The Face Of King Tut

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Jean Chung/Global Post
A fiberglass bust that purportedly shows the true face of ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun went on display Monday at London's Science Museum.

The likeness was crafted as part of an investigation into how the teenage pharaoh died more than 3,000 years ago.

The fiberglass cast of Tut's head, based on computer models generated from 1969 X-rays of his mummified corpse, shows an attractive round-headed youth with full lips. But it bears little resemblance to the golden funeral mask found in the pharaoh's tomb.

The opulent tomb of Tut, who died around 1350 B.C., was found almost intact by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. His glittering death mask and golden coffin are among the most famous Egyptian artifacts in the world.

For a documentary to be broadcast in October, investigators led by Provo, Utah, police chief Greg Cooper and Mike King of the Utah Attorney General's office traveled to Egypt and examined Tutankhamun's tomb, as well as the 1969 X-rays.

They say the disheveled state of the artifacts in the tomb suggested Tutankhamun's burial was done hurriedly and haphazardly, while the X-rays revealed evidence of a blow to the back of the head.

They examined the cases against four suspects in the king's death - Ay; his wife and half sister, Ankhesenamun; his treasurer, Maya; and his army commander Horemheb.

Their verdict will be revealed in a documentary about the investigation, to be broadcast on British television on Oct. 9. An article published in the Sunday Times said the team points the finger at Ay, who married Tutankhamun's widow and succeeded him as pharaoh.

Forensic scientists led by Salt Lake City chief medical examiner Todd Grey say the X-rays show that Tutankhamun probably suffered from a spinal disorder that fused together vertebrae in his neck and would have made him dependent on a cane to walk. More than 100 walking sticks were discovered in his tomb.

The king took the throne at the age of nine after the death of his father Akhenaten at age 18. The cause of Tut's death has long been debated, with theories ranging from hunting accident to murder.