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  • King Tut CT Scan Reveals Leg Wound
Mar 2005
MALVERN, Pa., March 11 -- Using images generated by a mobile computed tomography (CT) system from Siemens Medical Solutions, experts in Egypt have examined the cause of King Tutankhamen's death some 3000 years ago. The CT scan of the Pharaoh's mummy did not find evidence the Pharaoh was murdered.

The mummy of Tutankhamen was discovered in Egypt's Valley of Kings in 1922. An initial x-ray analysis in 1968 revealed a bone splinter embedded in the Pharaoh's skull. This fact, coupled with the body's obviously hasty mummification and burial, led to speculation that Tutankhamen had died from head injuries and possibly had been murdered, Siemens said.

"The now completed CT examination, based on images generated from a total of 1700 slices, found no evidence for this theory," Siemens said in a statement. "But the Pharaoh may have suffered from a broken thigh shortly before his death at the age of 19."

Siemens said some members of the examination team think the Pharaoh may have died from an infection of the leg wound. They refer to CT images that reveal embalming resin inside the wound, wiht no sign of a healing process. Other scientists on the team doubt the injury was the cause of the king's death; they believe it could have been inflicted later by archaeologists examining the mummy, arguing there was no evidence for haematoma, which should exist if the injury was inflicted during the Pharaoh's lifetime.

The examination is part of a research project being conducted by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities that involves scans of numerous other Egyptian mummies. Siemens donated a Somatom Emotion 6 CT system, installed in a trailer for mobility.

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