March or April.
Carter faced difficulty in extracting the mummy of the king out of the coffin. The ritual resins had hardened resulting in cementing of Tut to the bottom of the solid gold coffin. Though Carter unsuccessfully tried to use sun to loosen the resins, there was no other way left to separate the mummy from the adornments than to chisel it away. Its head had to be removed and the major joints had to be detached.
The only ground for Carter to defend himself for chiselling Tut was that thieves would have ripped the body apart to rob the gold, if he had not chiselled it.
As the archaeology changed with the advent of time, it focused more on details of life and mysteries of death than on treasures. Some 40 years after Carter’s discovery, in 1968 a startling fact was revealed, in the discovery of an anatomy professor who had X-rayed the mummy. He claimed that the breastbone and the front ribs of the mummy were missing.
Tut’s family history
Amenhotep III (Tut’s father or grandfather) ruled for almost four decades during the 18th dynasty golden age. He was succeeded by his son Amenhotep IV who pioneered one of the odd periods in the history of ancient Egypt. He made some drastic and unpleasant changes. He promoted the worship of the Aten, the Sun disk, and changed his name to Akhenaten. He moved the religious capital to the new city of Akhetaten. He made some drastic unpleasant changes. He destroyed the images and temples of Amun, a major god. After his demise, a ruler named Smenkhkare reigned for a brief time. Finally, Tutankhaten (the name was later changed to Tutankhamun) took the throne and restored the old order destroyed by his predecessors. He reigned for about nine years.
The death of King Tut
Tutankhamun or King Tut as he’s widely known today, died as a teenage pharaoh (ancient Egyptian king) and buried laden with gold. He was the last heir of the family of rulers who had ruled Egypt for centuries. His unexpected demise was a big event and the reasons for his death remained unclear. Two of the biggest questions are still unanswered about him – “how did he die, and how old was he at the time of his death?”
The CT scan
In the year 2005, (more than 3,300 years after his death), King Tut’s mummy became one of the first mummies to undergo a CT scan- “in death, as in life, moving regally ahead of his countrymen.” The CT scan was led by Zahi Hawass and done with a portable CT machine. The scan came up with new clues about his life and death. It provided precise data for an accurate forensic reconstruction of King Tut. Due to sand in the cooler fan of the CT machine, they had to use two plastic fans to complete the scanning process.
Tut’s body was examined over a computer screen with the help of the CT scan. It showed a grey head, neck vertebrae, a hand, several images of the rib cage and a transection of the skull. After collecting the data for scan, the Pharaoh is sent back to the place he belonged, i.e. his coffin. It was a relief for Zahi Hawass as “nothing had gone seriously wrong” with the mummy.
After their observations, when they left, the wind had stopped, and the surrounding came to a deathly silence. In the sky, just above the entrance to Tut's tomb stood Orion, the constellation, also called by the Egyptians as the soul of Osiris, the God of afterlife, watching over the boy king.
Understanding the Text
Question 1(i): King Tut’s body has been subjected to repeated scrutiny.
Answer: Since the time King Tut’s body was first discovered in 1922, it has been subjected to repeated scrutiny. This is due to the fact that King Tut died at an incredibly young age. He died as a “boyish pharaoh” leaving behind numerous mysteries associated with his death.
Various investigations, from discovering his remains to excavating his body and studying it under the CT scan, have been done just to find out the medical mysteries of his death.
Question 1(ii): Howard Carter’s investigation was resented.
Answer: Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, was the first archaeologist to discover King Tut’s tomb in the year 1922. His was a great discovery but during the investigation process, he damaged the mummy to a great extent. As the body was found cemented to its gold coffin, it was impossible to move it. Finally, to separate the mummy from its adornments, Carter decided to remove its head and break nearly every major joint. Due to this his investigation was resented.
Question 1(iii): Carter had to chisel away the solidified resins to raise the king’s remains.
Answer: Due to the hardened resins, the King’s body was found cemented to the solid gold-bottom of the coffin such that “no amount of legitimate force could move them”. The mummy had to be separated as the thieves would escape the eyes of guards and rip the mummy apart to steal away the gold. He even tried to loosen the resins by putting the mummy under the blazing sun. However, every effort went in vain. The only way left for him was to “chisel” it “beneath the limbs and trunk”. Thus, Carter decided to remove the mummy’s head and break the major joints to separate it from its coffin.
