King Tut comes alive at The Franklin Institute

By Patricia J. Sheehan
May 3, 2007

Andreas F. Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig

“The resort of traditional beliefs, a mysterious death, and lost tomb, an incredible discovery.”

These words greet anxious visitors of The Franklin Institute as they shuffle through the dim entrance of the King Tutankhamun exhibit.

“Amazing,” whispers a mother who holds up her young son who peers through the glass case, which holds a small chest recovered from a tomb.

“Look how beautiful that blue is on that chest.”

King Tutankhamun, more commonly known as King Tut, took the throne of Egypt when he was just nine years old after the late King Akhenaten, who is known for establishing a new religion in Egypt.

Everything from cosmetic cases, dog collars, mirrors and even King Tut’s child-size throne can been seen in the exhibit. Most of the artifacts are in close to perfect condition; the gold paint still shines and even the engravings are intact.

Howard Carter and his team of archeologists made the thrilling discovery of King Tut’s tomb on Nov. 4, 1922 in the Valley of Kings. This graveyard is located on the west bank of the Nile river and hosts the tombs of at least 63 pharaohs.

Tut’s life ended short when he was just 19 years old. The reason for his death continues to be debated but modern science has helped to offer some interesting leads. It has been discovered that King Tut was about five feet six inches tall and had cavity-free teeth. However, X-ray shows a severe break in his femur just above his left knee. While the cause of the injury is not known, scientists believe that the break occurred just six days before his untimely death.

While the actual tomb of Tut is not available for public display, a life-size illuminated illustration can be observed. The light show highlights the process of the decaying body as well as the five items found on it at the time of discovery. A cobra headdress, a dagger with its sheath and a gold collar in the shape of a falcon are all displayed for the public.

This exhibit has something for everyone to enjoy. The artifacts are truly intriguing and the exhibit will run through September 20.

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Patricia J. Sheehan

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