discovered the the sarcophagus in February the following year.

Albert Zink, from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, deciphered the
truth about the ruler’s parents by studying the royal family’s DNA.

He found that Tut was born after his father Akhenaten – dubbed the heretic king – had
a relationship with his sister. Incest was not frowned upon by the ancient Egyptians
and they did not know about the health implications for any offspring.

Hutan Ashrafian, a lecturer in surgery at Imperial College London, said that several
members of the family appeared to have suffered from ailments which can be explained
by hormonal imbalances. He said: ‘A lot of his family predecessors lived to a ripe old
Quiz #487 Results
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Answers to Quiz #487- August 9, 2015
1.  What is this the entrance to? How old is it?
2. What does the image stamped on the right handle represent?
3. Why has the rope survived so long?
TinEye Alert
You can find this photo on,
but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
1.  King Tut's Fifth Shrine, 3245 years old when it was discovered in 1922.
2. Anubis, the Egyptian jackal god entrusted with protecting the cemetery
3.  Because of the dry, arid climate of Egypt and
because Tut's tomb was sealed off, depleting the oxygen required
for bacterial growth.
Comments from Our Readers
Searched "ancient door handle with rope, mayan".  Of course, mayan was wrong,
but it got me the answer as the top choice on google.
Judy Pfaff
This was a very cool photo -  I did a quick search on "mummy hand tomb entrance
rope" and it came right up on  I then got lost looking at
more photos, and almost forgot to answer the quiz!  :)
Beth Long
N.B.  Thanks for the compliment.  That's the sign of a good quiz! - Q. Gen.
This whole "ropes can last almost forever" bit blows me away. Thanks!
Debbie Johnson
Thanks, Fearless Leader! When I first glanced at the photo of the rope, etc., my
thought was that I was looking at some sort of dog bone! I have solved the quiz for
Grace Hertz
This was an easy one.  Guessing that it was Tut's tomb, googled "rope seal on king
tut's tomb door", which let to with all the answers.
Art Siegel
[The article at] is fascinating!!!  We visited the exhibit when it came
to New Orleans many years ago and I have always been enthralled in Egyptian
Elaine C Hebert
You really have to think about this.  Here was a relatively obscure young man
who died a few thousand years ago who became one of the most well-known
figures of Egyptian history.  - Q. Gen.
Yes, it is thought provoking that is for sure but life has always had its own agenda.
Cindy Costigan

i think if this were my field - archeology - i would hate to disturb it, but would also
be excited to be the first to make all the discoveries that awaited.

wasn't it "common" for egyptian royalty to have brother marry sister?  perhaps this
was the first proof of it (his parents) and that would be different.  but Cleopatra
married her brother, i think.   and all that european royalty - at best marrying
second cousins etc.  
i wonder if king Tut having all those physical differences made them "desireable" -
or damaged his rep as deserving of ruling.

i'm impressed that he is so well known but lived such a short time.
Debbie Johnson
I went to google and first tried "Old Knot" then I tried "Knot from the old days",
then I tried "King Tut ties the knot" and found this web site:
Gus Marsh
It really is outstanding. I saw a Tut exhibit 10 years ago in Chicago. What
fascinated me was the folding camp stool and a chair. They had very sophisticated

I just heard about the under sea discoveries in shallow water just off shore. Maybe
that is where the Atlantis story came from!
Tom Collins
Very, very fascinating, Fearless Leader! It is amazing what tests are available now
that reveal so much about King Tut.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
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Megan Neilsen

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
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The seal was actually a seal to the King
Tut’s fifth shrine. The king was buried in
a series of four sarcophagi, which were
in turn kept inside a series of five shrines.
That is the seal to the fifth shrine, so
technically not a room at all. This
unbroken seal stayed 3,245 years
untouched. The late discovery of Tut’s
tomb resulted from the fact that it was
covered by debris from that of Ramesses
IV which was located directly above its
entrance. While the outermost shrine of
the youthful pharaoh had been opened not
once but twice in ancient times, the doors
of the second of the huge shrines of
gilded wood containing the royal
sarcophagus still carried the necropolis
The Unbroken Seal on King Tutankhamun’s Tomb, 1922

