Class XI: Hornbill – Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

By A.R. Williams

The emperors of Egypt were known as Pharaohs. They had a vast empire and enormous gold. They believed in after life. So they mummified the dead body of the king and buried in a tomb. They put beside the dead a lot of treasure and even the things of everyday need. These things were meant for use in the next life. These tombs were built up to 26 feet below and the mummy was put in a gold case. Tut was the last of a ruling dynasty. He died young, only nine years after occupying the throne. His tomb was discovered after years of searching and investigated in 1922 by a British archaeologist, Howard Carter. He had trouble in taking the mummy out of the coffin of solid gold. The resins had hardened. The body was cut and removed in parts. It was reassembled and put in a case at the resting place. But it was taken out again for CT scan in 2005 to solve the mystery of his death. The CT scan dispelled all doubts. Nothing had gone seriously wrong. Tut is resting in peace in his tomb in the valley of the departed kings of Egypt.
Complete Summary
Tut or Tutankhamun was a teenaged heir to the royal throne of Egypt. The family had ruled Egypt for centuries. But Tut died young. He was the last of the family line. His funeral marked the end of a dynasty. But the details of his passing away are not clear.
Tut’s father or grandfather Amenhotep III was a powerful Pharaoh who ruled for almost 40 years. His son Amenhotep IV succeeded him. The new king promoted the worship of the Aten, the sun-disc. He changed his name to Akhenaten, or the servant of the Sun-god. He also shifted the religious capital from the old city of Thebes to the new city. He also shocked the country further by attacking Amun, a major god, breaking down his images and closing his temples. He was succeeded by another mysterious ruler who died soon. Then a very young Tutankhaten sat on the throne. He is widely known today as Tut. He restored the old ways, the worship of god Amun. He also changed his name to Tutankhamun. He ruled for about nine years and then died unexpectedly.
Tut’s mummy was discovered in 1922 by a British archaeologist, Haward Carter. Perhaps he was murdered. But he was laid to rest with a lot of gold and with everyday things like games, a bronze razor, clothes and cases of food and wine. It was believed that the dead Pharaoh would need those things in the afterlife.
Howard Carter was a British archaeologist who in 1922 discovered Tut’s tomb after years of searching. Much of the treasure buried in the tomb had already been looted. Even then, it was the richest royal collection ever found in any tomb. The rock cut tomb was some 26 feet underground. The walls had paintings. Tut’s gilded face was there on the outer coffin lid. After months of recording the treasures, Carter began investigating the three layered coffin of Tut in the tomb. In the first one he found the garlands of olive leaves, lotus petals and corn flowers. The burial, it seemed, was done in March or April.
When Carter finally reached Tut’s mummy, he faced trouble. Resins used for cementing Tut to the bottom of his solid gold coffin had become very hard. It was impossible to free the body from the resins. Even the burning sun failed to melt it. The resins had to be removed, using a chisel and hammer from beneath the limbs of the body. Carter really had little choice. If he had not cut the mummy limb by limb, the thieves would have taken all the gold away. Carter’s men first removed mummies head, then cut off every major joint. Once the body removed in parts was reassembled on a layer of sand in a wooden box and put at the original place.
In 1968, an anatomy professor X-rayed the mummy and revealed a new fact. He said that the breast bone and front ribs of Tut’s body were missing.
Today CT (Computed Tomography) takes hundreds of X-rays and creates a three-dimensional image of a body. It was on 5 January 2005 that the world’s most famous mummy of Tut was put into a CT scanner to answer two big questions—how did Tut die, and how old was he at the time of death?
The CT machine was donated by its manufacturer – Siemens. King Tut had died some 3,300 years ago. On the night of the scan the workmen carried Tut from the tomb in his box. They put it on a trailor that held the scanner. The process took less than three hours. The Pharaoh was carried back in the tomb again. The CT scan dispelled all doubts. Nothing had gone seriously wrong. Tut is resting in peace in his tomb in the valley of the departed kings of Egypt.
Birth: 1341 BC
Father: Akhenaten
Wife: His wife was his half-sister.
Children: Two still born girls.
Death: 1321 BC
Meanings of difficult words and phrases
Heir = a person legally entitled to the property or rank of another on that person’s death.
