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No sign of Queen Tut as tomb reveals 3,000-year-old secret
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Survival after a fracture is quite easy to detect. Even after such a short time as 5 days, there is a start of bone re-growth in the break area.
Any speculation that Tutankhamen was handicapped in some way has been effectively shown to be mere conjecture and nothing else by the CT scan that was done. In effect, he was shown to be a normal, healthy male, 19-20 years old, who just happened to die! Who is to say if his death was natural--an accident, an injury in battle (the gold foil found in the knee suggest this), a fall from a chariot--or an arraigned "accident" by someone in the court who wanted him out of the picture. Such details of his death we will probably never know, unless a "tell all" papyrus scroll turns up! The CT scan has played havoc with many theories concerning his death. There was no blow to the back of the head, there is no evidence of any type of fatal injury, except the broken leg, missing knee-cap and the on-going question of his missing sternum--is that evidence of a massive injury removed by the embalmers, damage done by the Carter team in their search for gold--who knows for sure? I, for one, will accept the results of the CT.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The guy was a cripple as those walking sticks in his tomb make clear (as do numerous depictions of him using a cane).


That was one of the theories for a long time but the CT-scans showed Tutankhamun to have been healthy. There's no sign of a crippling disease. The worst the body shows is an impacted wisdom tooth and slight curvature of the spine. The curvature was not major and was of the type many people have but may live their entire lives not even knowing about it.

Yes, there were lots of walking staves in the tomb, but that alone doesn't point to being crippled. I can also point out the six chariots and many war and hunting implements, many of which show clear usage.

The CT-scans disproved a number of old theories--I used to be a proponent of the "bonked in the head" angle, but that as well was proven demonstratively false. On the team that studied the body were professional anatomists and forensic scientists from a number of different institutions who determined these findings, scientists from Egypt and Europe, and I myself am not qualified to refute them. All I can say is that everything they reported is 100% consistent with what I've studied of forensics and anatomy (based on personal interest, mind you--not any kind of professional study).

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Yet the kneecap is also missing and I doubt that happened naturally, nor can I see any reason why embalmers would remove it.


Tut's left patella was found by modern examiners to be clutched in the left hand. As far as I can tell it's still there, as I've seen it on the life-size images of the CT-scans on display in the current Tut exhibit. The question is, how did it get there? Most likely, in my opinion, during their rugged treatment of the body, Douglass Derry and Saleh Bey Hamdi (Carter's "cutters") put it there when they were cutting the legs from the pelvis; the kneecap was probably already very loose by that point. The kind of injury sustained to the left leg could easily have torn away a lot of the muscle and connective tissue in that thin area of the leg, rendering the kneecap loose shortly before death. Quite hideous, that.

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It strikes me as more than a little interesting that X-rays and scans are now being interpreted as a perimortem leg fracture and not as postmortem handling...


If you're referring to the fracture of the left distal femur, then it's most clearly perimortem. The scans of January 2005 clearly show the inflammation behind the patella that had taken place after the injury--the body's natural reaction to such a wound. Just as clear is the fracture itself. Yes, the body is literally riddled with fractures, but professional anatomists and forensic scientists generally do not have a problem distinguishing a perimortem injury from one that occurred some 3000 years later.

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This fits in very much with Hawass' stated mission of refuting the "pyramidiots."


I should hope he does actively refute pyramidiots. All of us with a background in the study of ancient Egypt, be that study formal or personal, should feel obligated in the very least to try to stear pyramidiots into the light of reason and away from the murk of their absurdity.

But those who refute Hawass are not pyramidiots. If you're a professional in the field of Egyptology and you're working in Egypt and happen publically to refute Hawass, you're sure in for a world of hurt. That's no secret. You have to tread lightly over there. I for one do not like how Hawass conducts himself and I'm growing increasingly weary of his ego, but he is the "boss" over there.

And he likes to remind everyone about it. I didn't like how he had to be present in KV63 for the opening of that last coffin; the Discovery Channel special clearly made it sound like it was the law, but I don't know how true that is. I think Hawass just liked the publicity. Although I do like how he put all the annoying press people in their place. They didn't all need to be down there for the unsealing, for Pete's sake! Mad
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pretty much agree with Osiris and kmt-sesh on this one. I think the CT scans show that an injury was sustained to the legs which can easily have lead to Tut's death.

