When we were kings: Tutankhamun's face revealed

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The Independent Online

He was the Egyptian boy king whose untimely demise nearly 3,300 years ago sparked a long-running murder mystery. But until now no one even knew what he looked like.

He was the Egyptian boy king whose untimely demise nearly 3,300 years ago sparked a long-running murder mystery. But until now no one even knew what he looked like.

Now, scientists have unveiled the face of King Tutankhamun at the time of his death in 1325BC with the use for the first time of CT scans on an Egyptian mummy.

The reconstruction was based on 1,700 high-resolution photographs from scans of his mummy in an effort to capture his exact appearance on the day he died. They indicated that the 19-year-old king was healthy, slightly built and was 5ft 6in tall when he passed away.

The image created was one of a young boy with rounded cheeks and a sloping nose, while his eyes are highlighted with heavy eye-liner. A distinct overbite is also apparent in his profile, a trait archaeologist have long believed was shared by other kings in his dynasty.

"The shape of the face and skull are remarkably similar to a famous image of Tutankhamun as a child where he was shown as the sun god at dawn rising from a lotus blossom," said Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The experiment, compiled by forensic artists, archaeologists and scientists from France, the US and Egypt, also shed light on his death. Since the discovery of his tomb by the British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, his death around 1324BC has been the source of intense debate and speculation.

While the images did not resolve the mystery of the death of the king, who came to power at the age of nine, they were able to dismiss the theories that he was murdered by a blow to the chest or an accident that crushed his chest.

Instead, experts announced in March that it appeared he had broken his left thigh severely - puncturing his skin - several days before his death, raising the possibility that his death may have been caused by an infection.

The reconstruction is part of a five-year project to scan all of Egypt's known mummies.

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