King Tut’s Coffins

King Tut MaskWhen Howard Carter entered the Antechamber of King Tut’s tomb and the attached Annex, he realized the scope of the work and called in assistance from additional experts. It took a year and a half to catalog and conserve the contents. It was February before they could enter the burial chamber that was filled with Tut’s shrine. It measured 16’ x 10’ x 9’ feet high. Unlike the other rooms with bare walls, these walls had been plastered and painted with funerary scenes.

When they lifted the quartzite sarcophagus, they found a gold- painted coffin inside, and inside that another one. The mummy was wrapped in bandages and covered with unguents with 150+ jewels and precious treasures were contained in the wrappings. The head and shoulders were covered by a magnificent gold mask.

In a room leading off the burial chamber, amid more treasure and the canopic jars were the sad tiny mummified bodies of two fetuses. King Tut had married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaamun, which was the custom of the pharaohs. When close relatives have children together, the genetic diversity that each person offers is decreased. Children of these close unions are more likely to have genetic conditions which leads to some of the illnesses that Tut whose father and mother were brother and sister suffered.

Tomorrow, a Vintage Valentine Rita Bay

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