Tomb = a large grave built of stone above or below the ground.
CT scan =  A computerized tomography combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images, or slices, of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body.
Forensic =(here) examining dead bodies to find out the cause of death
Reconstruction = constructing the same thing again.
Pharaoh = an Egyptian king
Forensic reconstruction is the process of recreating an individual from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of artistry, forensic science, anthropology, osteology, and anatomy.
Cemetery = the place where dead bodies are buried.
Mummy = a preserved dead body.
Murals = paintings on the wall.
Coffin = box in which dead body is kept.
Antiquities = very old things.
Archaeologist = a scientist who studies ancient remains.
Legend = an old story handed from generations.
Artefacts =things of art made by hands.
Resurrection =rebirth
Board games =games like chess
Linen = a fabric cloth made from flax used to make high quality clothes.
Cases = boxes
Treasures = a collection of valuable things
Nested = fitted inside each other.
Shroud = cover of the dead body.
Willow = a tree that has soft wood.
Celery = a wild plant
Cornflowers =bluish-purple flowers of a wild plant.
Resins = a sticky flammable organic substance, insoluble i
n water, exuded by some trees and other plants.
Chiselled away = separated with a chisel
Collars = necklaces
Bracelets =ornaments of the wrist
Amulets = something worn round the neck or arm or waist (Taaveez) to keep away the evil.
Sheaths = coverings to keep the sword in.
Adornments =things for decoration and make-up.
Archaeology =science of studying ancient sites/buildings.
Tomography = a technique for displaying a representation of a cross section through a human body or other solid object using X-rays or ultrasound.
Dynasty = family-line
Cross section = parts seen when a thing is cut in the middle.
Pallbearers = those who carry coffins.
Orion = a constellation
Constellation = group of stars
Osiris = the god of afterlife
Short Answer Type Questions
Q1. Who was Howard Carter? What was his discovery?   
Ans. Howard Carter was a British archaeologist. After years of searching he discovered King Tut’s tomb in 1922 over 3300 years after his death. Tut died at the age of 19 but his death was a mystery for all. He was the last ruler of his powerful family that ruled Egypt for centuries. People believed that the king died in mysterious circumstances and his death may involve every possibility of murder.
Q2. Why did King Tut’s mummy have to undergo CT scan?
Ans. The mummy of King Tut has earned worldwide fame for the riches it was buried with. Further there arose a great controversy about the manner of his death and his age at the time of death. Keeping in the view this controversy, King Tut’s body was ordered to be scanned to examine the delayed medical mysteries about his life and death.
Q3. Which questions still linger about Tut?
Ans. The two biggest questions that still linger about Tut are how did he die and how old was he at the time of his death? He was the last of his family’s line, and his funeral was the death rattle of a dynasty but the particulars of his passing away and its aftermath were unclear.
Q4. Why was Tut’s dead body subjected to CT scrutiny?
Ans. Tut’s dead body was subjected to X-rays in 1968 and CT scan in 2005 to ascertain the cause of his death.
Q5. In 1968 what was the startling fact revealed by a professor of anatomy about king Tut?
Ans. In 1968, more than 40 years after Carter’s discovery of king Tut’s tomb, a professor of anatomy X-rayed Tut’s mummy. He revealed an astonishing fact that beneath the resin that layers his chest, his breast-bone and front ribs are missing. It startled everyone.
Q6. What did the tourists do at that time?
Ans. The tourists from around the world queued up as usual all afternoon into the narrowed rock-cut tomb. They lined up to pay their homage to king Tut. They watched the murals on the walls of the burial chamber. Some visitors read from guidebook. Others stood silently peering at Tut’s gilded face.
Q7. Wh
o did point out that the mummy was in a bad condition? Who was held responsible for it?
Ans. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, bent over the mummy and watched it very carefully. Then he said the mummy is in a very bad condition because of what Carter did in the 1920s. It was in 1922, Carter discovered king Tut’s tomb.
Q8. What was the fate of the contents of Tut’s mummy?
Ans. For over 80 years after the discovery ofTut’s tomb in 1922, surprisingly all its contents were complete. They remain the richest royal collection everyfound till 2005. They have now become part of the pharaoh’s legend.