Question 1(iv): Tut’s body was buried along with gilded treasures.
Answer: King Tut was buried in a coffin made of pure gold “lavished with glittering goods”. The gilded treasures found included precious collars, inland necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, a ceremonial apron, sandals, sheaths for his fingers and toes. In those times, the royals believed in the idea of taking their wealth with them. Tut was adorned with all such riches for his journey after life. It also gives the idea of the Egyptian belief in resurrection.
Question 1(v): The boy king changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun.
Answer: ‘Tutankhamun’ means the ‘living image of Amun’. Amun was the major god in the ancient Egyptian society whose temples and images were destroyed by a preceding ruler named Akhenaten. He destroyed the ancient religious order of the Egyptians. Tut’s changing of his name represents his efforts in the restoration of the old ways that were once destroyed.
Question 2(i): List the deeds that led Ray Johnson to describe Akhenaten as “wacky”.
Answer: The deeds that led Ray Johnson to describe Akhenaten as “wacky” and comment that “it must have been a horrific time” are listed below.
Amenhotep IV (later known by the name of Akhenaten) led to one of the aberrant periods in the history of ancient Egypt.
He made many unpleasant changes in the social and political order of the country.
He promoted the worship of the Aten, the sun disk, and changed his name to Akhenaten or ‘the servant of the Aten’.
He moved the religious capital from the old city of Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten.
He destroyed the images and temples of Amun, a major god.
Question 2(ii): What were the results of the CT scan?
Answer: King Tut is one of the first mummies to undergo a CT scan. The CT scan came up with some new clues about the life and death of King Tut. It provided precise data for an accurate forensic reconstruction of King Tut. The CT scan displayed the mummy from head to toe creating 1,700 digital X-ray images in cross section. It showed a grey head, neck vertebrae, a hand, several images of rib cages and a transection of the skull.
Question 2(iii): List the advances in technology that have improved forensic analysis.
Answer: Technology has been making a rapid development. The advancements in technology are responsible for improvements in the field of forensic sciences. From the use of X-rays, technology has advanced to the use of advanced Computed Tomography (commonly known as CT scan). In a CT scan, hundreds of X-rays are created in cross-section, like slices. They create a three-dimensional virtual body and with intricate structures. This change in forensic analysis has helped in discovering the mysteries behind Egyptian mummies.
Question 2(iv): Explain the statement, “King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned — in death, as in life …”
Answer: The above line indicates that King Tut’s body was the first to be scanned under a computer tomography machine. Just like King Tut might have led his kingdom when alive, he led the experience of being scanned among the mummies.
Talking About the Text
Question 1: Scientific intervention is necessary to unearth buried mysteries.
Answer:(Such questions are to be done by the students on their own. However, pointers have been provided for the students’ help.) For:
Science helps determine the facts related to the past even in the absence of any living evidence.
It leads to good amount of knowledge about the past events without which things would go in mere speculations.
It helps determine information about ancient cultures, tradition, and people.
The use of advanced scientific tools helps in extracting important facts related to past events.
It helps in determining the time and place of the event.
It gives us important information about the unsolved mysteries.
There is no use of digging the past.
Present is valuable and we must live in the present.
Delving into the past is waste of time and energy.
It is the job of the historians and not scientists.
It is always better to invest one’s resources on the development of living rather than investigating the dead.
Question 2: Advanced technology gives us conclusive evidence of past events.
Answer:(Such questions are to be done by the students on their own. However, pointers have been provided for the students’ help.) For:
With advanced technology such as CT scan, it is possible to solve medical mysteries related to deaths.
It is possible to create a 3-D view of the various body parts.
It provides intricate details through forensics, radiology, and anatomy.
It helps find new clues related to life and death.
It provides data for forensic reconstruction.
Technology such as satellite imaging helps find buried sites.
Date and time of an event can be confirmed through advanced technology.
No use of gathering facts about the past.
It is important to focus on the present issues and events rather than investigating the past.
Even with the help of CT scan, no conclusive evidence could be constructed about Tut.
