King Tut exhibition starts its final world tour in Los Angeles (March 2018)

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of discovering the tomb of King Tut, many of the Boy King's artifacts and other ancient Egyptian items will be touring the United States in the new year.

Lonely Planet writes:

The largest ever international exhibition of ancient Egyptian artefacts from the tomb of its most famous pharaoh will open early next year in Los Angeles. King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will visit ten different cities as it tours the world starting off on the West Coast of America on 24 March.

More than 150 items from Tutankhamun’s tomb will be on display at the California Science Center. The exhibition will be an absolute treat for Egyptologists – both amateur and professional – as never before have so many ancient items associated with King Tut been on display together outside Egypt. Many of the items would have been used by the Boy King himself including golden jewellery, elaborate carvings, sculptures, and ritual antiquities.

Forty per cent of the objects will be leaving home for both the first and last time before returning for permanent display in the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is currently under construction.

You can first see the exhibit in Los Angeles before it heads to Europe and then to its new permanent home at The Grand Egyptian Museum (which is located near the Pyramids of Giza). Be sure to pre-register for the L.A. exhibit now.

Of course you can't talk about a King Tut without being reminded of Steve Martin's bit on Saturday Night Live in 1978. Read the rest

King Tut's dagger was forged from meteorite

New analysis of the dagger buried with King Tut confirms that the weapon was made from an iron meteorite. They used X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to study the dagger, found on Tut's mummified body by Howard Carter in 1925. Daniela Comelli of Milan Polytechnic's department of physics and her colleagues have even identified the most likely meteorite used to forge the dagger.

"We took into consideration all meteorites found within an area of 2,000 km in radius centered in the Red Sea, and we ended up with 20 iron meteorites," Comelli told Space.com. "Only one, named Kharga, turned out to have nickel and cobalt contents which are possibly consistent with the composition of the blade."

From Space.com:

The study shows the ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects, possibly perceiving those chunks of iron falling from the sky as a divine message.

The most ancient Egyptian iron artifacts, nine small beads excavated from a cemetery along the west bank of the Nile tomb in Gerzeh and dated about 3200 BC, are also made from meteoritic iron hammered into thin sheets.

"It would be very interesting to analyze more pre-Iron Age artifacts, such as other iron objects found in King Tut's tomb. We could gain precious insights into metal working technologies in ancient Egypt and the Mediterranean," Comelli said.

"King Tut's Blade Made of Meteorite" Read the rest

Could secret chambers discovered in King Tut's tomb unlock Nefertiti's mysteries?

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh El Damati announced today that there are almost certainly two hidden chambers in King Tutankhamun's tomb. A recent radar scan that indicates the existence of the secret rooms also "revealed metallic and organic material," according to CNN.

El Damati doesn't think that the body of Queen Nefertiti lies in those chambers, more likely other female royalty, but British archaeologist Nicolas Reeves, who has been surveying the site for hidden chambers, thinks it's a distinct possibility.

From CNN:

Experts plan to do additional scanning at the end of the month to determine the size of the chambers and the thickness of the wall, but there will be no digging unless authorities are sure the chambers exist, the minister added.

"We must find a way to protect the tomb of Tutankhamun," El Damati told CNN in October. "Does that mean we will dig from above, below or from the side? We don't know..."

But if it is Nefertiti's final resting place, experts say the finding would be monumental.

"When we find Nefertiti, I think it will be more important than the discovery of King Tutankhamun himself," said El Damati.

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King Tut had chronic medical problems, but his beard falling off wasn't one of them

King Tut died young during times of trouble for Egypt, making his death a mystery spanning thousands of years. Though some earlier scans hinted at the possibility of foul play, a recent "digital autopsy" confirmed the teenage Pharaoh was a walking bag of medical problems.

…it would have been impossible for the king to have died while riding a chariot, as has been previously thought.

"We concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided."

Scientists believe genetics and inherited diseases played a role in Tut's bad health because of inbreeding. A genetic analysis of his family's mummies suggests that his parents were siblings.

But the final insult came last year when eight museum workers botched a cleaning of the King's legendary mask: his beard fell off and they stuck it back on with a big ol' glob of gorilla glue. Then they tried to scratch off the glue, damaging the artifact itself.

The workers now face discliplinary charges.

“In an attempt to cover up the damage they inflicted, they used sharp instruments such as scalpels and metal tools to remove traces of the glue on the mask, causing damage and scratches that remain,” the statement said. The accused officials have been suspended from their jobs and now face possible dismissal and heavy fines, but they will not go to prison.

The scratches to the mask will not be visible to most visitors, according to Monica Hanna, an archaeologist and a member of Egypt’s Heritage Task Force, an initiative to protect the nation’s cultural heritage.

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