King Tut: And the Cause of Death is… To Be Announced

   Posted by: Keith Payne   

Categories: Egypt in the News, Mummies

zahi-indyIt has been nearly a month now since Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that in one month he would reveal “the exact reason why King Tut died.” 

The title of the lecture was Mysteries of Tutankhamun Revealed.  I was in attendance, and among the most exciting revelations were promises to reveal more revelations in the very near future.

To be more specific, at a lecture on August 7th, 2009, at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis, IN, Dr. Hawass assured the crowd that he knew the exact cause of Tutankhamun’s death, long thought (apparently incorrectly) to be murder, and that he would be revealing the cause at a press conference within a month.  (For a full review of the lecture see my analysis on Heritage Key:  Lecture Review: Zahi Hawass’ Mysteries of King Tut Revealed). 

The Boy King, Tutankhamun (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Boy King, Tutankhamun (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Dr. Hawass also promised that other forensic results would be made public within the month.  For example, why did the boy king need to use a cane at such a young age?  He also announced that the results of a second paternity test confirming that Tutankhamun is the father of one of the fetuses found in his tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 would be subjected to publication for peer review this month.

It has been one month and one day since the lecture, so maybe what Dr. Hawass meant was that the cause of death would be announced sometime in September.  That effectively resets the clock to T-minus 30 24 days

The exhibition Tutankhamun the Golden King and the Great Pharaohs is due to open at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, on November 24th, 2009 (it is currently running at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, where it will remain until October 25th, 2009).  But there has been no announcement that Dr. Hawass will be speaking in Toronto to promote the exhibition, as he did in San Francisco and Indianapolis.  Besides, that would be two months from now.

The only up-coming speaking engagement for the Good Doctor that I am aware of is the Geotechnical Engineering Conference coming up on October 6th, 2009, at Alexandria (Hawass to Speak at Geotechnical Engineering Conference), and that doesn’t sound like a very promising venue for a discussion of mummy forensics

But on the subject of Egypt and engineering, we have much excitement of our own planned for September here at Em Hotep!, including a multi-part very in-depth review of Jean-Pierre Houdin’s explanation of how the Pyramid of Khufu was constructed.  It’s much more complex than just an internal ramp, as you will see.

So in the meanwhile, stay tuned to Em Hotep! for more death and construction.



Photograph “Tête de Toutânkhamon enfant (musée du Caire Egypte).jpg” by Wiki user dalbera, is provided courtesy of Wikimedia Commons  and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of those files under the conditions that you appropriately attribute them, and that you distribute them only under a license identical to this one. Official licensePhotograph “hawass3.jpg” by Anne Houston Payne is courtesty of Heritage Key–All rights reserved.

ALL OTHER photographs and text are copyright 2009, all rights reserved.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, September 6th, 2009 at 12:14 am and is filed under Egypt in the News, Mummies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 comments so far


My mother, who used to be a nurse, is absolutely convinced that Tutankhamun died from a fat embolism resulting from his broken thigh bone. I’m really curious to see if Hawass will corroborate her theory.

September 6th, 2009 at 1:12 am

Very interesting..

That would explain the canes. Apparently Tutankhamun was buried with more than 130 walking sticks, and in a scene (I believe in the tomb) he is depicted walking with one.

Thanks for contributing, Samantha! If it turns out to be a fat embolism then you called it first!

September 6th, 2009 at 2:11 am

Well my mother called it first, technically…but no problem! If it does turn out to be a fat embolism, I’ll never hear the end of it from her, lol. The difficulty with a fat embolism is that it’s undetectable in the bones, only in the blood. But it’s a very reasonable hypothesis, I think.

September 6th, 2009 at 10:46 am

If I’m not mistaken, Dr Hawass will also talk at the opening of the ‘Carter Rest House’, scheduled in November.

“Hawass said that to celebrate 86 years since the discovery, a one-day workshop would be held alongside a forum for dialogue surrounding Carter’s discovery and subsequent research on the Valley of the Kings.”

As Carter discovered – our beloved – King Tut, that would be like .. the appropriate moment for the announcement?

September 6th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Thats right! Good catch, Ann!

The opening, if I understand the posting correctly (Site Management and Restoration at Luxor), along with the speech and workshop will be on November 4th.

It would not make sense to drop a bombshell such as the cause of death before giving a lecture a few weeks later at, of all places, the Carter House.

I keep forgetting that Zahi’s time is not the same as our time! It is good to be the king, or so I hear!

The delay is perfectly reasonable in that light.

September 6th, 2009 at 10:58 pm
sean stenzel

what was the cause of death for king tut.??

October 13th, 2009 at 10:43 am

Good question Sean.

Dr. Hawass still has not made that announcement, although we have it on our October Checklist.

However, I think Ann may have the right idea (see above). The opening of the Carter Rest House next month may be the event he is holding out for. After all, they will becelebrating the discovery of Tutankhamun so what better venue.

Not that I am droppong it from the October checklist! It was supposed to happen in September! But still, it does make more sense to hold out for the Carter Rest House.

I tell you what.. If Zahi Hawass reveals KV64 and KV65 in October, then he is off the hook for Tut’s C.O.D.

Fair enough? I think so..

October 14th, 2009 at 9:37 pm
sean stenzel

thank you for anwsering my question for the king tut. we are studing king tut.

October 15th, 2009 at 10:15 am

You are very welcome, Sean. Hopefully we will all have an answer very soon!

October 16th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

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