A long-lost piece of King Tut
2013 06 05
By Jo Marchant | JoMarchant.com
"What happens when you mix a piece of ancient mummy with your own blood?" - Jo Marchant
King Tutankhamun is famously the only Egyptian pharaoh who still occupies his original tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and since 2007 his mummy has been proudly displayed in a smart, glass case.
What’s less well known, however, is that this isn’t the whole King Tut: a tiny piece of his mummy was removed in 1968 and flown to Liverpool. When researching my book about Tutankhamun’s mummy, The Shadow King, I couldn’t resist tracking it down.
The man who took this royal morsel was Ronald Harrison, anatomy professor at Liverpool University, UK, who was leading a project to X-ray the mummy in an attempt to determine the king’s cause of death. He was also interested in whether Tutankhamun was related to a mysterious royal mummy that had been found – dripping with gold but with the name scratched from its coffin – in a nearby tomb.
These pieces of royal mummies including Tutankhamun (bottom right), are sitting in a drawer in Liverpool
A few years before, Harrison removed a toe from this mummy (dubbed “KV55” after the tomb in which it was found). In what was groundbreaking work for the time, his Liverpool colleague, a young postdoc called Robert Connolly, used it to work out the mummy’s blood group.
Repeating the trick on Tutankhamun might reveal whether the two mummies were related. Harrison scraped off a piece of skin from Tut’s back, packed it into an envelope, and took it home with him.
But Connolly was dismayed when he saw the sample. To determine the blood group of a human sample required a gram of tissue, about the size of a sugar lump. The Tut sample was just 10 milligrams – a hundredth of what Connolly needed.
So he came up with an ingenious idea. He knew that the antigens that determine a person’s blood group can be persuaded to attach themselves to red blood cells, if you mix the two together. He decided to stick the antigens from Tutankhamun’s skin onto modern human blood cells, to give himself a larger sample to test. In effect, he would bring the pharaoh’s blood group back to life.
It sounds simple, but it took months to make it work. Connolly himself was blood group O, meaning that his own cells would make the perfect clean slate for a mummy’s ancient molecules. He tried out his idea on an anonymous mummy held at the university. In an experiment that sounds like the plot for a horror film, Connolly took a tissue sample from the mummy, purified the antigens from it, and mixed them with his own blood.
Read the full article at: jomarchant.com
The Shadow King, by Jo Marchant
Mummy Evisceration Techniques
Brain-Removal Tool Left in Mummy’s Skull
Gnarly Mummy Head Reveals Medieval Science
Unwrapping the mummy – Performance and Science
Who stabbed him in the back? Scan reveals 5,500-year-old mummy murder mystery
Powdered Mummy, Gladiator Blood, and other Historical Medicines Made from Human Corpses
Mystery of King Tut’s death solved?
Gilded logo celebrates discoverer of King Tutankhamun’s tomb
Half of European men share King Tut’s DNA
King Tutankhamen’s R1b Caucasian Origins
King Tut’s DNA is Western European?
King Tut Face Unveiled For First Time
Latest News from our Front Page
Sweden’s submarine war against Germany – Rear-Admiral confesses to armed robbery
2014 04 15
On April 8, 2014, Swedish combat forces stormed the HQ of German submarine builder Thyssen’s offices in Sweden and walked away with blueprints for the next generation submarine A26.
Immediately after the event, the head of security at Thyssen was fired.
Aside one or two initial reports about what in effect was an armed robbery, a blanket of silence has been put ...
Black Ring Above England: New Evidence
2014 04 15
New explanations for the ’black ring’ as seen in England this week have been submitted by members since we highlighted the case.
[Experts baffled after strange black ring appears in sky above England]
As otherworldly a phenomenon it seems to be, it’s almost certainly due to very worldly reasons.
Officials are still stumped as to the origin of the ring as recorded by ...
Sars Research Lab Loses 2,000 Tubes of Killer Virus
2014 04 15
A prestigious research institute in France said it had lost thousands of tubes of samples of the deadly Sars coronavirus.
A routine inventory check at Paris’ Pasteur Institute revealed that 2,349 tubes containing fragments of the virus responsible for the deaths of 774 people in 2002 were missing, the centre named after French chemist Louis Pasteur said.
The institute was quick to ...
10 odd facts about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination
2014 04 15
It was 149 years ago tonight the President Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching a play at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln died the next morning, and in the aftermath, some odd facts seemed to pop up.
Why wasn’t General Ulysses S. Grant in the theater box with Lincoln, as scheduled? Where was the President’s bodyguard? How many people were targeted in ...
Dag Hammarskjöld Assassination: Plane may have been shot down
2014 04 15
Newly declassified 1961 cable called for grounding of Belgian mercenary hours after UN secretary general crashed in Africa
Hours after a plane carrying the UN secretary general, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed over central Africa in September 1961, the US ambassador to Congo sent a cable to Washington claiming that the aircraft could have been shot down by a Belgian mercenary pilot.
In the ...
|More News » |