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Archaeologists horrified by vicious 'attack' on young mummy found in Ancient Egyptian tomb

Tutankhamun is perhaps the most famous of all the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

Though his rule lasted just 10 years, he has taken on an aura of mystery and power in the modern era.

It is in part explained by the fact that he was one of the last great pharaohs to be found, with British archaeologist Howard Carter discovering his tomb in 1922.

Many things about his place of rest stunned researchers, from the small size to its messy paintings. Yet, it is details about his family that intrigue researchers the most.

Amenhotep II, Tut’s great-great-grandfather, is buried nearby. When archaeologists entered their tomb, they were met with not just one body but several, with details one in particular shocking them more than the rest.  

There were many bodies alongside Amenhotep’s sarcophagus, though most couldn’t be identified due to their poor state.  

Historian Bettany Hughes was given unprecedented access to his tomb in the Valley of the Kings during Channel 5’s documentary, ‘Tutankhamun: Waking the Dead’

Descending into the 50-metre-deep rock, she reached the inner sanctum which is home to the burial chamber and Amenhotep’s sarcophagus, and the peculiar remains of an unknown female pockmarked with cracks and holes. 

DNA work on her remains, alongside the remains of another mummy, saw researchers term them the Elder Lady and the Younger Lady.

Through analysis, they concluded that the Younger Lady was Tutanhamun’s mother. Ms Hughes said: “I’m about to uncover shocking evidence about Tutankhamun’s childhood and the dark secrets of his family.”

Professor Sahar Saleem has studied the Younger Lady’s body for decades and noted the serious damage inflicted on it. She believes the Younger Lady was around 25 years old when she died.

“What strikes me is her condition and all these wounds and injuries,” said Prof Saleem. “That is a terrible, terrible wound.”

The wounds were, she said, characteristic of tomb thieves who would break the bodies of mummies to retrieve the gold and amulets inside.

On closer inspection, more wounds presented themselves on the Younger Lady’s body, particularly on her face.

“We thought that at first (that the wounds were from grave robbers), but actually the CT scan revealed something else,” said Prof Saleem.

“It revealed that this injury happened before mummification, so this could have killed her because she could have choked on her own blood. And also, the fractured bones go into the airway tract — so this could be fatal.”

CT scans show no signs of healing around the wound which suggests the injury didn’t happen long after she met her fate.

Researchers believe it would have been a “high impact force”, usually carried out with a blunt tool, a club with a stone head, or perhaps from a kick. Prof Saleem said she believes it “looks like an attack”.

The Younger Lady was found by Victor Loret, a French Egyptologist, in 1898.

Her body was discovered alongside a young boy who died around age 10, thought to be Webensenu, Amenhotep II’s son, and the Elder Lady.


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