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Discovering Tut: the Saga Continues | NCERT Solution| CBQs | Concept Videos

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Theme, Story-At-A-Glance, NCERT Solution, CBQs, Concept Videos

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The story is an account of the mystery surrounding the boy King Tut.
Being the last heir to the most powerful family that ruled Egypt and its empire for centuries, Tut was laid to rest, laden with gold and eventually forgotten after his reign of about nine years.
His tomb was discovered by a British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
It also describes how a CT scan was performed on the King’s mummy and interesting facts were revealed.


Para 1

  • Tutankhamun or King Tut was only in his teens when he died. He was the last heir of a powerful dynasty that ruled Egypt for centuries.

  • He was buried laden with gold and was eventually forgotten with time. After about 3300 years, his tomb was discovered in 1922, which started speculations about his untimely death.

  • After about 3300 years, his tomb was disc overed in 1922 when there was speculation about his untimely death.

  • Again after more than 80 years hs body was taken out of the tomb and put through a CT scan. This event exposed some startling facts about his life and death.

Para 2

  • A strong dusty wind blew when King Tut was taken out of his tomb in the ancient cemetery of Egyptian royals called the Valley of the Kings.

  • In the evening of the 5th day of January 2005, the world’s most famous mummy was put through a CT scanner.

  • It was done with the intention of probing into the unravelled mystery shrouding the little understood young ruler who died more than three thousand years ago.


  • Tourists from all across the world went to Egypt to know more about King Tut. They went into the rock cut tomb some 25 feet underground.

  • They gazed at the murals and paintings on the walls of the burial chamber and at the young King’s gilded face.

  • Some read in whispers from the guidebooks, others stood silently pondering over the truth of a belief in the pharaoh’s curse.

Para 4

  • The secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass leaned over the mummy to have the first long look and commented that it was in a very bad condition.

  • British archaeologist, Howard Carter, was the first to discover the elusive tomb of Tutankhamun.

  • The contents of this tomb remain the richest royal collection till date and have become part of the pharaoh’s legend.

  • Besides brilliant artifacts in gold, he was buried with everyday things that he might require in after life.

Para 5

  • Carter began investigating Tut’s three tier coffin and it took him months to record the pharaoh’s burial treasures.

  • When he opened the first coffin, he found a shroud decorated with garlands of willow and olive leaves, wild celery, lotus petals and cornflower. The presence of these flowers is a vague inference to a funeral that took place in springtime.

  • In the coffin that held the king’s mummified body, Carter faced a big problem. They had used a sticky substance called resin in the funeral.

  • Over thousands of years, the resin had cemented the mummy to the bottom of the coffin.

Para 6

In an effort to loosen the resin the coffin was placed in the blazing sun, but to no avail. The body had to be chiseled away from beneath the limbs and trunk so that it could be raised from the coffin.

Para 7

  • Carter defended his action justifying that there was no other option of removing the body. If he did not do it, then thieves could have ripped it apart and decamped with the huge amount of gold.

  • Tut’s coffin had precious collars, bracelets, necklaces, amulets , rings, sheaths, coffin, mask etc all in pure gold.

  • To separate Tut from this adornments, Carter’s men removed the mummy’s head and broke almost every major joint. Then they reassembled the same on a bed of sand in a wooden box with padding where it rests even now.

Para 8 & 9

  • Archaeological concepts have vastly changed over the past decades. The focus has shifted from ancient treasures to interesting details of life and mysteries of death.

  • In 1968 more than forty years after Carter’s discovery, a professor of anatomy x-rayed Tut’s mummy and revealed an astonishing fact that beneath the resin, his breast bone and front ribs were missing.

  • Today CT scans can create a virtual body. Cold such a scan of Tut’s mummy answer the two biggest questions-how did he die and how old was he at the time of death?

Para 10 to 12

  • Descendant of Egypt’s most powerful dynasty King Tut’s death was an important event event by any royal standards.

  • Last in the lineage, his death brought an end to a grand phase of Egyptian history.

  • Amenhotep III, Tut’s predecessor was a powerful pharaoh who ruled for almost forty years at the height of the dynasty’s golden age. His son Amenhotep IV succeeded him .

  • His reign marked the strangest period in Egypt’s history. Demolishing all temples and images of Amun , the major God in Egypt, he started the worship of Aten, the Sun God.

  • He even changed his name to Akhenaten meaning servant of the Aten and shifted the religious capital from Thebes to Akhenaten ( now Amarna)

  • After Akhentanen’s death, a mysterious insignificant ruler named Smenkhkare appeared for a brief period. Then came Tutankhaten, who ascended the throne at the age of eleven.