Question 3: Traditions, rituals and funerary practices must be respected.
Answer:(Such questions are to be done by the students on their own. However, pointers have been provided for the students’ help.) For:
Traditions, rituals, and funerary practices are born out of the sentiments and feelings of a community.
They provide identity to a community.
They maintain continuity of a culture.
They help in transferring the values of ancestors to the new generation.
They add to our knowledge the progress of human civilization.
Traditions, customs, and funerary practices may encourage superstition.
They may hamper the development of the society.
They affect unity.
They could lead to violence and friction between people belonging to different cultures.
Question 4: Knowledge about the past is useful to complete our knowledge of the world we live in.
Past acts as a mirror to our mistakes and teaches us lessons.
Present is the outcome of past.
It helps us understand the progress of the events down the history.
It builds foundation for our present and future.
One must live in the present.
Past is infinite and should be left as it is.
Past should not affect our present life.
Past should not be delved in and must be considered as a gone phase.
Thinking About Language
Question 1: What do you think are the reasons for the extinction of languages?
Answer: Below are listed a few reasons for the extinction of languages.
Migration of people to other lands
Influence of the rulers
Evolution of language due to cultural fusion
Limitation of vocabulary
Absence of written script along with prevalence of oral tradition
Constant changes in the society
Globalization, as it has led to the use of only dominant languages
Question 2: Do you think it is important to preserve languages?
Answer: Yes, it is important to preserve languages as they are responsible for the development of culture of the community. It helps in preservation of one’s heritage and traditions. Language preservation ensures contact with one’s history and literature.
Question 3: In what ways do you think we could help prevent the extinction of languages and dialects?
Answer: Extinction of languages and dialects can be prevented through the following reasons.
Transferring the vocabulary and dialects of the language to the next generation
Teaching the languages in colleges and universities and encouraging students to specialize in the same
Teaching children to use mother-tongue
Remaining connected to one’s cultural roots
Respecting one’s language which will help in taking it forward to the coming generations
Working with Words
Question 1. Given below are some interesting combinations of words. Explain why they have been used together.
Question 1(i): ghostly dust devils
Answer: ghostly dust devils- it points out to the devilish or frightful movement of the dusty winds. It reflects the anger of the winds for disturbing the king from his resting place.
Question 1(ii): desert sky
Answer: desert sky- it refers to the dusty sky of the desert. The barren sky spread over the vast desert region portrays a sad and dry picture.
Question 1(iii): stunning artefacts
Answer: stunning artefacts- items found in the tomb were extremely beautiful. Usage of both the words together explains the ‘eternal brilliance’ of the objects.
Question 1(iv): funerary treasures
Answer: funerary treasures- reference is to the fact that king was buried with numerous things which were no less than treasures as most of the items were made of pure gold.
Question 1(v): scientific detachment
Answer: scientific detachment- it refers to an indifference towards science.
Question 1(vi): dark-bellied clouds
Answer: dark-bellied clouds– it refers to the dark clouds containing rain.
Question 1(vii): casket grey
Answer: casket grey- the words point out to the stars being covered by the ‘dark-bellied clouds’, the way jewels are kept in a casket (a jewel box).
Question 1(viii): eternal brilliance
Answer: eternal brilliance- eternal refers to something that is timeless. Thus, eternal brilliance refers to timeless luster and shine of the jewels and valuables of the king.
Question 1(ix): ritual resins
Answer: ritual resins- resins are used as a customary duty in the process of burying a body.
Question 1(x): virtual body
Answer: virtual body- a body created through electronic images or CT scan. It resembles a real body and provides a noticeably clear view.
Question 2: Here are some commonly used medical terms. Find out their meanings.
CT scan- It refers to Computed Tomography. It provides X-ray image of a body in cross section. It is used for diagnostic purposes.
MRI- MRI is the short form of magnetic resonance imaging. It is a diagnostic tool.
Tomography- It refers to taking pictures of various sections of a human body in a three-dimensional view.
Autopsy- It refers to the post-mortem examination.
Dialysis- It is the process of filtration of bloodstream usually during kidney failure.
ECG- The electrocardiogram is a diagnostic tool that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart in exquisite detail.
