Tutankhamun’s Children Under Study

In collaboration with the Cairo University ‘s Faculty of Medicine, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) started a scientific project to study two mummified fetuses which have been stored at the university since their discovery in Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 on Luxor’s west bank. It is thought that the tiny bodies may be those of the young king’s stillborn children.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced the collaborative project today, adding that the scientific team headed by Dr. Ashraf Selim, head of Cairo Scan, and Dr. Yehia Zakaria of the National Research Center carried out a CT scan on the two fetuses and took samples in order to carry out a DNA tests.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SCA, said that the study aims at identifying the linage and the family of king Tutankhamun, particularly his parents. The DNA test and the CT scan will may also help to identify the fetuses’ mother.

The results of these studies, asserted Hawass, will also help in identifying the mummy of queen Nefertiti, the wife of the monotheist king Akhenaton. Within the framework of the SCA’s project to CT scan all royal mummies for identification, samples from several unknown female mummies found at the Egyptian museum have been taken for DNA testing.

All of the results will be compared with each other, along with those of the mummy of the boy king Tutankhamun, which CT scanned in 2005.

Dr. Hawass also signed a scientific agreement with Dr. Ahmed Sameh, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, to establish Egypt’s second ever DNA lab at the faculty. The first one is inside the Egyptian Museum. Such a lab, explained Dr. Hawass, will enable scientists and researchers to carry out scientific comparisons between the results provided from both labs.

Dr. Hawass said that the forensic section at the faculty will study the bones found inside the pyramid builders’ cemetery on the Giza plateau, in order to learn of the diseases that they suffered during their lifetimes and their average ages at death.

Photos by: Mohammed Megahed


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