  • He restored the old ways that his predecessor had destroyed. The worship of Amun was revived.

  • He even changed his name to Tutankhamun, meaning the living image of Amun. After just nine years of rule, he met an unexpected death.

Para 13

  • Despite the fame and mystery attached to Tutankhamuns’ mummy, it is just one of the many that have been found in Egypt.

  • As per the inventory of the Egyptian Mummy Project, there are 600 mummies recorded till now and the count is still going on.

  • The next phase is scanning these mummies in a CT scanner that has been donated by the National Geographic society and Siemens.

  • King Tut, even in death, has been ahead of others in the fact that his mummy is the first to be scanned.

Para 14

  • The scan machine created 1700 diital x-ray images in cross section of the mummy which was scanned from head to toe.

  • A whole team of radiologist , forensic experts and anatomy specialists began to delve into the secrets that the winged goddesses of a gilded burial shrine protected for so long.

Para 15 & 16

  • On the cheduled night, the workmen carried the mummy of Tutankhamun from the tomb in a box lifted by hydraulic system in to the trailer that held the scanner.

  • But the portable scanner failed to work due to sand in the cooler fan. Two men ran to a nearby office and came back with white plastic fans.

  • A frightened guard joked that it could be the curse of the pharaoh. Replacement fans worked well enough to complete the scan and obtain the valuable data.

  • The technicians then handed over the royal mummy back to the workmen. In less than three hours of his displacement, the pharaoh once again rested in peace at the same place where the funerary priests had laid him 3300 years ago.

Para 17 & 18

  • The technicians generated surprising images on the computer screen. From the scattered dots, a grey head took shape which was turned and inclined in every direction.

  • The spinal cord was as clear as shown in anatomy classes. Other images showed a hand, sections of the rib cage and of the skull.

  • A relieved Zahi Hawass sat back in his chair and smiled that nothing had gone wrong. He decided to go and sleep for a while.

  • By the time the work was over, the wind had stopped. It was chilly and still in the valley of the dead pharaohs. Just above the entrance of the tomb, the constellation of Orion, considered the god of afterlife, stood brilliantly watching over the boy king.


1. King Tut was the last pharaoh of a glorious Egyptian dynasty.

2. He reigned for about nine years and ided unexpectedly.

3. His tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of Kings

4. Curious tourists arrived from around the world to get a glimpse of the mummy of one of history’s most intriguing character.

5. The mummy was damaged in Carter’s investigation.

6. It was a three-tiered coffin and the king was placed in the innermost coffin of solid gold.

7. The resins used in funeral had solidified and Carter had problems separating the mummy.

8. Carter had to chisel out the mummy resulting in major damages.

9. King Tut succeeded Akhenaten and restored the worship of Amun.

10. He changed his name to Tutankhamun, the living image of Amun.

11. The sky as well as the desert wore a strange look when the mummy was taken out of the tomb.

12. A CT scan created a three-dimensional virtual body of the king.

13. Technological advancements and sophistication has revealed many startling facts.

14. After the scan , his mummy was put back in his eternal resting place where he was ritually placed some 3,300 years ago.

Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context. ( Page 22)

Forensic reconstruction: building up evidence from the remains.

Scudded across: the dark clouds moved very fast across the sky.

Casket grey : dark and gloomy as a grave.

Resurrection: rebirth of the King.

Funerary treasures: the riches buried with the person.

Circumvented: thieves would have found a way to avoid the guards.

Computed tomorgraphy: displaying cross section of the human body using x rays.

Eerie detail: strange and frightening details.

NCERT Solution

Understanding the Text ( Page 28)

1. Give reasons for the following

(i)King Tut’s body has been subjected to repeated scrutiny.

Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922. Since then there has been a lot of speculation about his untimely death. So in order to find answers to how he died and how old he was at the time of his death, his body was subjected to repeated scrutiny.

(ii)Howard Carter’s investigation was resented.

Ans : Howard Carter discovered Tut’s tomb in 1922. But his discovery and subsequent investigation caused irreparable damage to the mummy. It was found out that Tut’s skull was separated, all the major joints were broken, the breast bone and front ribs were also missing. Thus his investigation was resented.

(iii) Carter had to chisel away the solidified resins to raise the king’s remains.

Tut’s body was laid in a gold coffin. It lay on a bed of ritual resins which had hardened and cemented the body to the bottom of the solid gold coffin. He tried to loosen it with exposure to the scorching heat. But it refused to budge. So he had to chisel the solidified resins to raise it.