How Megan Solved the Puzzle
The bird hieroglyph was a giveaway and it clearly had to be the
entrance to something Egyptian.  I guessed King Tut's tomb first up
but, thinking that was too obvious, decided on the more general
google <egyptian tomb entrance>.  And that was enough to get it.  
There is a stack of stuff out there about Tutankhamen's tomb and its
discovery, all easy to find, so with a few exceptions I won't name the
many sites. However, a particular favourite (that might interest others
if not already found) is an online transcript of Howard Carter's actual
diaries at

Now for something weird.  I'm wondering how come you chose this subject
this particular week.  Coincidence or prescience?  Because King Tut's tomb
has been all over the news with regard to the possibility that it also contains
the body of the beautiful Nerfertiti, thought to be his mother e.g.,

Now I know you are magic Colleen, but magic enough to know this
before it broke???  Anyway, let me tell you how it broke for me.  I
had found your new puzzle the night before the story emerged,
figured the basics and went to bed.  A clock radio wakes us with
morning news, and I roused next day with someone rabbitting on
about Nefertiti and King Tut.  Decided that my brain must have been
ticking overtime on the quiz and that I was dreaming, so went back
to sleep.  You know the rest ...

Megan Neilsen

N. B. It's really eerie how the universe is tracking the quizzes.  It's
almost like the powers that be wait to see what is posted, and then
decide the direction history should take.

Scary isn't it?

- Q. Gen.
The REAL face of King Tut: Pharaoh had girlish hips, a club foot and buck teeth
according to 'virtual autopsy' that also revealed his parents were brother and

* ‘Virtual autopsy’ composed of more than 2,000 computer scans carried out

* Genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family showed his parents were brother
and sister

* Family history could also have led to his premature death in his late teens

* Various myths have him murdered or dying in chariot race

* Club foot would have made it impossible to take part in chariot racing


From Howard Carter's Diary - 1922

Sunday, November 5.

Discovered tomb under tomb of Ramses VI
Investigated same & found seals intact.

It took the whole of the preceding day and most of this day to free
this excavation before the upper margins of the staircase could be
demarcated on its four sides. As first conjectured it proved to be an
opening (about 4 ms x 1.60 ms) excavated in the bed-rock, with its
W. end abutting against the rock slope of the small hillock in which
Ramses VI had excavated his tomb. As the work proceeded we
found that the western end of the cutting receded under the slope of
the rock, and thus was partly roofed over by the overhanging rock.

Towards sunset we had cleared down to the level of the 12th step,
which was sufficient to expose a large part of the upper portion of a
plastered and sealed doorway. Here before us was sufficient evidence
to show that it really was an entrance to a tomb, and by the seals, to
all outward appearances that it was intact.

I examined this exposed portion of the sealed doorway and noticed
that the only decipherable impressions of the seals were those of the
well-known Royal Necropolis seal, i.e., Anubis (symbolizing a king)
over nine foes.

With the evidence of these seals, and the fact that the workmen's
huts, which in all probabilities dated from the time of the construction
of Rameses VI's tomb, were built over the mouth of the entrance of
this newly discovered tomb without apparently disturbing it, it was
clear that its content would be undisturbed at least since the XXth

The seal-impressions suggested that it belonged to somebody of high
standing but at that time I had not found any indications as to whom.

I noticed at the top of the doorway, where some of the cement-like
plaster had fallen away, a heavy wooden lintel. To assure myself of
the method in which the doorway was blocked, I made a small hole
under this wooden lintel - the R. hand corner, about 35 x 15 cms in
size. By this hole I was able to perceive with the aid of an electrical
torch that a passage beyond was completely filled with stones and
rubble up to its ceiling, which was again evidence of something that
had required careful closing. It was a thrilling moment for an
excavator, quite alone save his native staff of workmen, to suddenly
find himself, after so many years of toilsome work, on the verge of
what looked like a magnificent discovery - an untouched tomb. With
certain reluctance I reclosed the small hole that I had made, and
returned to another careful search among the seals to see if I could
not find some indication that would point to the identity of the owner,
but it was of no avail for the small space bared by my excavation did
not expose any impression sufficiently clear to be made out, other
than that of the Royal Necropolis seal already mentioned.

