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Archaeology & History

Has the mystery of the King Tut 'Pharaoh's curse' finally been solved?

By T.K. Randall
April 27, 2024 · Comment icon 3 comments
Howard Carter at the tomb of King Tut.
Howard Carter examining King Tut's sarcophagus. Image Credit: The New York Times 1925
More than 20 people who excavated King Tutankhamun's tomb in the 1920s later died young from a range of maladies.
The discovery of the perfectly preserved tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922 by Howard Carter was (and still remains) one of the most important archaeological finds in history.

Unlike most Egyptian tombs which had been looted long ago, this one had remained untouched since antiquity - providing a unique look at the full extent and splendor of the Boy King's burial.

But while there was much to celebrate about the discovery, rumors began to circulate of a Pharaoh's curse after multiple members of the excavation team later died before their time.

These included Howard Carter himself, who died of a heart attack in 1939 after suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma, while Lord Carnarvon - who walked through the treasure rooms - died a mere five months later from blood poisoning.

This trend would continue for some time, with dozens of people involved in the excavation dropping dead from all manner of causes ranging from strokes and heart attacks to pneumonia and asphyxia.

But could there really have been a literal 'curse' at work ?
Now according to a new study headed by up Ross Fellowes, there may in fact be a conventional explanation for the phenomenon and it is all to do with excessive radiation exposure.

It turns out that some Egyptian tombs actually contain radioactive and hazardous elements that have the potential to prove highly damaging to human health given enough time and exposure.

Those who worked within King Tut's tomb likely received a heavy dose.

Evidence of radioactivity has been found in other tombs as well, but this has typically been put down to the natural background radiation in the rock.

"Reported strong radiation (as radon) in tomb ruins has been loosely attributed to the natural background from the parent bedrock," Fellowes wrote.

"However, the levels are unusually high and localized, which is not consistent with the characteristics of the limestone bedrock but implies some other unnatural source(s)."

Source: Mail Online | Comments (3)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by CrimsonKing 22 days ago
Kind of reminds of reading about the Qin tomb in China and Mercury poisoning... Sometimes it's just best to let the dead rest.
Comment icon #2 Posted by joseraul 22 days ago
Wow. Opened the door for even more questions.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Myles 21 days ago
I never believed in a curse and always figured there was logical explainations for the bad things, so this makes sense to me.

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