Pharaoh Tutankhamun's Death

The Death of Tutankhamun and Theories Surrounding It

The ancient Egyptian civilization is considered to be the source of various fascinations and mysteries. An instance of such mysteries is the death of Tutankhamun, a young Egyptian pharaoh. Although many people consider that Tutankhamen died a natural death, different theories have been formulated to explain the purpose of his death. Some of the theories which have been accepted are murder idea and political theory.

The Murder Theory

The murder theory explains the possible purpose of his death. The x-ray examination in the years 1968 and 1978 revealed the presence of dense spot on the skull thereby justifying the murder claims. Moreover, CT scan record revealed that he had a broken leg and was injured few days before his untimely death. Habicht, Bouwman & Rühli (2016), however, argues that broken legs were the main causes of his death. Archaeologists link the fall from the pharaoh’s chariot to broken leg.

The Political Theory

The political theory can best explain the political environment in ancient Egypt during the death of Tutankhamun. During the reign of Akhenaten and his successor Tutankhamun there were political conflicts that could have led to death of the king (Rühli & Ikram 2014). Tutankhamun was the son of Akhenaten. His father was associated with the major political and religious changes that occurred in the ancient Egypt. Such changes led to conflict and hostility between the pharaoh and priests among other noted persons in the kingdom (Harrison, 2017). Moreover, the oppressors of Akhenaten and his new ideologies viewed him as a distraction to the renewal of a new Egypt. To restore Egypt to its old political and religious traditions, they could have murdered Tutankhamun.

Although the two theories try to explain the death of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, people have settled on the real reason behind his demise. Both theories have some evidence supporting the claim, however, the political theory is weak and incomplete. Therefore, the murder theory best explains the death of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.


Habicht, M. E., Bouwman, A. S., & Rühli, F. J. (2016). Identifications of ancient Egyptian royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty reconsidered. American journal of physical anthropology, 159(S61), 216-231.

Harrison, P. (2017). The Curse of the Pharaohs’ Tombs: Tales of the unexpected since the days of Tutankhamun.

Rühli, F. J., & Ikram, S. (2014). Purported medical diagnoses of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, c. 1325 BC. HOMO-Journal of Comparative Human Biology, 65(1), 51-63.

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