King Tutankhamun has become one of the most well-known pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. But his life on earth tells a remarkably different story. He began his reign when he was just nine years old, ruling from 1333 BCE until his untimely death at age 19 in 1323 BCE. While his death remains a mystery and some say it was murder, scientists say he most likely died from a broken leg and subsequent infection.
His reign was considered insignificant compared to other great rulers like Ramses or Thutmose III. King Tut was buried in a relatively small, cramped tomb for the pharaohs of the times. He also traditionally should have been buried close to family in the Western Valley. Some theories say that because he died so young, he was unable to finish his intended grand tomb. Another theory is that Tutankhamun’s successor, Ay, strategically swapped out the tombs, and saved for himself the more spectacular tomb in the Western Valley, close to the tomb of Amenhotep III., Tut’s grandfather.
We may never know the true story, but the fact remains that King Tutankhamun was hidden from the world for more than 3,000 years. He lay in his gilded tomb, undisturbed through millennia of empires, civilisations, wars, and natural disasters. But this once-forgotten king has since transformed into an ancient icon, captivating the world and inspiring countless film, exhibitions and art. Today he’s one of the most renowned ancient rulers of all time and his intact royal tomb has given historians a wealth of information about Ancient Egypt.
Over a century later, we’re still fascinated by it all. From Howard Carter’s unwavering determination, to the Egyptomania that gripped the world, and the intriguing story of King Tutankhamun himself, this is a story that will be told for centuries more.