Quote:
Quote: The guy was a cripple as those walking sticks in his tomb make clear (as do numerous depictions of him using a cane).

That was one of the theories for a long time but the CT-scans showed Tutankhamun to have been healthy. There's no sign of a crippling disease.


I think the canes in Tuts tomb are rather seriously mis-interpreted. The cane was a symbol of status. Any self respecting official was depicted with a staff of some type. Even one of the glyphs for an official is represented by a man with a staff/cane. I think they were a status symbol, not anything used as a crutch. Besides, looking at these sticks, I suspect they would break if any serious weight was put on them Smile

And as Kmt-sesh mentions there is also evidence that Tut was a rather active kid.

The whole to do about Hawass is rather interesting. Not the first time that researchers come into conflict with administrators Very Happy Actually that's rather common in the academic world.
I don't think the field of Egyptology is any more fractious than other areas. I know of a professor who would eat lunch in front of a mirror so he would have a friendly face to look at. (nope not making that up).

The conflict between administration and researchers is based on access to money and resources. Hawass has the power and control in all that. And yes he is rather "dictatorial".
I just read that he was just recently re-appointed. I read he would be eligible to retire next year. He'll be 60.

I find some of his actions a bit hard to stomach as well, but considering that he is getting a lot of work done, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

I would think that he's in a very difficult position. Some of the rules about things being cleared through him before publication apparently have to do with the financial deal between the SCA and Discovery Channel. They apparently payed a lot of money. I can see why he would want to make sure that their rights are covered as well.
He wants to make sure that in the future they will fork over large amounts of money again.

I think this explains some of his exploits on the national geographic programs as well. There is pressure to produce photo-genic images and splashy results.

I know: It would be nice if he would hog the lime light a little less, and be a bit more careful when he spews forth his ideas. Laughing
But given the pressure I can understand that he seems to fall into this trap.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Any speculation that Tutankhamen was handicapped in some way has been effectively shown to be mere conjecture and nothing else by the CT scan that was done. In effect, he was shown to be a normal, healthy male, 19-20 years old, who just happened to die!


I certainly agree with you, Osiris II. I was just thinking a little more about RobertStJames's mention of Tut having been a cripple. Much has been misconstrued about sciolosis or another congenital deformity of the back because of the severe bend to the spine that was found in the earliest examinations of the mummy. This has also been dismissed by modern scientists: the severe curve of the spine is due to the embalming and storage of the body; the head alone (when put back on the body Razz ) shows that Tut was not in his coffins terribly straight.

By the way, I found a nice image of the fracture to the leg. It is clearly visible just above where the kneecap should be. Is it 100% conclusive? Of course not. But it's by far the most likely scenario. As you said, we can't be sure how the leg was so badly fractured, but as a result of the CT-scans it makes for a much more solid explanation than past theories.

Quote:
...there is no evidence of any type of fatal injury, except the broken leg, missing knee-cap and the on-going question of his missing sternum


This is one of the single-most mysterious things about Tut's mummy. Awhile ago I wrote a post about a new theory put forward and officially announced at the recent ARCE convention in New Jersey, that Tut had been kicked by a horse and thus sustained these injuries. I still find that theory to be plausible but I can't say I believe it as the leading case to be made any more. The fact is, the ribs show clear signs of having been cut or sawed, so my take on it is, is that Douglass Derry and Saleh Bey Hamdi were responsible for this, as they were extracting the body from the coffin. That doesn't explain what happened to the missing sternum itself, though!

RobertStJames also mentioned past theories put forward by the likes of Bob Brier. Now, I must be clear that I very much like Brier and used to believe his own murder theory, which has since been disproven. LOL Must be tough for the poor guy, having written that fascinating book and all. (Nevertheless, I can't help noticing that this book is being sold in the Tut exhibit gift shop!). I may be mistaken, but I don't think Brier ever examined Tut's body himself. He was just looking at old X-ray films shot in 1968 and 1978. Brier and other past theorizers (is "theorizers" even a word?) did not have the benefit of the much more sophisticated CT-scan images, so they can be forgiven. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I pretty much agree with Osiris and kmt-sesh on this one. I think the CT scans show that an injury was sustained to the legs which can easily have lead to Tut's death.