(iv) Tut’s body was buried along with gilded treasures.

The Egyptians believed in after-life. So they buried Tut with gilded treasures because they hoped that their eternal brilliance will ensure his resurrection.

(v) The boy king changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun.

Amun was a major God in Egypt. But Tut’s predecessor destroyed all images and temples of Amun and started the worship of Aten, the Sun God. When Tut became the king, he restored the old practice and changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun, which means living image of ‘Amun.’

2 (i) List the deeds that led Ray Johnson to describe Akhenaten as ‘wacky’.

Ray Johnson called Akhenaten wacky because of the following reasons:

(i) He suddenly discarded the worship of Amun, the traditional god of Egypt.

(ii) He adopted the sun god Aten.

(iii) He moved the religious capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten.

(iv) He closed the temple of Amun.

(ii) What were the results of the CT Scan?

The city scan provided clear details of

(i) Tut’s head from every angle.

(ii) Neck vertebrae.

(iii) Tut’s hand and several views of his rib cage.

(iv) Transection of his skull.

(iii) List the advances in technology that have improved forensic analysis.

There has been rapid advancement in technology. An X-ray image could give the picture of bones inside the body. CT scan can provide three-dimensional pictures of the whole body from every possible direction. It provides precise data for an accurate forensic reconstruction.

(iv) Explain the statement, ‘King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned-in death as in life…..’

Tut’s life is as mysterious as his death. It has intrigued the archaeologists and historians. With the advances in technology, doctors and archaeologists have got clues as to how Tut dies and how old he was when he died. Even in death, he remains celebrated for the virtue of being the first mummy to be scanned.


Discuss the following in groups or two pairs, each pair in a group taking opposite points of view:

Q1. Scientific intervention is necessary to unearth buried mysteries.

For: Scientific intervention is of utmost importance in order to find out the intriguing facts about the dead remains buried underground. Technological advancement in the field of medical science has helped human kind to unravel the mysteries. Advanced technologies like CT Scan, X-rays help the doctors, archaeologists to solve mysteries not only of the present, but of buried past as well. This in turn enables authentication of historical events.

Against: Archaeologists have given us enough knowledge of past events in the form of history, architecture and culture based on which the modern world had progressed. Scientists and technicians cause damage to environment as well as wastage of resources. For example, a million-dollar machine was transported into the deserts of Kings Valley in Egypt just to experiment on the dead body of King Tut. The machine could be used to help the living rather than scanning a three thousand year old dried and shrunk body of a boy king.

Q2. Advanced technology gives us conclusive evidence of past events.

For: Without scientific intervention archaeology verges on mythology. With the help of advanced technologies it is very much possible to unravel mysteries of the past. Technology provides us facts which are more reliable than simple historical facts. With the help of technology, we have come to know how animals lived on earth at different periods of time.

Against: Scientific findings alone do not provide conclusive evidence of past event. What we need to know is the history of the period, societal and political history and the people to arrive at a conclusion. Technologies give us the clue, but the real findings can be obtained with the help of historians and archaeologists. For example, no technology can give us evidence of how dinosaurs disappear from the earth? How pyramids were built and so on….

Q3. Traditions, rituals and funerary practices must be respected.

For : Traditions, rituals and funerary practices have the sanctity of religion and faith. They must be respected. People of ancient Egypt buried their pharaohs with gilded treasures. It is part of Egyptian custom, which we should respect. By digging them out, we against the prevailing practices of a particular nationality.

Against: If traditions, rituals and funerary practices get outdated and have outlived their utility, they must be changed. No human society can progress if it moves in ruts. If the tradition is accompanied with superstitions and blind faiths, they should be discarded. Our beliefs and traditions should always be for the benefit of humanity. If it is rooted in superstition and discrimination, we should immediately shun it.

Q4. Knowledge about the past is useful to complete our knowledge of the world we live in.


For: Every today is based on yesterday. Similarly, every tomorrow is built on the foundation of every today. Therefore, the knowledge of the past is essential to complete our knowledge of the present. So we study history and other subjects of humanities. We have a lot to learn from ancient civilizations which boast of astounding inventions and discoveries on which our knowledge stands today.

Against: If we have to progress, we need to look forward. History of the past might have helped us how the human society has shaped up today. But in order to carry the present into future, we need to be forward-looking without scientific bent of mind. Science and technology is advancing very fast. So we need to keep pace with the changing time so as to remain progressive. Therefore, with the knowledge of the past we need to go forward to shape up a better tomorrow. For this reason there needs to be a perfect blend between History and Science. They should go hand in hand…..

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