Can you die from touching a mummy? The tragic fate of archaeologists who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun

(ORDO NEWS) — The tomb of Tutankhamen, the youngest ruler of ancient Egypt, was found by archaeologists almost intact in 1922.

Then the world was flooded with a new wave of Egyptomania – interest in pharaohs, pyramids, mummies and other artifacts of the era.

Years later, the figure of King Tut continues to cause controversy among historians, and pop culture does not get tired of mystifying the expedition of the discoverers of the tomb.

The existence of Tutankhamen was doubted by scientists until the discovery of his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, caused a worldwide sensation.

On November 4, 1922, the English archaeologist Howard Carter saw the tomb of the XVIII dynasty, untouched by robbers, in which the mummy of Tutankhamen rested for 3000 years, as well as works of art, household items and other utensils: from such trifles as jewelry and writing materials to full-fledged furniture and gilded chariots.

Among other things, the participants found a tuft of hair of the grandmother of Tutankhamen, the wife of Amenhotep III – Tia.

Can you die from touching a mummy The tragic fate of archaeologists who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun 2

Shortly after the breakthrough discovery in the field of archeology, the Egyptologist, Lord George Carnarvon, who financed the excavations, died under unusual circumstances.

Sensational reports about the mysterious death of the sponsor hit the pages of newspapers, and readers fascinated by the topic did not lose the opportunity to come up with and distribute new versions of what happened.

The most popular theory was the idea of ​​a curse on the pharaoh, who was allegedly disturbed by the researchers.

The society believed that the spirit of the Egyptian king takes the lives of those who participated in the excavations.

In fact, there was nothing mysterious in the death of Carnarvon, he died of blood poisoning. And in the following decade, only 6 of the 26 people present in the tomb died. At the same time, Carter himself, who collected the laurels of the discoverer, lived until 1939.

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Howard Carter examines Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus

Can you die from touching a mummy?

Some scientists are still inclined to believe that the death of those six researchers was biological in nature.

Probably, pathogenic microorganisms toxic to the human body could be preserved in the closed sarcophagus.

If the assumption is correct, then today to search for tombs is to consciously put yourself at risk. But is it really so?

The tombs of rich people, not to mention the pharaohs, were arranged in a special way. Often, in the burial structures, in addition to luxury items, the corpses of domestic animals were placed, as well as food, which subsequently rotted.

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Sarcophagus, Royal Ontario Museum

Laboratory examination showed that both ancient mummies and damp walls of tombs can multiply molds that cause lung diseases, such as Aspergillus niger (black mold) and Aspergillus flavus (yellow aspergillus).

If we take into account the presence of such microorganisms, the tombs can potentially be deadly. However, not all scientists are in a hurry to agree with this.

Thus, F. DeWolf Miller, professor of epidemiology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, believes that archaeologist Howard Carter was much safer inside the tomb than outside, given the conditions of local unsanitary conditions.

“It’s hard to believe that some strange microorganism lived in an underground tomb for 3,000 years and killed a person six weeks later by sending blood,” says Miller.

According to the scientist, he does not know a single archaeologist or tourist who suffered during the study of the tombs.


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