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Was king Tut murdered? Think of it as CSI: ancient Egypt. Scientists probe the mystery of Tut: how did the 19-year-old king die?

For decades, archaeologists have wondered: Who or what killed the most famous boy king in history? Some experts thought that the 19-year-old Tutankhamen (TOO-than-KAH-men) had died in a hunting accident. Others said that he was murdered by a blow to the head.

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Two years of DNA testing and CT scans may have finally resolved the mystery of Tut's demise. The teen pharaoh, scientists in Egypt now believe, was the victim of malaria complicated by a bone disorder.

Even at his best, King Tut was no tower of strength. "Picture instead a frail, weak boy who had a [deformed] foot and who needed a cane to walk," researcher Cartsten Push told National Geographic.

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Shortly before Tut died, in about 1324 B.C., he may have fractured his leg in a fall, the study's authors say. Because of a weak immune system, the pharaoh's leg couldn't heal, and a malarial infection finished him off.

Tut Reappears

Tut was forgotten in Egypt soon after his death. So why does he captivate us today? In 1922, an archaeologist uncovered a group of royal tombs in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. Thieves had looted most of the graves.

Only Tut's was intact. Egypt fever swept the globe as workers unloaded the dazzling treasures, hidden for more than 3,200 years, that had been meant to accompany the young pharaoh to the afterlife.

In 1972, Tut's treasures began a series of blockbuster tours around the world, giving millions of people a chance to view his golden burial mask and other relics up close. Two exhibits currently touring the U.S. will soon return permanently to a museum being built for Tut's treasures in Cairo, Egypt's capital.

Through it all, Tut's star will continue to burn bright, experts say. As author Jon Manchip White wrote: "The pharaoh who in life was one of the least esteemed of Egypt's kings has become in death the most renowned."

RELATED ARTICLE: HOW TO MAKE A MUMMY

Ancient Egyptians believed in a life after death--but one in which a person would need his or her physical body intact. To make that possible, they developed a particularly advanced mummy-making technique. Preservation for the afterlife didn't come cheaply, however, so only the rich and royal got the full treatment.

If you find yourself with a pharaoh to mummify, here's how to do it.

1. REMOVE ORGANS To minimize rotting, cut a hole in the side of the body and pull out most of the internal organs. Leave the heart, which the pharaoh will need for his journey to the afterlife. Insert a long hook through the nose to fish out the brain.

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2. HOLD THE PEPPER Clean the body with natron, a type of salt. This dries it out and helps preserve it. Don't rinse.

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3. RUB DOWN After 40 days, rub the body with oils. Missing an arm? Just stick a piece of wood in the socket.

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4. ADORN Wrap the body in strips of linen. Add some jewels, maybe a dagger for protection, and a golden mask for the head. Your mummy is good to go!

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Title Annotation:WORLD HISTORY
Author:Brown, Bryan
Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Sep 6, 2010
Words:527
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