Though I was satisfied that I was on the verge of perhaps a
magnificent find, probably one of the missing tombs that I had been
seeking for many years, I was much puzzled by the smallness of the
opening in comparison with those of other royal tombs in the valley.
Its design was certainly of the XVIIIth Dyn. Could it be the tomb of
a noble, buried there by royal consent? Or was it a royal cache? As
far as my investigations had gone there was absolutely nothing to tell
me. Had I known that by digging a few inches deeper I would have
exposed seal impressions showing Tut.ankh.Amen's insignia distinctly
I would have fervently worked on and set my mind at rest, but as it
was, it was getting late, the night had fast set in, the full moon had
risen high in the eastern heavens, I refilled the excavation for
protection, and with my men selected for the occasion - they like
myself delighted beyond all expectation - I returned home and cabled
to [
Lord Carnavon] (then in England) the following message:-

"At last have made wonderful discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb
with seals intact recovered same for your arrival congratulations "
Layout of Tut's Burial Site
seal which indicated the pharaoh’s mummy was untouched and intact.

The tomb of the boy-king was opened by the famous archaeologist and Egyptologist
Howard Carter in the early 20’s. The tomb contained treasure more spectacular than
any previous discoveries. Shortly after Howard Carter removed the lid of the outermost
shrine in Tutankhamun’s Burial Chamber, he discovered three more. Harry Burton
photographed the ornately decorated doors of the second shrine while closed, their
simple copper handles secured together tightly by a rope tied through them. The
knotted cord was accompanied by a delicate clay seal featuring Anubis, the ancient
Egyptians’ jackal god entrusted with the protection of the cemetery.

Even at the outset, Carter and his financier, Lord Carnarvon, knew that the tomb had
been compromised, because of a re-plastered and sealed hole in the outer doorway (not
on the fifth shrine). Furthermore, once they had entered the tomb, the disorganized
state of the material, the damage sustained by several objects and the discernible lack of
solid metalwork, bedding, glass, oils and unguents all suggested that the tomb had been
robbed during antiquity.

The story goes that he also found an ancient clay tablet in the antechamber. When he
later translated it, the inscription read: “Death will slay with his wings whoever disturbs
the peace of the pharaoh”. This would later became the famous “Curse of the
Pharaohs”, which in fact is just a myth. The curse, which does not differentiate
between thieves and archaeologists, allegedly can cause bad luck, illness or death.

Tutankhamen was a very inconsequential king while alive, however because they dug
his tomb under existing tombs so robbers never found it, it became one of the most
valuable archaeological finds. Because of its lower position in the Valley of the Kings,
the tomb’s entrance was sealed by rocks and mud from flooding and the location was
lost until Carter’s discovery. Tutankhamen was a relatively minor Pharaoh that
seemingly died unexpectedly at a young age so whatever wealth he was buried with that
archeologists uncovered was just a fraction of what it could of been, had he gone on to
live a full life. So can you imagine the immense wealth that must have been buried with
great Pharaohs such as Ramesses II.

How come the rope lasted 3200 years without falling apart? Rope is one of the
fundamental human technologies. Archaeologists have found two-ply ropes going back
28,000 years. Egyptians were the first documented civilization to use specialized tools
to make rope. One key why the rope lasted so long wasn’t the rope itself, it was the
aridity of the air in the desert. It dries out and preserves things. Another key is oxygen
deprivation. Tombs are sealed to the outside. Bacteria can break
things down as long as
they have oxygen, but then they
effectively suffocate. It’s not uncommon
to find rope, wooden carvings, cloth,
organic dyes, etc. in Egyptian pyramids
and tombs that wouldn’t have survived
elsewhere in the world. Egypt’s desert
conditions made possible the preservation
of far more organic material than would
have otherwise been the case. This in
contrast to, say, Maya sites in Central
America which are far younger, but from
which almost no organic material has been
recovered. The main difference is jungle
vs desert conditions.
Howard Carter and an assistant examine
Tutankhamen's coffin.
The REAL Face of King Tut
With strong features cast in burnished
gold, Tutankhamun’s burial mask projects
an image of majestic beauty and royal

