I have several books and DVD's on Tutankhamen. Some are from after the 1968 X-rays when the expert consensus was that Tut was killed by a blow to the head. Then, after the 2005 CT scan, the experts said the 3,000 year old mummy showed no skull fracture, but not a lot else was released.
Finally, with "Ultimate Tut" I feel like I'm getting some solid information. Five basic questions are explored about Tutankhamen (pronounced too tawnk ah MOON) : 1. Why is Tut's tomb tiny and hardly decorated? 2. Why is Tut's body covered in soot and, quoting from Howard Carter's notes, "a charred wreck"? 3. How did Tut die? 4. Why are the painted walls of the tomb covered with brown spotting? 5. Why was Tut's tomb intact, when other royal tombs are stripped clean?
And how about this: Why does Tut's famous Death Mask have pierced ears, when only women and children have pierced ears in ancient Egypt?
There was so much fascinating information in this show. I knew that the heart was important after death in ancient Egypt, because that's what the gods weighed when determining your fate in the afterlife. What I didn't know is that Tut's body has no heart! Dr. Robert Connolly says: "This is almost unique, as far as I know, in royal embalming. The heart ... was always carefully mummified, and there was usually a heart scarab associated with it. But there isn't with Tutankhamen. So I suspect that the heart was exceedingly badly crushed. They couldn't even use that as part of his passage to the afterlife."
Now we're getting somewhere. The examination of how Tut's injuries may have occurred is comprehensive and interesting. The conclusion arrived at was the only place in the show that left a question-mark for me. How come his clavicle isn't broken?
But I don't think there's any argument that driving a chariot needed skill, they are almost wispy. See how the basket holding the driver does not straddle the axle, it is only in front of it. And then imagine shooting a bow and arrow from one.
But that's nitpicking. I was wowed with the demonstration of how an embalmed body could catch fire. I enjoyed the explanation of the mold that is not mold. And I was excited by the last comment in the show. Geologist Cross tells us that GPR scans have shown there's another tomb buried and undiscovered close to Tut's tomb. As a matter of fact, this episode is from 2013, and just last month, Oct 2015, they announced that Nefertiti's tomb may be attached to Tut's.
The show is hosted by Chris Naunton (director Egypt Exploration Society). A hallmark of this series is a narrator who does a good job, but is occasionally annoying with repetition. The number of people involved in putting this exploration together is amazing, from three continents. Looking at their areas of expertise gives you an idea of how thorough "Secrets of the Dead" is in their exploration of the secrets of Tut.
Participants include Yasmin El-Shazly (Head of Documentation, Egyptian Museum), Amit Roy Chowdhury (professor of electrical engineering, UC Riverside), Melinda Hartwig (professor Georgia State University), Dr. Ashraf Selim (professor of radiology, Cairo University), Dr. Robert Connolly (anatomist, University of Liverpool), Anna Williams (forensic anthropologist, Cranfield University), Mike Brown (accident reconstruction expert), Peter Zioupos (biomechanics expert), Salima Ikram (professor Egyptology, American University, Cairo), Matthew Ponting (forensic archeologist), David Crowder (senior fire investigator), Neville Agnew (Getty Conservation Institute), Ralph Mitchell (microbiologist, Harvard), Ashley Cooke (National Museums Liverpool), Stephen Cross (geologist) and Tom Coulthard (physical geography, University of Hull).
This is a double-episode of PBS "Secrets of the Dead" and runs 116 minutes. That makes the exploration of all things Tut nicely detailed. There are no Bonus Features on the DVD disc. However, you can view the show with either English SDH Subtitles or Video Description service.
If you haven't watched any other episodes in the "Secrets of the Dead" series, you're missing some great stuff. In particular, this history lover really enjoyed the episode on Richard III – Resurrecting Richard III.
In this video of the Secrets of the Dead the question of why the Pharaoh Tutankhamun died at such a young age is answered, or more likely the most plausable explanatoins. Why was the body blackened as if burnt when Carter examined it? Why was the tomb so hurriedly filled that material was stacked up? Why was the tomb of an 18th Dynasty king so small? And even more explicable was why was, when the heart so important it not present in the chest of the king? All these perplexing questions have likely answers explained in this program by noted Egyptologists including Salima Ikhram and many others, as one man searches for the truth of the most interesting of the Egyptian kings.