- NAME: King Tut
- OCCUPATION: King
- BIRTH DATE: c. 1341 BCE
- DEATH DATE: c. 1323 BCE
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Egypt
- PLACE OF DEATH: Egypt
- Originally: Tutankhaten
- AKA: Tutankhamen
- AKA: Tutankhamun
- AKA: King Tut
- AKA: The Boy King of Egypt
- AKA: The Boy King
- AKA: The Boy Pharaoh
- AKA: Boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun
Best Known For
King Tut is chiefly known for his intact tomb, discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings in 1922. Since then, his remains have held millions in awe over the mystery of his life and death.
King Tut - Mini Biography (2:19)
King Tut - Death Examined (2:18)
King Tut was the 12th king of the 18th Egyptian dynasty, in power from 1361 B.C. to 1352 B.C. After his death at 18, he disappeared from history until his tomb was found in 1922.
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While there is some evidence to suggest that Tutankhamun's diplomacy was successful, during his reign, battles took place between Egypt and the Nubians and Asiatics over territory and control of trade routes. Tutankhamun was trained in the military, and there is some evidence that he was good at archery. However, it is unlikely that he saw any military action.
Tutankhamun sought to restore the old order in hopes that the gods would once again look favorably on Egypt. He ordered the repair of the holy sites and continued construction at the temple of Karnack. He also oversaw the completion of the red granite lions at Soleb.
Because Tutankhamun and his wife had no children, his death at age 19, circa 1323 B.C.E., brought further turmoil to the court. Evidence indicates that upon his death, Ankhesenamun contacted the king of the Hittites, asking for one of his sons as a husband. The Hittite king sent a candidate, but he died during the journey, most likely assassinated before he got to the royal palace. This attempt to forge an alliance with a foreign power was most likely prevented by Ay and Horemheb, who were still in control behind the scenes. Evidence shows that Ankhesenamun later married Ay, before disappearing from history.
Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It is believed that his early death necessitated a hasty burial in a smaller tomb, most likely built for a lesser noble. The body was preserved in the traditional fashion of mummification. Seventy days after his death, Tutankhamun's body was laid to rest and the tomb was sealed. There are no known records of Tutankhamun after his death, and, as a result, he remained virtually unknown until the 1920s. Even the location of his tomb was lost, as its entrance had been covered by the debris from a later-built tomb building.
Much of what is known about Tutankhamun, better known today as King Tut, derives from the discovery of his tomb in 1922. British archaeologist Howard Carter had begun excavating in Egypt in 1891, and after World War I, he began an intensive search for Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings. On November 26, 1922, Carter and fellow archaeologist George Herbert, the Earl of Carnarvon, entered the interior chambers of the tomb. To their amazement, they found much of its contents and structure miraculously intact. Inside one of the chambers, murals were painted on the walls that told the story of Tutankhamun's funeral and his journey to the afterworld. Also in the room were various artifacts for his journey—oils, perfumes, toys from his childhood, precious jewelry, and statues of gold and ebony.
The most fascinating item found was the stone sarcophagus containing three coffins, one inside the other, with a final coffin made of gold. When the lid of the third coffin was raised, King Tut's royal mummy was revealed, preserved for more than 3,000 years. As archaeologists examined the mummy, they found other artifacts, including bracelets, rings and collars. Over the next 17 years, Carter and his associates carefully excavated the four-room tomb, uncovering an incredible collection of thousands of priceless objects.
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