LOL This is a pretty active discussion tonight. Twice now I've hit "Submit" only to find someone else has jumped in.

I appreciate your take on the nature of academia; you have a unique perspective on that, and you explain it well. And you're right to give Hawass the benefit of the doubt. I find many of his actions to be distasteful myself, and I do personally believe that he's one to jump in front of the camera, but I do respect and admire him for all he's done for Egypt. He has also done well to bite down on the number and types of excavations, which I like.

I also like your reminding us of the status symbol of the cane. That didn't even occur to me. We have a couple of the more ornamented staves on display in the exhibit. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is a mis-nomer to call then canes at all. The very word "cane" stirs up an image of a handicapped men, who needs assistance in walking and balance. The object in question could be more correctly called a staff, one that established the person as one with great status, a ruler, a nobleman. Someone with great personal merit. And as anneke says, looking at them you would not expect them to support any weight at all, merely to be carried for "show".
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a good point, Osiris II, which is why I like to call them "staves." And as I mentioned, quite a few of these staffs were richly ornamented, clearly for show. Like you said, not meant for a lot of weight.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osiris II wrote:
I think it is a mis-nomer to call then canes at all. The very word "cane" stirs up an image of a handicapped men, who needs assistance in walking and balance.


Or perhaps we need to substitute the image of a 19th Century schoolmaster's cane. The Egyptian official's staff, may well symbolically represent the corporal punishment that was the means by which his commands were enforced.

Beatings seem to have been commonplace in Egyptian life. They were usually part of the punishment for minor offences, and were also used liberally in judicial interrogations.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:

That was one of the theories for a long time but the CT-scans showed Tutankhamun to have been healthy.


CT scans are absolute, true. The interpretations of those scans are not:

Hawass said only the research team’s members would be allowed to study the CT images.
(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7128729/)


In other words, the only people allowed to look at those pictures are dependent on Hawass for their jobs. What kind of approach to research is this? Is he afraid a non-Egyptian team will not support his conclusions? We know that two of Tut's children were born w/spina bifida. his wife is never shown with a cane. He is. Spina bifida is not 100% genetic in all cases, but when you have two children both suffering from it, it's a good bet they're getting it from one or both parents.



<...>
Quote:

Yes, there were lots of walking staves in the tomb, but that alone doesn't point to being crippled. I can also point out the six chariots and many war and hunting implements, many of which show clear usage.


Certainly a good argument for his not being a crippled, and since no other tombs were found intact (excepting Yuya/Thuya) it's possible other pharaohs were interred with staffs of authority which have simply been lost to Time. But I don't recall any of them being depicted as using those staffs. Nor clear evidence of a genetic defect which would have affected the lower spine being present in their children, and in their own skeletons, unless you accept the questionable "embalmers positioned Tut that way" which I don't.

It seems like there's a number of hard facts pointing toward his being partially crippled, and only one CT scan evaluation by a team comprised of unknown "experts" who claim he was not.

<...>
Quote:
On the team that studied the body were professional anatomists and forensic scientists from a number of different institutions who determined these findings, scientists from Egypt and Europe,


This is what I've read too, yet I rarely see any actual names. What I am finding are quotes like the one from MSNBC above. Quotes that suggest Hawass maintains strict control of any and all information. This is not a surprise as we're seeing the same behavior w/KV63.



Quote:
The kind of injury sustained to the left leg could easily have torn away a lot of the muscle and connective tissue in that thin area of the leg, rendering the kneecap loose shortly before death. Quite hideous, that.


And this is what makes me even more nervous. I know Carter was hacking away at that area. Ok, postmortem damage is distinguishable from perimortem, yet the inflammation you mention is a strange way to make this judgement. Typically it's done with the fracture pattens--fresh bone fractures differently than long dead bone. Do we know if this leg wound fracture shows green bone or old bone fracturing? Why rely on "inflammation" to make this decision?


<....>

Quote:
This fits in very much with Hawass' stated mission of refuting the "pyramidiots."


Quote:

I should hope he does actively refute pyramidiots. All of us with a background in the study of ancient Egypt, be that study formal or personal, should feel obligated in the very least to try to stear pyramidiots into the light of reason and away from the murk of their absurdity.


