Tutankhamun was a little known King of the 18th dynasty before his tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings (KV 62) in November 1922. His exact place in the in the sequence of the "Amarna kings" was uncertain however it is known now that he was the son of Akhenaten by one of his secondary wives probably Kiya, and that he was brought up in Amarna probably in the North Palace. His name was omitted from the kings lists of Abydos and Karnak, the list jumps from Amenhotep III to Horemheb.

There were several items found in his tomb from his life at the Aten court, notably the Aten's disc shown protecting him and his young wife Ankhesenpaaten, seen on the pictorial back panel of his gold-inlaid throne.

Towards the end of Akhenaten's reign senior members of the court, specially Ay and Horemheb, probably realized that things could not continue as they were. Akhenaten had changed the religion to one God Ra from the previous Amun religion that worshipped numerous Gods and there was much dissension among the Priests. Smenkhkare, Akhenaten's brother or son, and co-regent, probably came to the same conclusions as he left and moved back to the old capital, Memphis.

Soon after Akhenaten's death, aged around 9 years old, Tutankhamun was crowned at Memphis. His close female relatives, his mother, his stepmother Nefertiti and older stepsister were all dead. He was likely under the care and direction of Ay, the senior civil servant, and Horemheb, the military man. Tutankhamun's wife, Ankhesenpaaten, was apparently older than him since she was already of child-bearing age, supposedly having had a daughter by her father, Akhenaten.

As soon as Tutanhhamun was installed as king a move was made back to the old religion. This was particularly noticeable in Year 2 when both king and queen changed the -aten previously at the end of their names to -amun.

Tutankhamun probably had little to do with this or other decisions as his advisors would have been the ones holding the reins and manipulating the decisions of the boy-king. Records show the reinstallation of the old religion of Amun and the reopening and rebuilding of the temples. A large number of reliefs and statues have been identified as originally belonging to Tutankhamun, for although the inscriptions were changed by Horemheb, the king's boyish features are clearly recognizable.

Extensive building works were done at Karnak and Luxor in Tutankhamun's name, but were all taken over by Horemheb. Few events other that the return to Thebes and the change back to the religion of Amun were documented of Tutankhamun’s reign.

Tutankhamun’s tomb reflect scenes suggesting campaigns were mounted against the Nubians and Syrians, however is doubtful that he actually participated in these campaigns probably led by Horemheb his military commander in chief.

Tutankhamun died young, probably during his ninth year of reign. This is evidenced by a forensic analysis of his mummy which put his age at death at about 17. Secondly, seals on wine jars found in his tomb record the type of wine, the vineyard, the name of the chief winemaker and the king's year of reign when they were made. The highest recorded date is Year 9, suggesting that Tutankhamun died that year.

There is no positive evidence on Tutankhamun's mummy as to how he died, he did not die of consumption as was once thought. Autopsies and X-rays have found a small piece of bone in the upper skull, maybe as the result of a blow, but whether it is was an accident or murder cannot be determined.

The tomb where Tutankhamun was found was far too small for a royal burial, and most likely a tomb for Ay granted by a royal grant in recognition of his services over the years. As Tutankhamun died suddenly and as this tomb was virtually ready, it was appropriated and the burial chamber immediately decorated. Tutankhamun's intended tomb appears to be the one found by Giovanni Belzoni in 1816 at the far end of the Valley of the Kings (KV 23) and later used by Ay.

The magnificent treasures from the Tomb are shown in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. One can only imagine the wonderful treasures that would be found if ever the tomb of a long reigning king was discovered when so much was found in the tomb of this boy-king.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Avril Betts, I am originally from England and now a Canadian Citizen, I have over 25 years experience in all aspects of Travel and Tourism, including running an online agency for over 13 years. I hold a CHA (Certified Hotel Administrator) an internationally recognized accreditation and in 1996 hosted the president's wives luncheon for the G7 conference.

I have co-chaired Atlantic Canada Showcase an International Travel Trade Show, managed 450 volunteers for the Tall Ships Visit in July 2000, and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. In 1988 I founded the Country Inn Association in Nova Scotia still going strong today. I have been involved in numerous Travel and Tourism volunteer activities throughout Atlantic Canada and across Canada.

As an experienced speaker I have spoken and presented seminars to large and small audiences for many years on subjects ranging from Marketing and Sales and Life Skills to Tourism, Travel and Real Estate, and operating an online Travel business.

As a recognized tourism expert I am accustomed to working with tourists and passing on my knowledge of the various destinations to help them make the most of their vacations.

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