Q9. Why did the artifacts cause a sensation at the time of discovery?
Ans. The artifacts discovered surprised all present there. They were all made of pure gold. Their shine was enteral and never fading. This eternal brilliance of the artifacts meant to guarantee revival from grave.
Q10. What was king Tut’s demise a big event, even by royal standards?
Ans. King Tut’s death was of course a big event. Even by royal standards he was the last ruler in his family line. His funeral was the death bell of a dynasty that ruled in Egypt for centuries. The big event is because of the fact that he died unexpectedly at young age. The particulars of his passing and its aftermath are not clear.
Q11. Why did some people think the King Tut’s untimely death as the Pharaoh’s curse?
Ans. After king Akhenaten’s death a mysterious ruler became the king for a short while and died. Then a very young Tutankhaten took the throne. He changed his name to Tutankhamun, “Living image of Amun.” He restored the worship of Amun whose images were broken and temples closed by the Pharaoh. Thus king Tut disturbed the Pharaoh. Akhenaten and his curse – death Akhenaten had befallen on Tut causing his untimely death in his late teens.
Q12. What problem did Carter face when he reached the mummy of King Tut? How did he find a way out?  
Ans: When Carter alongwith his men were working at the tomb of King Tut, they found that the ritual resins had hardened. They had cemented and the mummy of King Tut could not be taken out. The solidified material could be removed through chisels. The mummy was cut free. His men removed Tut’s head and severed every major joint. Then they were kept in a box on a layer of sand. He defended his act lest the mummy should not fall into the hands of thieves for getting gold.
Q13. List some adornments on Tut’s body. Why had the adornments been buried along with the body?
Ans. The mummy of Tut was decorated with precious collars, inlaid necklaces, rings, bracelets, amulets and a ceremonial apron. There were sandals, sheaths for fingers and toes and the inner golden coffin and mask. All of them were made of pure gold. According to the beliefs it was thought that they could take their riches with them to the great beyond.
Q14. How did Carter defend his action of cutting the mummy free?
Ans. Carter in his defense wrote later that if he hadn’t cut the mummy free, thieves would have avoided the guards and ripped it apart to remove all the gold. The mummy had been kept with a lot of wealth, in the form of gold ornaments, etc.
Q15. How can C.T scan prove more effective than X-Rays?
Ans. C.T scan can prove more effective than X-Rays because it produces hundreds of X-Rays in cross-section which are put together like slices of bread to create a three dimensional virtual body.
Q16. How was Tut’s body carried to the C.T scanner?
Ans. On the night of the scan, workmen carried Tut from the tomb in his box. Like pallbearers they climbed ramp and a flight of stairs into the swirling sand outside. Then they rose on a hydraulic lift into the trailer that held the scanner.
Q17. How was King Tut’s mummy scanned by the CT scanner?
Ans. In order to remove the mystery over the death of King Tut, a portable CT scanner was taken in a trailer to the sandy area near Tut’s tomb. His body was carried there from his tomb in a box. The CT machine scanned the mummy from head to toe, creating 1700 digital X-ray images in cross-section. His entire body was scanned in 0.62 millimetre slices.
Q18. What snag did the million dollar scanner develop? How was it set right?
Ans. The million dollar scanner had developed a snag because of sand in a cooler fan. Eventually substitute fans worked well enough to finish the procedure.
Q19. Explain the statement, “King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned – in death, as in life…”
Ans. It means that the mummy of King tut was the first one ever to be scanned. The purpose was to reveal the mysteries relating to the period when he was alive. Secondly, it also helped find out the cause of his death in mysterious circumstances. The death occurred only nine years after his taking the throne.
Q20. List the deeds that led Ray Johnson to describe Akhenaten as Wacky.
Ans. Akhenaten was a crazy and rash ruler. He attacked Amun – a major God, broke his statues and closed his temples. He even shifted the religious capital from the oddity of Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten.
Q21. What did the CT scan of Tut’s mummy reveal?