But in the flesh, King Tut had buck teeth,
a club foot and girlish hips, according to
the most detailed examination ever of the
ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s remains.
And rather than being a boy king with a
love of chariot racing, Tut relied on
walking sticks to get around during his
rule in the 14th century BC, researchers
A ‘virtual autopsy’, composed of more than 2,000 computer scans, was carried out in
tandem with a genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family, which supports evidence that
his parents were brother and sister.

The scientists believe that this left him with physical impairments triggered by hormonal
imbalances. And his family history could also have led to his premature death in his late

Various myths suggest he was murdered or was involved in a chariot crash after
fractures were found in his skull and other parts of his skeleton.

Now scientists believe he may have died of an inherited illness because only one of the
breaks occurred before he died, while his
club foot would have made chariot racing

In 1907, Lord Carnarvon George Herbert
asked English archaeologist and Egyptologist
Howard Carter to supervise excavations in
the Valley of the Kings.

On 4 November 1922, Carter's group found
steps that led to Tutankhamun's tomb and
spent several months cataloguing the

They opened the burial chamber and
age. Only his immediate line were dying
early, and they were dying earlier each

Egyptian radiologist Ashraf Selim: ‘The
virtual autopsy shows the toes are
divergent – in layman’s terms it’s club
foot. He would have been heavily limping.
‘There is only one site where we can say
a fracture happened before he died and
that is the knee.’

Evidence of King Tut’s physical
limitations were also backed up by 130
used walking canes found in his tomb.

Presenter Dallas Campbell, said: 'Trying to navigate through the intense speculation and
politics that surround one of the most famous characters in history is both daunting and
thrilling in equal measure.

'Foolhardy perhaps! But using solid science and a truly multi-disciplinary approach we’
ve finally been able to put to bed some of the myths and pre-conceived ideas that have
surrounded his life and death, and hopefully add a new chapter that will ensure the
Tutankhamun story continues to fascinate.'

Earlier this year, egyptologists from the American University in Cairo shed light on
some of the bizarre burial rituals discovered in the tomb, including the fact the king’s
penis was embalmed at a 90-degree angle – the only mummy to have ever been found
with this feature.
They claimed that this may have been carried out on purpose to make the king appear
like Osiris, the god of the underworld, in an attempt to frighten religious revolutionaries.
At the time of his death in 1323 BC, the father of the teenage Egyptian king was said to
be leading a religious revolution in the country.

It is believed Akhenaten wanted to destroy the belief in the Egyptian gods and instead
worship a sun disc called the Aten.

Tutanhkhamun was trying to tackle this revolution when he was believed to have
broken his leg and died from an infection in the wound. DNA analysis in 2010 also
found traces of malaria in his system.

During mummification a decision was made to not only embalm the erect penis, but
also to cover the king’s body in black liquid - similar in colour to the skin of Osiris -
and remove his heart.

These rituals, according to Professor Salima Ikram from the university, were done in
order to make people think Tutankhamun was the underworld god.
                    DISCOVERY OF TUTANKHAMUN

In 1907, Lord Carnarvon George Herbert asked English archaeologist
and Egyptologist Howard Carter to supervise excavations in the
Valley of the Kings.

On 4 November 1922, Carter's group found steps that led to
Tutankhamun's tomb.

He spent several months cataloguing the antechamber before opening
the burial chamber and discovering the sarcophagus in February the
following year.

He recorded these movements in his journal, and this diary is just one
of the items on display in the Ashmolean’s ‘Discovering
Tutankhamun’ exhibit.

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, and
ruled between 1332 BC and 1323 BC.

He was the son of Akhenaten and took to the throne at the age of nine
or ten.When he became king, he married his half-sister,

He died at around the age of 18 and the cause of death is unknown.