Alas, if it were possible to fight irrationality with rational argument. The space alien gang is impervious to logic. Likewise they're strawmen. No one is going to take them seriously other than people as crazy as they are. Why Zahi feels the necessity for debunking people who never had any credibility to begin with, I don't know. I'd much rather he'd go after the people who decided Amenhotep III and Ankenaten both married their daughters and fathered children w/them based on a few inscriptions. That has always struck me as being irresponsible Egyptology.

Quote:

But those who refute Hawass are not pyramidiots. If you're a professional in the field of Egyptology and you're working in Egypt and happen publically to refute Hawass, you're sure in for a world of hurt.
That's no secret. You have to tread lightly over there. I for one do not like how Hawass conducts himself and I'm growing increasingly weary of his ego, but he is the "boss" over there.


Exactly. His policies seem to stifle genuine scientific inquiry and make me very cautious of the results of research published by his teams. Hence my unwillingness to accept his conclusions re: Tut's death.


Quote:

And he likes to remind everyone about it. I didn't like how he had to be present in KV63 for the opening of that last coffin; the Discovery Channel special clearly made it sound like it was the law, but I don't know how true that is. I think Hawass just liked the publicity. Although I do like how he put all the annoying press people in their place. They didn't all need to be down there for the unsealing, for Pete's sake! Mad


<laugh> I still recall one picture of him dressed in a radiation suit prior to scanning poor Tut (the indignities Tut's had to suffer, and him Ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt!). It was implied that Hawass was a medical doctor and he had such a serious expression on his face that I almost fell off my chair laughing.

Anyway, his publicity-hounding doesn't bother me too much. Just natural showmanship. It's the darker side of his reign that I'm increasingly alarmed about--the secretive tendencies, disproportionate anger, and obsessive control of information. How are we to judge the relative strength and weakness of claims which are backed up by anonymous experts looking at materials which no one else is allowed to see?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must correct you on one point.

Farouk Hosni was in charge of the scan, and he certainly doesn't depend on Hawass for his job.
The CT scan was analysed by a team of radiologist, pathologist and anatomists directed by Dr. Madiha Khattab, who is the Dean of medicine at Cairo University.
Also on the team was 2 Italians and 1 Swiss (obviously not dependant on Hawass), directed by the lead radiologist, Dr. Mervat Shafik, also with the Cairo University.
Quite obviously, you do not care for Hawass. That is most certainly your right, but I think it is most unfortunate you see "hidden" agendas in everything he does and says.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must side with Osiris II, RobertStJames. You clearly dislike Hawass, as do many, but I do not see any dark hidden agendas. Micromanagement, certainly, but I wouldn't go so far as to suggest conspiracy theories.

I was going to call up the individuals who comprised the CT-scan team, but Osiris II took care of that quite nicely. Yes, the majority of them are Egyptians, but not a single one of them is beholden to Hawass or dependent on him for their careers. They are professional scientists. Hawass naturally spun the press releases so that it is nearly always he who is seen in the photographs, standing beside the boy-king, but Hawass himself was not involved in the scientific assesment of the CT-scans. He would not even be qualified to take part, although he has certainly overstepped his bounds in the past (such as overcontrolling the genetic testing of mummies, a branch of science for which he is not equipped). But do remember that some of the images were also examined and assessed far away, in Europe. This wasn't the only team to work with the images.

And I for one support the need for making the Egyptians the majority of the scientific team. This is one area where Hawass has gotten it right. He has gone to lengths to forward the study of Egypt by Egyptians, and that's desperately needed. He called on Egyptian radiologists and anatomists and forensic scientists to examine the body of a long-dead Egyptian king, and I see nothing suspicious about that.

I won't debate you on the staves and all that because it's already been done. I must simply return to the findings of the scientific examination: Tutankhamun was a healthy young man about 19 years of age when he died; no signs of serious disease or deformity. Wink

I will add that these findings cannot have been spun by Hawass, or bent to his liking. Any scientist on earth of similar training and experience as those who assessed the scans, could easily arrive at the same results. And as I said, it was done in Europe. Hawass is an obsessive micromanager and egotist, but he's certainly no fool (in fact, he's highly intelligent): any attempts to spin the findings would be immediately transparent.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
<...>
I will add that these findings cannot have been spun by Hawass, or bent to his liking. Any scientist on earth of similar training and experience as those who assessed the scans, could easily arrive at the same results. And as I said, it was done in Europe. Hawass is an obsessive micromanager and egotist, but he's certainly no fool (in fact, he's highly intelligent): any attempts to spin the findings would be immediately transparent.


