Discovering Tut, the Saga Continues
by A. R. Williams
Para by para explanation and answers for the lesson ‘Discovering Tut, the Saga Continues’ included in the NCERT Class 11 textbook ‘Hornbill’ based on CBSE syllabus.
Introduction.. Tut, the heir-apparent of the Egyptian empire, died young when he was in his teens. He was laid to rest with his body bedecked with a bevy of gold ornaments. No one remembered him till 1922 when his tomb was discovered and the remains with the large collection of gold ornaments were brought out. Rumours soon flew thick and fast about the way the prince died, some even speculating murder as the cause of the premature death.
After about eight decades of the riddle remaining unsolved, the remains have been taken out and put under CT scan. This device is the ultimate forensic, and virtually infallible forensic tool f modern science. The lab report makes fascinating reading.
The text …
1st para .. The bejeweled mummy prepares to enter the scanner.
It was a windy day with grey clouds sprinting across the sky. The clock stroke 6 in the evening on January 5, 2005. After lying still for nearly 3300 years in his tomb, the prince’s remains were brought near the act scanner, installed close to the cemetery. The head entered the ultra-modern high tech scanner ready to unravel the truth about the enigma that had baffled humans for so long.
2nd para .. The visitors enter the chamber apprehensively, and see the coffin.
Curious tourists from far and wide had converged on the excavation site and entered to resting site of the prince some 26 feet underground. Inside the burial chamber walls with murals painted on them, they looked on respectfully at Tut’s gilded face that lay on top of the coffin’s lid. Some among the tourists sifted through the pages of the guide book, others feared if they would suffer some grave danger in their lives for disturbing the entombed prince from his eternal sleep. The saying went that any intruder to the chamber could suffer the same curse as Tut, the prince, did when he died so young prematurely.
3rd para ..
The mummy finally is unveiled with its vast collection of gold ornaments, and the necessities of daily living at the side.
A British archeologist by the name Howard Carter spearheaded the search and discovery of this enigmatic tomb in 1922. Despite possible rampant vandalism of the past, the tomb was still found to have a humongous collection of gold items. This added to the desire to delve further into its past history. To make his after-life comfortable, the tomb engineers had kept daily necessities like a bronze razor, silk under garments, wine, food etc. in the chamber. Discovery of these items accentuated the interest of the public in Tut’s fate.
4th para ..Carter finds an array of fascinating items as he makes his way into Tut’s chamber, but can’t free the mummy from the coffin.
Carter made a meticulous inventory of the mind-boggling gold treasure he found in the tomb. Out of a total of three chambers, in the first he found a shroud with garlands of olive leaves, celery, lotus petals, and corn flowers. It pointed to the fact that the burial was possibly between March and April. On reaching the final chamber, Carter found himself confronting an unforeseen problem. Tut’s remains had been held too tight to the gold coffin by the resin hardened over the years. Carter couldn’t break the resin’s grip. The summer during that time in Egypt is very harsh when the Mercury soars. Carter kept the coffin exposed to sunlight for hours, but the resin didn’t give in. Carter decided to chisel the resin from under the limbs and back of the mummy.
5th para ..Tut’s demise still remains un-explained.
Tut was the last heir to the throne, but he didn’t live long to grace it. Why he died prematurely still remains a baffling secret of Egypt’s history.
6th para …An eventful history preceded Tut’s death.
Amenhotep III was the father or grandfather of Tut. He was a pharaoh who lorded over Egypt for four decades, ushering a ‘golden age’ for the country. His son Amenhotep IV was a rather non-conventional ruler. Many epoch-making events, good or bad, happened during his reign. He glorified the sun disk Aten at the cost of Amun, the major God. This move disturbed many of his citizens, but he didn’t care. He assumed the name Akhenten – a servant of Aten. Amun bore the wrath of Akhenten, who ordered destruction of Amun’s temples and banning his worship. It is difficult to say if Amun’s revenge brought about the eclipse of the powerful pharaoh dynasty.
Tut restores Amun, but dies after a brief reign of nine years.
After Akhenten, a ruler named Smenkhare, a person of uncertain origin, ascended the throne, but exited after a very brief reign. Then came Tut, otherwise ceremonially named as Tutankhamun. He reversed the desecration of Amun, restored him to his original glory. After reigning for just nine years, he died mysteriously.
8th para .. Egypt is a country of mummies. Tut is the first to go under the CT scan.
Egypt has countless mummies. ‘Countless’, because as many as 600 have been unraveled so far, and no one can predict how many more could be waiting to see the light of the day. The Archeology Department of Egypt has received a portable CT Scanner as gift, and Tut is the first to face incisive examination. No doubt, as more and more mummies are examined, a veritable record of Egypt’s history will unfold.
9th para .. High tech CT Scanners Examined Tut’s mummy — head to toe. A group of scientists of diverse fields will now pour into the findings and will, possibly, piece together a true and intriguing account of the prince’s short life. The pall of secrecy that the winged goddesses had cast over Tut will be lifted, forever.
10th para .. A sand particle plays the spoiler.
On the day of the scan, a few workers at the site ceremonially carried out the mummy, and brought it near the truck that had the CT Scanner on board. However, the Scanner took in a sand particle and its cooling fan stopped working. Someone jokingly suggested that it was the pharaoh’s revenge!
11th para .. Tut goes back to his place after the test.
Meaning .. The Scanner was fixed and the test results were collected. Tut was carried back to his tomb. The whole operation took about three hours.
12th para .. Spectacular details of Tut’s anatomy are captured. The head of Egypt Archeology, Zahi Hawaas heaves a sigh of relief.
The CT Scanner captured clear and detailed images of the mummy –Tut’s head, vertebrate etc. Over all, the exploration team had substantial data to examine later. Zahi Hawaas, the head OF Egypt’s Archeolgy department had a big load going off his shoulders. After spending a nervous sleepless night, he was a relieved man.
13th para .. It was time to depart. The night sky shone the Orion, the loadstar of the Egyptians.
As the team began to pack up to leave the place, darkness had descended. The wind had become still. Orion- the constellation the Egyptians revered as the spirit of Osiris was clearly visible in the sky above. Osiris would continue to bless all those who have departed from this world.
Questions and answers ..
- Why do you think the Tut project created so much sensation? .. This was the first unearthing of a mummy that was to be subjected to latest high-tech machine for analysis. Tut had died young leaving a powerful empire in disarray, but no one knew what caused his death. The use of the CT Scanner was going to reveal some revealing truth about his death. Hence the project created such a buzz.
——–To be contd with more questions-answers————