Tutankhamun - The Boy King
Tutankhamun was king of Egypt from about 1332 B.C. until his death around 1322 B.C. His reign was unimportant. But interest in Tutankhamun began in 1922, when the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb. It had not been opened since ancient times and still had most of its treasures. It is the only tomb of an ancient Egyptian king to be discovered almost completely undamaged.
Tutankhamun became king at about the age of 9. He probably got a lot of help from Ay, his vizier (minister of state) who also became his successor. Historians believe Tutankhamun died at about the age of 18, but they are unsure how. X-rays show that he may have had a head injury from an accident. Some say that he was murdered. Officially it is thought he died from an infection after breaking his leg. His tomb is in the Valley of the Kings in central Egypt.
Howard Carter searched for Tutankhamun’s tomb for nearly six years. He finally discovered that its entrance had been hidden by the waste from digging at the entrance of the nearby tomb of King Ramses VI. Tutankhamun’s four-room tomb contained more than 5,000 objects, including many beautifully carved and gold-covered items. A wonderful gold mask of Tutankhamun covered the head and shoulders of the royal mummy.
Mask of Tutankhamun in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo - Bjørn Christian Tørrissen
The ancient Egyptians believed in a life after death, which they called the afterlife. They put many personal things into the tomb with them so that they could use them in the afterlife. Among the things discovered in Tutankhamun’s grave were luxurious chests, thrones, beds, linens, clothing, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. Carter also found chariots, bows and arrows, swords, daggers, shields, ostrich feather fans, trumpets, statues of Tutankhamun and many Egyptian gods, figures of animals, models of ships, toys, games, and jars containing precious oils. Most of the items found in Tutankhamun’s tomb are now displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
One of the most interesting things in the tomb was a note on the handle of the king’s fan. The note showed that the young Tutankhamun hunted at Heliopolis, near modern Cairo. Wine-jar labels showed how long he was pharaoh. Many objects had scenes that show Tutankhamun killing foreign enemies in battle. But historians don’t think that these scenes show real events.
Now, the face of Tutankhamun has gone on display for the first time. The boy king’s 3,000-year-old preserved body has been moved from its stone coffin into a glass case in his tomb.
Experts say the climate-controlled case will preserve the mummified remains by protecting it from heat and moisture. This had to be done because they were worried that heat from the thousands of tourists who visit the tomb every month could change the remains of the body.
Downloadable PDF Text- and Worksheets
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- Life and Society in Ancient Egypt
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- ancient = old
- archaeologist = a person who studies old cultures by looking at buildings or objects that are left over
- bow and arrow =a weapon used in the Middle Ages; made of a curved piece of wood with a string connected to both ends ; you shoot a long piece of wood with it
- bracelet = a band or a chain that you wear around your wrist or arm
- carve = to make an object by cutting it out of stone or wood
- case = box
- chariot = a wagon pulled by a horse
- chest = a strong box that you use to keep things
- coffin = a long box in which a dead person is put
- containing = with something in it
- dagger = a sharp pointed knife
- dig = to make a hole in the ground and move earth
- discover = to find something for the first time
- display = show
- enemy = a person or a group of people you fight against in a war
- entrance = doorway , opening
- fan =a flat object that you wave with your hand; it makes the air cooler
- foreign = from another country
- handle =part of an object that you use for holding it
- historian = person who studied what happened a long time ago
- including =also with
- injury =to be hurt
- jar = a glass container
- label = a piece of paper on something that gives you information about it
- linen =tablecloth, sheet
- luxurious = very expensive, beautiful and comfortable
- moisture = wet air
- officially =in public
- ostrich feather fan = an object you use to make the air cooler – it is made out of ostrich feathers – a big bird that cannot fly
- pharaoh = the Egyptian king
- precious = very expensive
- preserved =to save something from being harmed or destroyed
- protect =guard, defend
- reign = the time when someone is king
- remains = what is left over of someone
- royal =belonging to a king or queen
- search = to look for
- shield = a piece of metal that soldiers used in wars to protect themselves
- statue =a picture of person made of woodor metal
- successor = here: the person who became king after him
- sword = a long pointed knife
- throne = a special chair that a king or queen uses to sit on
- tomb = a stone object in which someone is buried
- treasure = valuable things like gold, silver, rings etc..
- undamaged = not destroyed
- unsure = if you do not really know
- waste = material that is left over
- X-Rays =a photo that shows you the inside of someone’s body