Yet that's exactly what he's done, insisting (now) on a uniformity of opinion that was not present even within his team at the time:

http://www.guardians.net/hawass/press_release_tutankhamun_ct_scan_results.htm

What I love is the subtle distortions of other people's theories:

The “Murder” Theory. The entire team agrees that there is NO evidence for murder present in the skull of Tutankhamun. There is NO area on the back of the skull that indicates a partially healed blow. There are two bone fragments loose in the skull. These cannot possibly have been from an injury from before death

And Brier never said they were. He came to the same conclusion about the bone fragments. He came to a different conclusion about the head wound, which Hawass' team is apparently saying is not there at all?

I'm not proposing black helicopters, only that the natural extension of Hawass' iron fist policies is that the state of current research is going to reflect his viewpoint, and for whatever reason, he wants to sell us a pidgeon-chested, buck-toothed, hydocephaletic teenager with scolosis as a virile, well-fed, Egyptian prince who suffered a leg injury that even his own team can't agree on, and died of gangrene for which he presents no corroborating evidence whatsoever.

I believe the purpose of the CT scan was to refute a theory Hawass never liked. I suppose it doesn't paint a very flattering portrait of one's putative forefathers that they would bash in the skull of a handicapped young man out of political expediency, but hey, it *does* make them a lot more interesting. Hawass' healthy young man dying of gangrene before he could get a son and heir on one of his concubines is rather bland, especially considering this particular young man was the last scion of a ruling house that had directed Egypt for the last 200yrs. In any case, we'll see how well this theory holds up against the next one, and one thing is certain in Amarna studies--there's always going to be a next one.

Does anyone know just who these mysterious Italians and Swiss are interpreting the scans and why their names and titles (and organizations) seem to be all but anonymous?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is, again, rent and watch the National Geographic DVD King Tut's Final Secrets. It will tell you a far clearer story than a press release of Hawass's. Of course he's on the DVD (if I remember right), but much of this video is told from the perspective of the experts and tells their story.

Hawass was the team leader only in that he's the secretary general of the SCA and supervised the handling of the body. And he sneaked in some great self-promoting photos of himself standing next to the body and the CT-scan. He did not dictate to a team of scientists what they would report because he is not qualified to do so--any such attempt would have resulted in the team's rapid flight from this project.

Tut had only minor curvature of the spine, which many people throughout the world have, but it is not debilitating. He most certainly suffered no blow to the head, as the specialists on the DVD clearly show. These particular scientists were examining the films in Europe--again, the team in Egypt was not working in a vacuum, as no such team can (just as when a C14 sample is examined by at least two and often three different labs). There is no injury to his skull, only a secondary opening near the base for the removal of the brain, a nearly perfect circular cut to augment the removal of brain tissue from the nose. This was a fairly common mortuary practice in Tut's time.

We all agree that Hawass has a tremendous and ever-growing ego, and I will agree with you that he runs the SCA with an iron will, but he simply did not decide what the scientific team would report. I guess the simplest question to ask is, why on earth would he? There's no benefit to him in doing so, one way or the other. Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with kmt_sesh. (well-put, by the way!)
The ego of Hawass runs amok at times. He seems to be a master at ruling the SCA. His efforts to squirm into ANY photograph of Egyptian artifacts can be laughable.
But he is a very qualified archaeologist, and his love of the Egypt both of the past and of the present is quite clear.
To personally meet the man, to have several of-the-cuff discussions with him, --one becomes very aware of his enthusiasm.
He, like all of us, has many, many things that are dis-likable. But that is true of our relationships with everyone. Learn to take the bad with the good!
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well put, Osiris II. I truly would like to meet Hawass, if for no other reason than just to get a first impression. I don't like how he conducts himself at times, and I've never been partial to attention-grabbers, but like I've said, I do respect him for what he's accomplished professionally and for what he's done for his country. He has as many supporters as detractors, one must bear in mind. In another forum anneke once posted a letter written by some of the leading minds in the field of Egyptology, in open support of Hawass. This would be an appropriate spot to display that letter again but, alas, I could not find it on the web. Confused
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