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Main » 2010 » February » 17 » Tutankhamun
4:12 PM
Tutankhamun

CAIRO (AFP) - – The pharaohs were not effeminate despite the appearance of Tutankhamun on his golden bust, Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said Wednesday as he unveiled new evidence about the life and times of the famed boy king.

The results of an extensive study showed King Tut's father Amenhotep III, the pharaoh and his forebears were unlikely to have had the feminine physiques they are depicted as having in 3,000-year-old artefacts.

"People said he was deviant and effeminate... (but) he was a sound man like all of us," Hawass said.

The antiquities boss announced the results of the study involving DNA tests and computerised tomography (CT) scans on Tutankhamun's mummy at a packed media conference in the Egyptian Museum.

It also revealed that the boy king died of malaria after a fall, used a cane and was the son of the monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten. Related article: Tut probe shows power of technology -- but raises questions too

"We found evidence from DNA that proves he had very severe malaria," Hawass said.

"He was ill, weak, walked on a cane. When he was 19, and got malaria, he fell, how we don't know, maybe he fell in the bathroom," he said.

"When he fell, and was weak from malaria, he died."

Researchers from Egypt used DNA testing to draw a family tree for Tutankhamun, and their results were reviewed by German scientists.

The researchers, led by Hawass, analysed DNA taken from 11 mummies, including the boy king himself.

They scanned all but one of the mummies to determine if they were related, looked for evidence of genetic disorders and infectious diseases, and determine what killed Tutankhamun at the age of 19.

Tutankhamun -- who is often referred to as King Tut -- died just nine years into his reign, which lasted from 1333 to 1324 BC.

Hawass said what seemed as an injury to the back of Tutankhamen's skull, which some had taken as evidence that he was murdered, was in fact a hole made by embalmers.

The testing also showed he was fathered by Akhenaten, the controversial pharaoh who ruled from around 1351 to 1334 BC and tried to radically transform religion in ancient Egypt.

The antiquities chief added that researchers were able to determine that the previously unidentified mummy found in the KV 55 tomb belonged to Akhenaten.

His mother was determined to have been an unidentified queen whose mummy, known as the Younger Lady, was once believed to have been Queen Nefertiti.

Hawas also ruled out Nefertiti as Tutankhamun's mother.

She was found by a French archaeologist in 1898 in tomb KV35, along with the mummies of Amenhotep II and other pharaohs.

The testing showed that one of the mummies, known as the Elder Lady, was the powerful Queen Tiye, Tutankhamun's grandmother and wife of Amenhotep III.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday.

Tut also sired two children, both girls, but they died in the womb, the study found.

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