Postmortem- It refers to the medical examination and dissection of a dead body to determine the cause of death
Angiography- Angiography is the examination of the blood vessels using x-rays and injecting of a radiopaque substance.
Biopsy- The removal and examination of a sample of tissue from a living body for diagnostic purposes is known as biopsy.
Things to Do
Question 1. The constellation Orion is associated with the legend of Osiris, the god of the afterlife. Find out the astronomical descriptions and legends associated with the following.
(i) Ursa Major (Saptarishi mandala)
(ii) Polaris (Dhruva tara)
(iii) Pegasus (Winged horse)
(iv) Sirius (Dog star)
(v) Gemini (Mithuna)
1. Ursa Major (Saptarishi mandala) Ursa Major is a constellation visible throughout the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It consists of seven stars which form the well-known Big-Dipper. Its name means Great Bear in Latin and is associated with the Legend of Callisto.
According to Sanskrit mythology, this group of seven sages (Saptarishi) also moves around the constant star Dhruva tara known as Polaris.
2. Polaris (Dhruva tara) This star remains constant and always points to the North.
The direction of Ursa Major keeps changing with the passage of the night, but Polaris remains unchanged. It is associated with the legend of Dhruva, the six-year-old boy who was blessed by Lord Vishnu with a permanent and constant abode in the universe.
3. Pegasus (Winged horse) This is associated with Greek mythology as the winged horse sprung from Medusa’s blood. It carries lightning bolts for Zeus. Pegasus’ constellation may be seen when the stars are clearly visible.
4. Sirius (Dog star) This is associated with the legend of Orion. It is called ‘Dog star’ as it represents Orion’s large hunting dog. The first glimpse of Sirius at dawn announced the rising of the Nile in ancient Egypt.
5. Gemini (Mithuna) A combination of two Nakshatras — Aardhara and Punarvasu and having contradictory qualities.
Question 2. Some of the leaves and flowers mentions in the passage for adorning the dead are willow, olive, celery, lotus cornflower. Which of these are common in our country?
Answer: Willow, olive, lotus, and cornflower are common in our country.
Question 3.Name some leaves and flowers that are used as adornments in our country.
Answer: Roses, lotus, mehndi, marigolds, champa and chameli flowers and the leaves of mango, peepal, banana, and tulsi are used as adornments in our country.
Short Questions and Answers
Question 1. How was the atmosphere when King Tut’s body was scanned?
Answer: As King Tut’s body was taken from his resting place in the ancient Egyptian cemetery known as the Valley of the Kings, an angry wind stirred up ghostly dust devils. Dark-bellied clouds had moved across the desert sky all day and covered the stars in grey colour. But when the CT scan was over, the wind had stopped, and the winter air lay still. The clouds were gone, and the Orion constellation of stars was clearly visible.
Question 2. Why is 5th January 2005 a significant date in Tutankhamun’s saga?
Answer:5th January 2005 is a significant date in
Tutankhamun’s saga because on this day, the world’s most famous mummy gilded from head to toe was CT scanned in order to probe the remaining mysteries of this little understood young ruler who had died more than 3300 years ago.
Question 3. Why did the tourists come from around the world? What did they do?
Answer: The tourists from around the world queued up all afternoon and descended into the narrowed rock-cut tomb. They had come to pay their homage to King Tut.
They watched the murals on the walls of the burial chamber. Some visitors read from guidebooks while others stood silently peering at King Tut’s gilded face.
Question 4. What superstition had prevailed about Tutankhamun? Did Howard Carter believe this? Why?
Answer: The superstition of the pharaoh’s curse – death misfortune falling upon those who disturbed him – had prevailed about Tutankhamun. The Egyptians thus never tried to go near King Tut’s tomb and feared it be disastrous. It could invite the pharaoh’s curse.
However, Howard Carter was a Britisher and did not believe this because he thought it was just a superstition to keep thieves away from the tomb and ‘from the enormous wealth buried with the little pharaoh.
Question 5. Do you think Howard Carter was absolutely wrong in cutting King Tut’s body into pieces? Why?
