Photograph by Kenneth Garrett
The quartzite head of a princess—possibly Meritaten, the daughter of King Akhenaten—displays an unusual skull shape, most likely a family trait exaggerated by the artistic style of the period. King Tut—her half brother or uncle—definitely had a long, narrow skull, but it was not deliberately deformed. "The Egyptians did not head bind," explains Ray Johnson, director of the University of Chicago's research center at Luxor. Neither was the shape of Tut's skull the result of disease, say the experts who analyzed the CT images. It simply falls within the normal range of human variation.
The Picture of Health
As soon as the scanning was done, the resulting images revealed an important clue about the pharaoh's death: His skull was intact, putting to rest a popular theory that a blow to the back of his head killed him. In the weeks following the scan, experts from Egypt and Europe scrutinized Tut from every angle by computer. They concluded that he was a normal, healthy, well-fed young man who was about 19 when he died. Although some on the team thought he had broken his left leg just above the knee, which might have led to a deadly infection, they couldn't be sure. So what—or who—killed King Tut remains an unsolved mystery, at least until further study.