Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen is perhaps the best-known Egyptian ruler, due not to the accomplishments of his reign, but rather to the nature of his death. Just a boy when he came to the throne, Tutankhamen only ruled for a decade, with his officials Ay and Horemheb actually administering the affairs of state. His death at such an early age has long aroused suspicion; with the royal family and court in turmoil, it is entirely possible that Tutankhamen did not die of natural causes.

Tutankhamen's tomb (KV 62) was located in 1922 by Howard Carter, a British artist and excavator. The heavily published discovery sent the public into a frenzy for all things Egyptian and brought unexpected notoriety to the young pharaoh whose burial equipment was mostly borrowed from relatives and rivals. The modern audience was astonished by the contents of the tomb, with "everywhere the glint of gold," according to Carter. Yet it is even more amazing to imagine the opulence and riches contained within the tombs of more important kings, such as Amenhotep III or Ramesses II, who spent decades outfitting themselves for the afterlife.

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