Published: September 2010



King Tut’s Family Secrets

DNA evidence reveals the truth about the boy king's parents and new clues to his untimely death.

By Zahi Hawass
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

Mummies capture our imaginations and our hearts. Full of secrets and magic, they were once people who lived and loved, just as we do today.

I believe we should honor these ancient dead and let them rest in peace.

There are some secrets of the pharaohs, however, that can be revealed only by studying their mummies. By carrying out CT scans of King Tutankhamun's mummy, we were able in 2005 to show that he did not die from a blow to the head, as many people believed. Our analysis revealed that a hole in the back of his skull had been made during the mummification process. The study also showed that Tutankhamun died when he was only 19—perhaps soon after he suffered a fracture to his left leg. But there are mysteries surrounding Tutankhamun that even a CT scanner cannot reveal. Now we have probed even deeper into his mummy and returned with extraordinary revelations about his life, his birth, and his death.

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