CAIRO — DNA testing has unraveled some of the mystery surrounding the birth and death of pharaoh king Tutenkhamun, revealing his father was a famed monotheistic king and ruling out Nefertiti as his mother, Egypt's antiquities chief said on Wednesday.
Zahi Hawass 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.
The testing showed he died of malaria after suffering a fall, putting to rest the theory that the enigmatic boy-king was murdered. He was also shown to have suffered from a club foot and used a cane as a walking aid.
Hawass said what seemed as an injury to the back of Tutankhamun's skull, which some had taken as evidence that he was murdered, was in fact a hole made by embalmers.
"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."
Meanwhile, Tutankhamun seems to have sired two children who were still born. The testing showed that two mummified fetuses found in his tomb were his issue, probably with his wife Ankhsenpaamon.
While Tutenkhamun's death at about 19, after ten years of rule between 1333 to 1324 BC, has been a source of much speculation, the circumstances of his birth were not any clearer.
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.
It showed his father was almost certainly King Akhenaten, who ruled between 1351 and 1334 BC and who tried to impose monotheistic worship.
The antiquities chief added that researchers were able to determine that the previously unidentified mummy found in Tomb 55 in the Valley of Kings belonged to Akhenaten. Yet another mummy was identified as Queen Tiye.
Another, previously unidentified mummy, was confirmed as Tutankhamun's mother, whose name is not known. That discovery lay to rest the theory that Tutankhamun was the son of Queen Nefertiti.
The mummy, known as the "Younger lady," was discovered in 1898 by a French archaeologist in the Valley of the Kings.
"She is the daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. It is not possible she was Nefertiti," Hawass said, making her Akhenaten's sister. Sibling marriages were not unusual among pharaonic royalty.
"This allows us to evoke a new genealogical scenario," said French Egyptologist Marc Gabord, a Tutankhamum specialist.
"After having failed to obtain a son with Nefertiti, who gave birth to six girls, and with the Kiya princess, who gave birth to a girl, Akhenaton took one of his sisters and a male child was born from this incestuous union," he said.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »