New Theory: King Tut Died in a Chariot Crash
A new examination of Tut’s remains reveals that he was killed in a horrific chariot accident
King Tutankhamen died 3,336 years ago, at just 19 years old, and death has always been somewhat mysterious. After Howard Carter found his tomb in 1922, theories from murder to epilepsy, to malaria have abounded.
But British researchers think they’ve figured it out. Their examination of Tut’s remains revealed that he was killed in a horrific chariot accident, they say. This new analysis shows that he was crushed on one side of his body, likely while on his knees. The impact shattered his pelvis and ribs, and crushed his heart so badly that it was unsalvageable for the mummification.
According to the researchers, Tut’s troubles didn’t end when he died. A botched mummification process led to Tut’s body suddenly burning soon after it was interred in its tomb. Apparently, a reaction between the embalming oils, linen shroud and his body, caused his body to combust in the coffin.
This research, it should be noted, is being broadcast during a special on U.K. public television’s Channel 4, and won’t necessarily end speculation about Tut’s death. As with Cleopatra, there’s always another scandalous possibility to consider.
More from Smithsonian.com:
King Tut: The Pharaoh Returns!
Howard Carter: Famous Archaeologist, Not-So-Famous Painter
A History of Sequins from King Tut to the King of Pop