A forthcoming BBC documentary aims to shed light on the life and death of King Tutankhamun, using state-of-the-art technology to perform a ‘virtual autopsy’ on his 3,000-year old remains.
By using 2,000 Computerized Tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh’s mummified body, scientists have created a full size computer-generated image of Tutankhamun. The virtual autopsy reveals that the boy king suffered from a genetic bone wasting disease and a club foot, making him unable to walk unaided.
The latest research challenges the existing theory that Tutankhamun died in a chariot crash.
Professor Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, who participated in the documentary, told The Independent that Tutankhamun’s inability to stand unaided would have made riding on a chariot impossible.
DNA research used in the «Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered» documentary also indicates that Tutankhamun’s parents were brother and sister, from whom he inherited genetic impairments. Zink told The Independent that Tutankhamun’s weakened physical state as a result of these impairments likely led to his death at a young age. The expert also noted that Tutankhamun suffered from malaria.
Tutankhamun, who is said to have reigned between 1332 and 1323 B.C., was around 18 years old at the time of his death.
The pharaoh’s tomb, which was full of spectacular artifacts, was discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
“Using solid science and a truly multi-disciplinary approach we’ve finally been able to put to bed some of the myths and pre-conceived ideas that have surrounded his life and death, and hopefully add a new chapter that will ensure the Tutankhamen story continues to fascinate,” said Dallas Campbell, the BBC documentary’s presenter, in a statement.