Ans. CT scanning gave surprising as well as fascinating images of Tut’s body. The image of a gray head appeared on the computer screen. Neck bones appeared quite clearly. Other images of Tut’s body appeared on the screen. They included a hand and several views of rib-cage and the skull.
Q22. “Curse of the Pharaoh”, joked a guard nervously. What is the curse and why did the guard say so?
Ans. The curse of the Pharaoh – death or misfortune falling upon those who disturbed him, is considered to be true. The fans of the CT scan machine got stuck with the sand dust and stopped working during scanning of the mummy. Then the guard jokingly said that it was the curse of the Pharaoh. Later another pair of white plastic fans were arranged which worked well enough.
Long Answer Type Questions
Q1. Who was King Tut? Why was his mummy taken out for a C.T. Scan?
Ans. King Tut was last Pharaoh of his family line which ruled Egypt for centuries. He was a very young boy when he took the throne of Egypt in 1332 B.C. The boy king soon changed his name to Tutankhamun, “living image of Amun,” and restored the old ways of religious belief. He ruled for about nine years and then died unexpectedly in 1322 B.C. King Tut’s death was a big event. He was the last Pharaoh of his family line. His funeral was the death bell of his dynasty. But the particulars of his death and the after happenings are not clear.
King Tut was buried in the ancient Egyptian cemetery known as the Valley of the Kings. Tut was loaded with glittering goods: precious neckbands, engraved necklaces and bracelets, rings, amulets, apron, sandals, sheaths, for fingers and toes and iconic inner coffin and mask all of pure gold.
Carter discovered Tut’s tomb for more than 3300 years after his death in 1922 and in 2005 his mummy was taken out of the tomb for the first time for his C.T. scan. The probe by the C.T, scanner was to look into the delayed medical mysteries of this little understood young ruler about his life and death.
Q2. What problems did Howard Carter face with regard to Tut’s mummy? How did he solve them?
Ans. Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, discovered King Tut’s tomb after years of searching in 1922. He found fabulous treasure in the tomb, even though it had been ransacked earlier. The treasure consisted of golden coffin, gold ornaments and even petty things of everyday need.
Carter found three nested coffin. In the first, he found the garlands of leaves and flowers. But when he reached the mummy, he ran into trouble. The resins spread below Tut’s body had hardened. The coffin was of solid gold. Neither human force nor the scorching sun could loosen the body. So Carter used chisel and hammer to remove the resins. He had little choice. Tut’s mummy also had to be removed part by part. Having taken .out the gold coffin, the body parts were reassembled, put in a wooden box and placed in the tomb again.
Q3. Sum up the main events of the lesson ‘Discovering Tut …’
Ans. King Tut was just a teenager when he died. He was the last heir of a powerful dynasty. His rule lasted for just nine years. The mystery of his early and unexpected death is still unresolved. His tomb was discovered in 1922 by a British archaeologist, Howard Carter. He found a big treasure in the form of ornaments, gold coffin and other everyday things—all of pure gold. The pharaohs or the Egyptian Kings believed that they would need gold as well as things of daily need, food and wine in afterlife. So they got them buried along with their mummies or dead bodies preserved with chemical pastes.
Tut’s untimely death in his late teens raised curiosity to know the cause. So 60 years later, his mummy was X-rayed. In 2005, this body was put to CT scanning. But to this day the details of his death and aftermath are unclear.
Q4. In 1922 Tut’s tomb was discovered. Much of the treasure buried in the tomb had already been plundered. Materialistic attitude of man does not allow even the dead to sleep in peace. Will there be any end to this attitude?
Ans. For a handful of gold man can go to any extent. Tut’s mummy was buried deep with a lot of gold and other things believing that the dead pharaoh would need those things in the afterlife. It was a matter of faith. When Tut’s tomb was discovered, much of the treasure had already been looted. The thieves did it being driven by the mad force of materialism. Materialistic attitude attaches no importance to beliefs, religious sentiments and social rites and rituals. Ethics and morals have no sanctity for them. Their aim is to get wealth by any means. This materialistic attitude will never see its dawn. God Himself may advise man to reject materialism and tell him that all paths lead to death and there is no use to perpetuate ill deeds. This sermon will have no effect and materialistic attitude will get sharpened day by day.
Courtesy : CBSE