PBS: The real story of King Tut has become shrouded in myth, with many mysteries around his tomb unsolved to this day

imageA reader writes:

From reading your response to Colin Berry from today’s blog (15/Nov 2013) I was reminded of a documentary about Tutankhamun ("Secrets of the dead") arguing that embalming oils combined with oxygen and linen could have caused a chemical reaction which "cooked" the king’s body at temperatures of more than 200C.

Here’s a link: [CLICK HERE]


They talk about spontaneous combustion about 50 min into the program.

You may recall that the PBS Secrets of the Dead series did a program on the Shroud of Turin. Although you can watch almost any of the programs, online, the one about the Shroud does not seem to be available except by purchase. But there is much to read about the shroud on the PBS site. 


7 thoughts on “PBS: The real story of King Tut has become shrouded in myth, with many mysteries around his tomb unsolved to this day”

  1. One question is raised: what exactly has this to do with the Turin Shroud? Did King Tut leave his image on the wrapping? I have seen an ocassional stain on mummy wrappings, nothing more. If there was something exceptional in this case Egyptologist Rosalie David would have something to say.

      1. Well the idea of bio-organic heating is relevant to any scorch theories that might have a natural, rather than man-made, bent. It also goes to show that things that may not chemically react on their own can when part of a cocktail. But it really is the PBS link with Mattingly’s work that is the most intriguing aspect of the post.

  2. Hi Dan, I knew that was your intention and it is indeed an interesting post and will serve to illustrate the fact that no pharaoh, Tutankhamon and Ramses II included, left images on any wrappings. And, as far as we know, the dead Jesus was not mummified, it was against Jewish customs.

  3. I think we need do a litt;e math on this:
    200c is twice the boiling point of water. Is there anything other than some tea kettle science theory that indicates he body would have reached such a temperature.

    What would that have done to blood and blood stains?

  4. That’s right, John. There would be some effect on flesh too, some kind of baking would take place, enough for those in favour of the Maillard reaction. Would the temperature inside a pyramid be the same as that in a first-century Jewish tomb in Jerusalem?

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