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The Independent is reporting that the 3000-year-old mystery concerning the mode of death of ‘King Tut’ may have finally been solved. However, attention should be given to the ‘may’ within the story, as opposed to their headline. A further caveat is that the claim has come forth from the combination of a new television documentary, and based on the words of “one of Egypt’s leading experts on Tutankhamun” – that shy, retiring wallflower we like to know as Dr Zahi Hawass:

Speculation surrounding Tutankhamun’s death has been rife since his tomb was broken into in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. X-rays of the mummy taken in 1968 indicated a swelling at the base of the skull, suggesting “King Tut” was killed by a blow to the head.

More recent studies using a CT medical scanner, however, revealed he suffered a badly broken leg, just above his knee just before he died. That in turn probably led to lethal blood poisoning. Now further evidence has come to light suggesting that he suffered the fracture while hunting game from a chariot…

…”He was not murdered as many people thought. He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert. Falling from a chariot made this fracture in his left leg and this really is in my opinion how he died,” said Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Keeping in mind the above caveats, it’s still a fascinating case and it is nice to see some of the thinking behind the claim (flowers -> season of death -> time of hunting). Certainly does seem to be a Tut publicity blitz going on lately. I guess there’s still plenty of life in the boy-king yet… (thanks Marcus for the heads-up.)