Mummies, pharaohs, and hieroglyphs – who doesn’t love learning about ancient Egypt?!
Experts have been studying this unique period in history for centuries. However, it wasn’t until 1922, when archeologists discovered the tomb of a king, that they would gain some of the most useful information about Egyptian culture.
King Tutankhamen, or King Tut as he is most commonly referred to today, reigned for only ten years and died at the age of 19, but left behind a mysterious life we are still trying to uncover today.
We’re here to answer many of your burning questions about King Tut and give you some resources to help you teach your kids about his life and the Egyptian culture.
King Tut’s Tomb Discovery
Although most tombs in Egypt had been vandalized and robbed of their artifacts, leaving us with little history about the pharaohs of that time, King Tut’s tomb was hidden and largely untouched upon its discovery almost 100 years ago.
Howard Carter and his team of colleagues began the search for a rumored tomb in the Valley of Kings shortly after WWI. Ready to give up after several unsuccessful years, Carter discovered a step in the Valley of Kings at the base of Rameses VI’s tomb on November 4, 1922.
Upon excavating the ground beneath, they not only found a small, unassuming tomb but one that had been untouched for over 3,000 years.
Inside, Carter and his crew were amazed to find a four-room tomb filled with nearly 5,000 ancient artifacts, including a solid-gold sarcophagus containing the mummy of a boy-king, Tutankhamen, and his famous headdress.
Who Was King Tut?
So, who was this boy-king, Tutankhamen?
Prior to being discovered, King Tutankhamen was relatively unheard of by Egyptologists.
Although there is speculation on exactly when King Tut was born, experts believe he was born around 1341 B.C. He was born into the 18th Dynasty of Egypt as the son of Akhenaten, named after the god Aton.
According to evidence found in his tomb, Tut became a pharaoh at the age of just nine years old after his father died. Tut died only ten years after being named king at the age of 19.
How Did King Tut Die?
Because Tut was likely the product of incest, which was common among Egyptian royals, he died at the age of 19 due to what experts believe to be a combination of congenital disabilities, scoliosis, a leg fracture that became infected, and potentially severe malaria.
For years, many people believed that Tut died from a head injury. However, experts determined that Tut’s skull injury probably happened after his death during the embalming process or was perhaps caused by Carter and his crew during excavation.
Sadly, Tut was most likely a forgotten prince of his time since he died young and had no children. His death marked the end of the royal line of the 18th Dynasty since Tut didn’t have success in procreating with his half-sister, Ankhesenamun. However, two miniature coffins containing two fetuses were found in his tomb, which experts believe to have been his daughters who died at birth.
Historians have concluded that Tutankhamen’s reign was mostly uneventful due to him being at such a young age and unable to make important decisions. His advisor, Ay, would later become his heir.
More King Tut Facts
Although we have an entire tomb filled with possessions that give tremendous insight into the life of Egyptian pharaohs, King Tut’s death and life is still a mystery. However, there are some facts that we can confidently assert about him.
- King Tut measured 5 foot 6 inches
- He had an overbite, which was characteristic of the royal family he belonged to
- He had been trained in archery, as his tomb was filled with body armor and bows
- According to records by a man named Horemheb, the young king was known for having a temper
- Upon examining his body further, experts found that Tut may have had a cleft palate and club foot, which also explained the canes found in his tomb
- There were 5,398 items found in the tomb, including King Tut’s mask, throne, wine, food, trumpets, and more
- What did King Tut look like? You can see his reconstructed face
The discovery of King Tut’s tomb was a milestone for those interested in ancient Egyptian culture since this was the first mummy to be found entirely untouched since burial.
Today, people can visit King Tut’s tomb, or visit the Egyptian Museum to see his famous mask, along with the many other items found in his tomb.
How to Include King Tut in Your Child’s History Curriculum
It comes as no surprise that most kids enjoy learning about ancient Egypt. However, what makes the experience more memorable is by including hands-on projects that give kids a chance to get up close and personal with the topic.
Whether it be mummification, hieroglyphs, or the day-to-day life of an Egyptian pharaoh, we’ve got projects in our Project Passport Ancient Egypt that help kids step back in time and get a much better idea of that era.
This study includes information about King Tut’s tomb and discovery, as well as recipes from that era they can make themselves, including our Hummus recipe.
Want to read more about the benefits of teaching with our Project Passports? Check out our article, What is a Project Passport?
King Tut’s History Lives On
We hope this article has inspired you to teach your kids about the exciting discovery of King Tut’s mummy in 1922. It’s incredible to think that the least esteemed pharaoh in all of ancient Egypt has become the most renowned today. For a man who suffered a great deal physically and died at a young age, he is certainly remembered by all and is the face of Egyptian history.