Answer: Carter was absolutely wrong in cutting King Tut’s body into pieces. He damaged the mummy to a great extent and destroyed the natural state of the mummy. Moreover, he did not use scientific methods while excavating King Tut’s mummy, resulting in immense disfiguration of the body. This prevented other scientific investigators from trying to find out the reasons for King Tut’s death at an early age.
Question 6. Who pointed out that the mummy was in a bad condition? Who was held responsible for it?
Answer: Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, bent over the mummy and watched it carefully. He discovered that the mummy was in a very bad condition because Howard Carter cut the body into many pieces, as it was stuck to the bottom of the coffin due to the ritual resins becoming hardened. So, Zahi Hawass held Howard Carter responsible for the bad condition of the mummy.
Question 7. What was the nature of the wealth with which King Tut’s mummy was buried? What were the things of daily use which were buried with him?
Answer: The wealth with which King Tut was buried remains the richest royal collection ever found, and this has become a part of the pharaoh’s legend. The wealth basically contains different stunning artefacts of gold. Tut was also buried with everyday things such as board games, bronze razor, linen undergarments and cases of food and wine.
Question 8. What was the fate of the contents of King Tut’s mummy?
Answer: Even over 80 years after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, surprisingly all its contents were complete. They remain the richest royal collection ever found till 2005. They have now become part of the pharaoh’s legend.
Question 9. What is the significance of the gold in the artefacts found in King Tut’s tomb?
Answer: Tutankhamun was an extremely wealthy pharaoh. When he died, he was buried with numerous artefacts like pieces of jewellery such as precious collars, inlaid necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets etc. Even the inner coffin and mask were made of pure gold. It was believed that the eternal glitter and brilliance of the precious gold will ensure the rising again of King Tut.
Question 10. Why did the artefacts cause a sensation at the time of discovery?
Answer: The artefacts discovered cause a sensation at the time of discovery because they were all made of pure gold. Their brilliance was eternal and never fading. This eternal brilliance of the artefacts was meant to guarantee the king’s resurrection.
Question 11. Who found King Tut’s mummy? What problems did he face?
Answer: Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, was the first person to discover the tomb of King Tut. He found it in 1922 after years of futile searching.
Carter found that the ritual resins had hardened over the years, cementing the mummy of King Tut to the bottom of the solid gold coffin so that it could not be removed for analysis.
So, he set the mummy in blazing sunshine to loosen the resins. But nothing happened. Howard Carter then had to chisel away the hardened material, ft damaged the mummy because every major joint of it was broken to get it out.
Question 12. Howard Carter ran into trouble when he finally reached the mummy. Why?
Answer: When Howard Carter finally reached the mummy he ran into trouble, because he could not raise the mummy out of the coffin. The ritual resins had hardened, cementing King Tut’s body to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. No amount of force could pull it out.
Question 13. What evidence was there to prove that the burial of King Tut took place in March or April?
Answer: After months of carefully recording the pharaoh’s funerary treasures, Howard Carter began investigating the three nested coffins. On opening the first coffin, he found a shroud adorned with garlands of willow and olive leaves, wild celery, lotus petals and cornflowers’.
It was a faded evidence of a burial that took place in March or April because these plants would be available in Egypt during this period of the year.
Question 14.What efforts did Howard Carter make to separate King Tut’s mummy from its solid gold bottom?
Answer: When Howard Carter discovered King Tut’s tomb and his mummy in 1922, he found that the ritual resins had hardened and thus cemented the mummy to the bottom of his solid gold coffin. So, he put the mummy in the blazing sunshine to loosen the resins.
But nothing melted. There was only one alternative.
The resins had to be chiselled away before removing the King Tut’s remains.
Question 15. How did Howard Carter detach the mummy?
Answer: First Howard Carter tried to loosen the resins with the heat of the sun. For several hours, he put the mummy outside in blazing sunshine that heated it to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, but in vain. Then he decided to chisel it out from beneath the limbs and trunk because there was no other way of raising the King Tut’s remains.
Question 16. What justification did Howard Carter give in his defence? Do you agree with him?
Answer: The ritual resins had hardened, cementing King Tut’s mummy to the bottom of the solid gold coffin. No amount of force could budge it. Howard Carter feared that thieves would destroy the mummy for the gold. So, he finally decided to chisel out the mummy. But what Howard Carter did cannot be justified. He destroyed the natural state of the mummy. He had no right to do such a thing.
