Tutankhamun interred in second-hand sarcophagus: Researchers discover ornate stone 'coffin' was altered for boy king after Egypt turned against earlier pharaoh. David Keys reports

TUTANKHAMUN, the Egyptian boy king buried in golden splendour, was interred in a second-hand 'coffin' intended for his predecessor, research has revealed.

A study of his last resting place - a four-ton sarcophagus - shows that the great stone box had been built 10 years before the boy king's death. Masons had amended its inscriptions and carvings for Tutankhamun's burial.

Archaeological investigations by Marianne Eaton-Krauss, an American egyptologist, suggest that the sarcophagus had originally been made for Neferneferuaten, Tutankhamun's older half-brother. The research also suggests that Neferneferuaten was never buried in it because of political and religious upheaval in Egypt in the 14th century BC.

Dr Eaton-Krauss concluded that Tutankhamun's sarcophagus was, in effect, a 'retread' after she discovered very faint remains of deliberately obliterated hieroglyphic inscriptions on its stone sides.

Further detailed examination also found that the beautiful figures at each corner of the box had originally been carved without wings. But in the 70 years since Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered Tutankhamun's tomb, no one had noticed either the faint traces of the earlier inscriptions or the fact that the wings had been added.

In order to obliterate the hieroglyphic texts, Egyptian masons had removed about 3mm of stone from most of the sarcophagus exterior. The contents of these now long-vanished texts may have convinced the authorities at the time that their late pharaoh could not be buried in his own sarcophagus.

It appears that the great stone box was mothballed until Tutankhamun's death in 1322 BC - when he was aged between 15 and 20 - when it was redesigned for its new role. Neferneferuaten (often known as Smenkhkare) was an elder son of the so-called heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten.

Dr Eaton-Krauss's revelation, published by the Griffith Institute, which holds all the original photographs and records of the tomb, sheds new light on the events which followed the collapse of Akhenaten's heresy.

Akhenaten - who ruled Egypt in the 14th century BC - scrapped all but one of his country's pagan gods, and established what was probably the world's first monotheistic religion based on the worship of the sun.

After his death in 1336 BC, his new religion began to decline. But Dr Eaton-Krauss is now proposing that the final demise of Akhenaten's monotheistic experiment took place four years later - in 1332 BC - when Neferneferuaten died.

She believes that the final coup against Akhenaten's monotheistic heresy took place in the 70-day traditional period of mourning between Neferneferuaten's death and burial.

After his death, and ignoring his last wishes, the new authorities seem to have intervened to prevent him being buried in the sarcophagus and with the ritual funerary equipment he had commissioned.

The Sarcophagus in the Tomb of Tutankhamun; Dr Marianne Eaton- Krauss; Griffith Institute, Oxford; pounds 25.

(Photographs omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell