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He was possibly as young as six or seven when he was married, and by the time he was nine years old, he was crowned the pharaoh of Egypt.

He was Tutankhamen, and the people of Egypt believed him to be a living god.

Records vary, but it is believed he was born some time around 1350 BC, and only lived for about 18 years. How he died is still a mystery - it may have been due to illness (he was, apparently, quite frail), an accident or, even more mysteriously, murder.

As a pharaoh, Tutankhamen had no great claim to fame, other than the fact that he reopened many of the temples.

What was important about him, however, was that his tomb was discovered mostly intact, and not emptied by grave-robbers, as were so many other Egyptian tombs.


An Englishman, Howard Carter, was convinced that there was at least one undiscovered pharaohs tomb in Egypt - that of the almost unknown King Tut - and for more than five years he searched for it. It cost a good deal of money to search for all that time, and Carter had a wealthy Englishman, Lord Carnarvon, backing him, and providing the funds. But in 1922, Lord Carnarvon called Carter back to England to tell him he was no longer going to fund the search. Carter managed to persuade him to pay for one more season.

Just as well he did, because in November, 1922, Carter found a series of steps cut into a rock face and, at the bottom of them, an unopened stone doorway. On the door was one name - Tutankhamen. Lord Carnarvon was summoned to Egypt for the opening.

When it was opened, the tomb was found to contain an amazing collection of treasures - including a stone sarcophagus with three gold coffins inside, nested inside each other like a Russian doll. And inside the final coffin was the mummy of the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen. There was also gold statues, furniture, tools - even chariots! These were all for the king to use in the next life.

But the archaeologists uncovered something else, too - the so-called curse of the pharaohís tomb. According to legend, the tombs were protected with a curse, to prevent grave-robbers breaking in.

Five months after opening King Tuts tomb, Lord Carnarvon was dead. He died, so it was thought, of blood poisoning from an infected mosquito bite. The story is that, when he died in Cairo, all the lights went out while, at the same time back in England his favourite dog howled loudly - and dropped dead!

In just seven short years after the tombs discovery, 11 people associated with the expedition had died early of unnatural causes. The press loved the story, calling it the Mummyís Curse. By 1935, they had blamed the curse for 21 victims. But, funnily enough, Howard Carter never believed in the curse - and he lived until the age of 66 and died a natural death!

Then, in the 1990s, scientists discovered there may have been a curse after all - but of an entirely different kind. A German scientist discovered mould spores on some mummies in museums. These moulds can live for thousands of years, and could be breathed in by the people opening the tombs. They can then set up a life-threatening infection inside the body.

Other people believe dangerous bacteria - germs - could live in the mummified bodies. These would infect the explorers, leading to serious illnesses such as pneumonia.

Finally, there are those who believe the ancient Egyptian priests deliberately used poisons that we do not even know about today to protect their dead kings.

Whatever the truth, despite being dead for more than 3 300 years, the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen, left us a wonderful gift - a priceless collection of artefacts portraying Egyptian life and social customs of that time. It is almost like a time machine to the past