Amazing 7 things(probably) you didn’t know about Tutankhamun
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3: Tutankhamun was buried in the world’s most expensive coffin
Two of Tutankhamun’s three coffins were made of wood, covered with gold sheet.
But, to Howard Carter’s great surprise, the innermost coffin was made from thick sheets of beaten gold.
This coffin measures 1.88m in length, and weighs 110.4kg. If it were to be scrapped today it would be worth well over £1m.
But as Tutankhamun’s final resting place it is, of course, priceless.
4: He was buried in a second-hand coffin
Tutankhamun’s mummy lay within a nest of three golden coffins, which fitted snugly one inside another like a set of Russian dolls.
During the funeral ritual the combined coffins were placed in a rectangular stone sarcophagus.
Unfortunately, the outer coffin proved to be slightly too big, and its toes peeked over the edge of the sarcophagus, preventing the lid from closing.
Carpenters were quickly summoned and the coffin’s toes were cut away.
More than 3,000 years later Howard Carter would find the fragments lying in the base of the sarcophagus.
All three of Tutankhamun’s coffins were similar in style: they were “anthropoid”, or human-form coffins, shaped to look like the god of the dead, Osiris, lying on his back and holding the crook and flail in his crossed arms.
But the middle coffin had a slightly different style and its face did not look like the faces on other two coffins.
Nor did it look like the face on Tutankhamun’s death mask.
Many Egyptologists now believe that this middle coffin – along with some of Tutankhamun’s other grave goods – was originally made for the mysterious “Neferneferuaten” – an enigmatic individual whose name is recorded in inscriptions and who may have been Tutankhamun’s immediate predecessor.
We do not know what happened to Neferneferuaten, nor how Tutankhamun came to be buried in his or her coffin.
5: Tutankhamun’s heart is missing
The ancient Egyptians believed that it was possible to live again after death,
but thought that this could only be achieved if the body was preserved in a lifelike condition.
This led them to develop the science of artificial mummification.
Essentially, mummification involved desiccating the body in natron salt,
then wrapping it in many layers of bandages to preserve a lifelike shape. The body’s internal organs were removed at the start of the
mummification process and preserved separately. The brain, its function then unknown, was simply thrown away – the heart, rather than the brain, was regarded as the organ of reasoning.
As such, the heart would be required in the afterlife. It was therefore left in place and, if accidentally removed, immediately sewn back; though not always in its original location.
Tutankhamun, however, has no heart. Instead he was provided with an amuletic scarab inscribed with a funerary spell.
This may have happened simply because the undertakers were careless, but it could also be a sign that Tutankhamun died far from home.
By the time his body arrived at the undertakers’ workshop, his heart may have been too decayed to be preserved.