National Geographic : 2007 Dec
ARCHAEOLOGY NG GRANTEE Mum'S the Word In 1907 archaeologists exploring the Valley of the Kings-the great New Kingdom cemetery of Egyptian royalty-discovered a mummy badly damaged by water along with a puzzling array of funerary treasures in a tomb from about 1330 B.C. The identity of the deceased has been debated ever since. Now, a CT scan done as part of the Egyptian Mummy Project by Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist, has revealed some astonishing evidence. The modest tomb known as KV55 held a gilded wooden coffin with royal titles. The names on the coffin had been chiseled out and its golden face partly ripped off. Who could have provoked such vandalism? The heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, King Tut's father or brother, is one candidate. Two of the tomb's four "magic bricks," the traditional protection against evil, clearly bore his name. But the chamber also held artifacts belonging to King Amenhotep III, two queens, a princess, even Tut himself. The CT images confirm well-known similarities between the KV55 remains and Tut (right) but offer Meiten e a new twist: The bones belonged terranean Sea to someone perhaps as old as 60. Cairo* This might fit an obscure king SAUDI named Smenkhkare, who ruled LIBYA EGYPT ARABIA briefly before Tut. Akhenaten, Valley of who lived at least to middle age, the Kings remains a possibility. Future Oi. 400 SUDAN . DNA tests could add new evi 0k o-a dence to solve this very, very NGM MAPSJ cold case. -A . R. Williams CLOSE RESEMBLANCE CT images of the KV55 skull (middle) and King Tut's mummy (above) reveal dis tinctive egg-shaped heads. PHOTOS:JOHNHAZARD,NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICTELEVISION/SIEMENS (TOP); BRANDOQUILICI,NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC TELEVISION/SIEMENS Missions Project To support our explorers and learn more, go to nationalgeographic.com/explorers-program.