First an attempt to knock down the two current theories.
For years it has been generally assumed that Tutankhamun's mummy is charred because of the attempts by Howard Carter to prise open the lid of the inner coffin, remove the mummy from the coffin and to remove the mask from the head of the mummy. The documentary says that the charring is the result of the resin used in mummification spontaneously combusting due to hurried and poor techniques. After some thought I see issues with both these theories. The charring of the mummy is uniform over the surface of the mummy. It seems to me that any application of heat during the attempt to seperate the coffin and free the mummy, would likely be rather patchy. For instance, the coffin was not placed inside an oven, and though there is no direct evidence of where Carter applied the bunsen burners, I think it reasonable to assume that the heat was applied to the join of the coffins, not all over. We know Carter used hot knives, after decapitating Tutankhamum's head, to remove the mask. I doubt that in the case of heat applied to the coffin, that the heat would be sufficient to penetrate through the coffin, many tightly wound layers of linen interspersed with large amounts of metalic "bling", and be able to cause such extensive charring. Surely the wrappings would first be turned to ash before damage to the mummy, several cm within the outer layer of wrappings. And surely any heat damage to Tutankhamun's head would be localised to were these hot knives actually made contact with the skin, not all over his skull as is the case. Besides, I do not think a hot knife will cause charring like this. After actually thinking about the theory that Carter was responsible for the charring, instead of taking it for granted, I am now unconvinced and do not believe this.
The theory put forward in the documentary that the resin spontaneously combusted is more convincing, and would explain the overall charring of the mummy, but there are some issues with this theory. Most glaring is that the experiment had a few lumps of resin saturated linen wrapped in unsaturated linen and then left in a room used for experiments with fire. This in no way replicates that actual conditions of a human corpse wrapped in linen and then enclosed in a coffin. That resin has been shown to be capable of spontaneous combustion I do not doubt, but was the resin used in the experiment exactly the same as that used in mummification of Tutankhamun? they do not make this clear, which is either sloppy, or suspicious. And any experiment surely must properly replicate the actual conditions if it is to be taken seriously. Then there is the issue of why has no other mummy been found in such a charred condition. It can be argued that because Tutankhamun laid wrapped and in the same condition as he was intered for 3 300 years, and no other royal mummy has yet been found in their original wrappings, and certainly not covered in resin, that Tutankhamun is a special case, and other unmolested royal mummies may be in the same condition. But until such a mummy is found, we do not know. I think it is generaly agreed that the consequence of being covered with so much resin for millenia is that the resin will set like concrete, as Carter found. The reason given for the resin in Tutankhamun's case combusting, is that he was not mummified as well as was normally the case in 18th Dynasty. Though the only evidence put forward is that the embalming slit is not a neat one on his left side, but a large ragged gash on his abdomen. This is certainly odd and I can give no explanation for this. Though would the embalmers have been in such a rush that it was imperative to make this ugly wound and not the usual discrete slit? how much time would be saved? a few minutes perhaps, but why?. Then if this was a substandard job, then why did Carter write that it was a well formed, or wrapped mummy, I do not remember the exact words. Even in the very few photos we can see everything looks to be well done. We always knew he was buried in a tomb probably meant for Ay, but does this really mean that the burial was hurried, as we are always told. The chaos in the tomb was the result of the robbers turning it upside down, not everything being thrown inside in a rush. Besides, there is no sign of undue haste with what was found within the shrines and never touched by robbers. Yes, there is a problem with the sarcophagus, the foot of the outer coffin has been shaved off to fit. The sarcophagus itself was originally for a woman, as was perhaps the second coffin and the mask except for the face, which is Tutankhamun. And of course many other objects in the tomb are secondhand. But to me this does not signify undue haste. Clearly Tutankhamun died unexpectedly, but would they then wait for well over the normal seventy days. Would they wait until his original tomb was finished? how long would that take, years?, how long to make a new sarcophagus?. The foot of the outer coffin being to big to fit may simply be an error of measurement, not haste. But all this is conjecture on my part, we will never know for certain. I mention these things because it is said that his mummification was hurried, and this caused the resin to combust. Though no reason is given why the resin would combust for Tutankhamun, and nobody else. So, in the end, this theory of self combusting resin is not destroyed, but rather lacks sufficient credibility.
Now, my own theory to explain death, injuries and charring. We have all these theories over the years to explain death of Tutankhamun, murder, attack by hippopotamus, chariot accident, death in battle. We have two theories to explain why his mummy is so badly charred, attempts by Howard Carter to free mummy from coffin and spontaneous combustion of resin. Over the years I have believed or not believed various of these theories, yet there is an obvious cause of death staring us in the face. His body is badly charred, how do bodies usuallly get badly charred? Yes! by being burnt in a fire, yet I never once read or heard anybody, Egyptologist, documentarian or anything else ever suggest this. No, I cannot offer any proof of this, but is not the obvious answer a better proposition than what we have been told. When confronted with a burnt body is it not the first reaction to assume this is the body of a person burnt in a fire? So, as to death of Tutankhamun and a posiible explanation of his injuries. If we assume that he was burnt in a fire, then is it not possible that his injuries could have been caused by that fire, could he not have been crushed by falling timbers. This could account for injuries to the chest and legs, but not face for instance, for I do not suggest he was flattened by some huge beam, simply by a pattern of timbers, or other debris, hitting him. I cannot prove this of course, but at least it is something new, something not previously put forward in the last 91 years. It is possible some evidence, other than the obvious charring, remains on his body, but it would I think need an expert on how people die in fires to examine him, and I do not see that happening. So perhaps the CT scans contain sufficient evidence, it would be good if they could be re-appraised. Of course there remain mysteries, the missing heart, sternum and ribs, the missing collar, and all the other miriad Armarna mysteries, but maybe we have looking at his cause of death all these years and have been blind to an obvious solution. I may have missed some obvious things myself, so please, knock me down if you think I am wrong.
Edited by Tutankhaten-pasheri, 15 July 2013 - 05:16 PM.