Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun may have met his demise in a drunken crash

Never drink and drive!
Loukia Papadopoulos
Mask of Tutankhamun.jpg
Mask of Tutankhamun.


New data about an ancient Egyptian pharaoh has surfaced that indicates the ruler may have died from drinking and driving a chariot.

This is according to a report by BBC Science Focus published last week.

Biomedical Egyptologist Sofia Aziz claims that a wine-induced high-speed chariot crash was behind Tutankhamun’s famous infected open wound that led to his death.

“He was like a typical teenager, drinking and probably driving the chariot too fast,” Aziz told BBC Science Focus.

The assertion is somewhat controversial as past research has indicated that Tutankhamun had a disability, plagued by a clubbed foot that left him struggling to walk, let alone ride a chariot.

But Aziz claims the king had six chariots interred with him in his tomb and a whole bunch of wine, indicating that he used both those things profusely.

“In their tombs, the Ancient Egyptians would take the things that they wanted in the afterlife,” said Aziz.

“This new theory says that he's more of a warrior king – that he did ride chariots.”

During one of those rides, the 19-year-old’s leg would have hit the ‘dashboard’ of the chariot during a crash, causing the fracture described in autopsy reports and an open wound that led to his eventual death, said Aziz.

But what about the clubbed foot?

“I think that we can rule out those disabilities,” Aziz said. Instead, she argued that the mummification process may naturally distort a body to make it falsely appear like an individual has a clubbed foot.

Another prominent expert in the field substantiated her theory.

Professor Sahar Saleem, a radiology professor and mummy specialist from Cairo University, said: "By examining the CT scans [of Tutankhamun], I do not find any evidence of ankle arthritis, which is a long-term effect of walking on the side of the foot. So my opinion is that the presence of this mild deformity [club foot] did not cause significant gait disturbance for the king."

"Tut's foot condition did not prevent him from participating in activities. He was an active teenager."

For now, Aziz’s theory remains just that: a theory. And it is unlikely that we will ever have true confirmation of its validity.

“Because of the way that the autopsy was conducted in 1925, sadly, a lot of vital information has been lost," Aziz told BBC Science Focus. "So even though we have conducted CT and we know some new things, there's a lot of things that we can't answer.”