15 Important King Tutankhamun Facts for Kids
What have ostriches, meteorites and orthopedic sandals have to do with the most mysterious mummy ever? Click here to find out with these fascinating Pharoah facts!
King Tut is one of the most fascinating and well-known of the Egyptian Pharoahs, and with good reason! Tutankhamun lived around 2300 years ago, and achieved a lot before his untimely and mysterious death. Read on to find out more about this amazing ancient King!
Looking for more history? Check out these amazing Ancient Egypt facts, this Indian history quiz, or even see if you can identify these important people from history!
1. His death is still a mystery
Despite being one of the most well-studied mummies ever, historians still don't know exactly how the Boy King met his grisly fate. We do know it was sudden and at the very young age of 18, but apart from that we're not sure. He could have been in a chariot accident, got an infection... or even murdered!
2. He was born Tutankhaten!
His original name was actually Tutankhaten - or "the living image of the Aten" in Ancient Egyptian. Aten was a Sun God worshipped at the time, but when the young King grew up, he switched religion and named himself after a different God, Amun. So now Tutankhamun was the "living image of Amun" instead.
3. He had a surprisingly small tomb
The Pharoahs were all about huge, extravagant tombs. Because how else can you make sure you're comfortable in the afterlife? Well for one reason or another (remember he died suddenly) Tutankhamun was buried in quite a small tomb cut into the floor of the valley, and not in a huge pyramid like his relatives. It's possible his successor stuck him in there against his wishes after his death - or most excitingly - that there may even be secret parts to Tutankhamun's tomb we haven't discovered yet!
4. He had a second hand coffin
Well, one of his coffins were second hand! Because like all Pharoahs, he was buried in a series of coffins that fit into each other like a Russian doll. Egyptologists reckon the middle one was made for Tutankhamum's successor, Neferneferuaten - a Pharoah we really don't know much about. How Tutankhamun ended up in his coffin we do not know.
5. He loved hunting ostriches
Ostriches were special to the Ancient Egyptians, and lots of ostrich hunting accessories were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. As well as being VIP entertainment, ostrich hunting was good practise for battle. One ostrich-feather fan showed an image of the King on a hunting trip, and it's even possible it was an accident on one of these trips that ended up killing him.
6. He didn't have a heart
The Ancient Egyptians believed it was important to keep all of a mummy's internal organs - because they would need them in the afterlife. But when Tutankhamun's body was examined, it was found he had a scarab amulet instead of a heart! It could be that the young king died a long way from home, and the heart wasn't fresh enough by the time it reached the undertaker. Or his heart could have been stolen - or they just lost it! We might never know.
7. He had an impressive knife collection
Tutankhamun was buried was an incredible set of ritual daggers. Some were made of gold, but the most impressive is the one made of iron. At the time working with iron was a very rare skill, and the blade was possibly imported from outside Egypt. Iron itself was very rare, and the only source of it at the time was meteorites from outer space!
8. Tutankhamun's trumpets started WW2
Not really - but some people think they did! You see, legend has it that a Pharoah's ceremonial trumpets have the power to start wars because they were used in battle. Well, Tutankhamun's trumpets were played on a BBC radio programme in 1939. Shortly after, WW2 broke out... coincidence? Or the curse of the Pharoah?
9. His coffin is incredibly valuable
The outer 2 coffins were made of wood covered in gold leaf (and the 2nd one wasn't even his) but the inner coffin was solid gold! Even just the weight of the gold is worth over £1 million! But of course the real value of the coffin is the historical importance - which you can't put a price on.
10. He had a lot of cool stuff!
His tomb was stuffed with over 5000 pieces of ancient treasure! It included gold, statues, chariots, paintings... even model boats!
11. King Tut's sandals
He even had a pair of sandals buried with him. Obviously he'll need shoes in the afterlife, but what's most interesting about his sandals is that they had drawings of his enemies on the soles! So everywhere he went he stamped all over them!
12. More on those sandals...
Bet you didn't think we'd get 2 facts out of his sandals! Well, they were actually specially designed to fit his club feet! That's right, Tutankhamum was actually slightly disabled and had to walk with a walking stick. His sandals are a very early example of orthopedic footwear!
13. He married his half-sister
This seems weird to us but was pretty common back then. We now know that this sort of thing leads to genetic health problems, which it seems the young King had a few of. Yeesh.
14. After his death...
It seems likely that his political advisors turned on him, and tried to cover up that he ever existed. The Pharoah after him seems to have renamed lots of Tutankhamun's monuments after himself!
15. The curse of Tutankhamun
When posh English archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1923, he did so despite warnings that opening it would anger the spirit of the 3000 year old Pharoah. Of course, he did it anyway. But soon after he did, the main financial backer of the trip died mysteriously. Then so did 3 other people involved with the trip - could these deaths be the revenge of Tutankhamun? Some people thought so! Carter himself died 16 years later, and many said that this was way too long to have anything to do with the curse. But 16 years is nothing if you died over 3000 years ago!