Question 17. List some adornments on King Tut’s body. Why had the adornments been buried along with the body?
Answer: The mummy of King Tut was lavished with glittering ornaments. It was decorated with precious collars, inlaid necklaces, rings, bracelets, amulets, and a ceremonial apron.
There were also sandals, sheaths for his fingers and toes and the inner coffin and mask. All of them were of pure gold. The royal family believed that they could take their riches with them to the afterlife and were thus buried with their adornments.
Question 18. What were the things King Tut was buried with?
Answer: Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, discovered King Tut’s tomb. He worked for months and carefully recorded Tut’s treasures. He found that many objects were placed along with King Tut’s dead body in his tomb. Wonderful artefacts in gold were placed there. King Tut was also buried with everyday things such as board games, a bronze razor, linen garments and boxes of food and wine.
Question 19. What startling fact was revealed by a professor of anatomy about King Tut?
Answer: In 1968, more than 40 years after Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tut’s tomb, a professor of anatomy X-rayed King Tut’s mummy. The professor revealed an astonishing fact that beneath the resin that layered his chest, his breastbone and front ribs were missing.
Question 20. Which questions still linger about King Tut?
Answer: The two biggest questions that still linger about King Tut are how he died and how old he was at the time of his death. He was the last ruler of his dynasty and his funeral was the end of the dynasty. However, the particulars of his passing away and its aftermath are still unclear.
Question 21. King Tut’s demise was a big event, even by royal standards. Why?
Answer: King Tut’s demise was a big event, even by royal standards because he was the last ruler in his dynasty. This funeral was the end of a dynasty that ruled Egypt for centuries. Moreover, he died unexpectedly at a very young age.
Question 22. Who was the last ruler of the powerful dynasty? Describe in brief.
Answer: King Tut was the last ruler of the powerful dynasty which ruled over Egypt for centuries. He ruled over his kingdom for about 9 years. Young Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun and restored the old customs. He died unexpectedly about 3300 years ago, which gave rise to many speculations about his cause of death at a young age.
Question 23. Describe King Tut and his family.
Answer: King Tut was the last ruler of a powerful family that ruled Egypt for centuries. He was quite young when he sat on the throne. He ruled for about 9 years.
King Tut died unexpectedly in his early youth which gave rise to many doubts and speculations. He was laid to rest laden with his possessions and forgotten.
Amenhotep III, King Tut’s father or grandfather, ruled for almost 40 years. His son Amenhotep IV succeeded him and changed his name to Akhenaten, which meant ‘servant of the Aten’. He shifted his religious capital from the old city of Thebes to Akhetaten. He further shocked the country by attacking Amun, a major God. Then a mysterious ruler Smenkhkare ruled briefly. After him, Tutankhaten took the throne.
Question 24. What changes did King Tut bring out during his reign?
Answer: King Tut was named Tutankhaten at the time of his birth. On succeeding his father to the Egyptian throne after Akhenaten, King Tut brought about a restoration of the old customs. First, he changed his name to Tutankhamun in reverence of the old god Amun. Then he oversaw the restoration and reopening of old temples, shrines, and idols.
Question 25. Why did King Tut’s mummy have to undergo a CT scan?
Answer: King Tut’s mummy had earned worldwide fame for the riches it was buried with. Moreover, there arose a great controversy regarding the manner of his death and his age at the time of death. As a result, King Tut’s body was CT. scanned to examine the medical mysteries about his life and death.
Question 26. How was King Tut’s body carried to the CT scanner?
Answer: On the night of the scan, workmen carried King Tut’s body from the tomb in his coffin. Like pallbearers they climbed a ramp and a flight of stairs from the burial chamber into the swirling sand outside. Then they rose on a hydraulic lift into the trailer that held the scanner.
Question 27. “Curse of the pharaoh”, joked a guard nervously. What is the curse and why did the guard say so?
Answer: The curse of the pharaoh states that death or misfortune would fall upon those who disturbed him. When King Tut’s mummy was carried to be scanned, one of the fans of the CT scan machine stopped working due to sand getting into it. That is why the guard jokingly remarked that it was the curse of the pharaoh.
