Tutankhamun was mummified with a fully erect penis
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The ancient pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried with an erect penis that was embalmed at a 90 degree angle, and there are several theories to why this might be.
The young King of Egypt died thousands of years ago, but still his life and death continues to fascinate both scientists and ordinary folks alike.
Much of that is down to the supposed curse of Tutankhamun, caused by the sudden death of many of the archaeological team led by Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter that found the boy king’s body.
However, there are some other interesting facts about Tutankhamun that aren’t purely in the world of the supernatural.
For example, the fact that he was buried with an erect penis that was stuck up at a weird angle.
According to the most recent study, there could be a deep symbolic reason for this bizarre embalming decision, relating to a religious revolution brought about by a previous pharaoh who is believed to have been King Tut’s father.
You see, Akhenaten – the man widely believed to have been Tutankhamun’s dad – tried to gather the Egyptian faith around the sun, Aten.
That meant that he destroyed images of the other gods that had traditionally been worshipped.
His son decided to attempt to change that, bringing back the traditional gods, and in recent times scholars have posited that his burial method might have been influenced by that.
Not only was Tut buried with a hard-on, he was also covered in black oily liquid and had his heart removed. However, this was not replaced with a heart scarab, which would have normally served as a backup for the real thing.
This – as Egyptologist Salima Ikram has claimed – could have been to make the king look more like the god Osiris.
She believes that the embalming methods weren’t accidental, but deliberately to portray him as the god of the underworld, with the penis highlighting Osiris’ regenerative powers, as well as mimicking the god’s black skin and missing heart – a reference to when the god was cut up by his brother Seth, who also buried his heart.
These acts of deference to the old gods – Ikram suggests – could have been an attempt to undo some of the work done by Akhenaten.
Speaking to LiveScience, Ikram said: "As far as I know, no other mummy has been found thus far with an erect penis,
"The erect penis evokes Osiris at his most powerfully regenerative moment, and is a feature of 'corn-mummies,' the quintessential symbols of rebirth and resurrection.”
‘Corn-mummies’ – for the uninitiated – were non-human mummified articles of devotion to Osiris, often made out of grain.
Another interesting quirk of his burial is that after he was sealed in the tomb, it seems as if the body of the boy king was burned accidentally.
Examination under an electron microscope revealed that the king’s flesh was burned, giving rise to the theory that he spontaneously combusted because of the chemicals used to embalm him, and possibly the viscous black liquid that he was covered in.
Chris Naunton, from the Egypt Exploration Society, found notes made by Carter suggesting that the body had been burnt, which prompted the examination of some of his body confirming that theory.
It suggests that the burial of the young monarch was hasty, as oils used could have combusted in oxygen ‘cooking’ the body at high temperatures.
Naunton once said: "The charring and possibility that a botched mummification led to the body spontaneously combusting shortly after burial was entirely unexpected — something of a revelation.”
Even thousands of years after his death, there are still mysteries to be unravelled surrounding the tomb of Tutankhamun.
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