Question 28. What snag did the million-dollar scanner develop? How was the defect corrected?
Answer: The scanner had stopped working because sand had got into a cooler fan in it. The fan was replaced with a spare one which had been brought and the work was finished using the substitute fan. Thus, the defect was set right, and the scanning of King Tut’s mummy was continued.
Question 29. Why was Zahi Hawass worried? How did he get rid of his worry?
Answer: Zahi Hawass was Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2005. King Tut’s mummy was already in a bad condition after what Howard Carter did to it. Zahi Hawass was scared of inflicting more damage to it when the first ever CT scan of King Tut’s mummy for an accurate forensic reconstruction was arranged. When everything went as planned, he heaved a sigh of relief.
Long Questions and Answers
Question 1. In 1922, King Tut’s tomb was discovered. Much of the treasure buried in the tomb had already been stolen. Materialistic attitude of man does not allow even the dead to sleep in peace. Will there be any end to this attitude?
Answer: Man can go to any extent for a handful of gold. In King Tut’s time, the royals were fabulously wealthy, and they believed that they could take their riches with them. King Tut’s mummy was thus buried with a lot of gold and other items of daily use in the belief that the dead pharaoh would need those things in the afterlife. It was a matter of faith.
When King Tut’s tomb was discovered, much of the treasure had already been looted. Ethics and morals are not understood by thieves. Their goal in life is to acquire as much wealth as possible by any means. This materialistic attitude will never end will increase day by day.
Question 2. After reading the chapter you realise that the funerary practice of the Egyptians was somewhat exaggerated as they buried their kings with all kinds of ornaments and items of daily use. Though traditions and rituals must be respected, some superstitious beliefs should be discarded. Discuss.
Answer: Any society can progress only if it does not let go of its roots. Many of us ridicule certain traditions, make fun of rituals and mock at funerary practices. But all these old practices have certain traditional values attached to them.
There is a belief, not only in India but other countries also, that death is only an end to the physical being. The soul has to travel further.
Human beings are known for their discretionary power. Traditions, rituals, and funerary practices should be given due respect, but we should understand that practices which carry no meaning should be discarded. Thus, a dead body should be cremated with honour, but burying it with everyday things has no relevance.
Traditions and rituals make us who we are. They give us identity. But being a better society is an ongoing process. Some very horrible rituals have already been discarded. Hence, we should learn to respect traditions and rituals, not follow them blindly.
Question 3. What do you understand by the statement, “Archaeology has changed substantially ………?” Discuss with reference to the chapter ‘Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues.’ What do you learn from modern archaeology?
Answer: During the last few decades, archaeology has undergone a revolutionary change. It is not what it used to be. It has transformed with the times. Earlier it was more about gilded treasures and forgotten fortunes. But now, the focus is not on the treasure. Today, archaeology focuses on the fascinating details of peoples’ lives and the mysteries behind their deaths. Now archaeologists are more interested in other relevant details, like in the case of King Tut’s mummy. Archaeologists are more interested to know about the facts of his life – how he lived and how he died.
Also, archaeology naro uses more sophisticated tools like CT scan machines. It also employs forensic methods and X-ray technology.
Such scientific implements were not available to the archaeologists of earlier years. Hence, they were not able to discover most of the facts about their searches.
Question 4. We have an abundance of precious monuments in our country. The unfortunate fact is that many are defaced and are falling to pieces due to vandalism and neglect. As a student, what steps would you take to preserve our national wealth?
Answer: India has an extraordinarily, vast, and diverse pool of cultural heritage and ancient monuments which remind us of the golden historic era of over a thousand years. They carry a special and a well-deserved respect in the eyes of Indians. However, it is unfortunate that most of these monuments are damaged and are falling to pieces due to thieves and neglect.
As students, we should try to preserve out national wealth. We should prevent others from scribbling on walls. Regular cleanliness drives should be carried out in order to maintain historical monuments. As students, we can also volunteer by being a part of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ initiative. Moreover, we should help in spreading awareness about these monuments and their importance. In today’s competitive world, we have to preserve the monuments and showcase them to the next generation as the achievements of our ancestors.