- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2008

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON

The remains of two fetuses found in the tomb of ancient Egypt’s boy king Tutankhamen may have been twins and very likely were his children, an expert said Monday.

Professor Robert Connolly, who first studied the king’s mummified remains in the 1960s and is working with Egyptian authorities to analyze them, said new research suggests the two fetuses likely were twins and fathered by the king.

Mr. Connolly said the findings, which he was set to present to a conference at the University of Manchester on Tuesday, offered a “very exciting” insight into the life of the legendary pharaoh, who died around 3,300 years ago at the age of 19.

“The two fetuses in the tomb of Tutankhamen could be twins despite their very different size and thus fit better as a single pregnancy for his young wife. This increases the likelihood of them being Tutankhamen’s children,” Mr. Connolly said.

Tutankhamen’s tomb, containing the mummified bodies of the children as well as the pharaoh, was discovered in 1922 near the ancient Nile city of Luxor by British explorer Howard Carter. The children’s bodies have since been stored at the University of Cairo.

“I studied one of the mummies, the larger one, back in 1979, determined the blood group data from this baby mummy and compared it with my 1969 blood grouping of Tutankhamen. The results confirmed that this larger fetus could indeed be the daughter of Tutankhamen,” Mr. Connolly said.

“Now we believe that they are twins and they were both his children.”

Mr. Connolly is professor in physical anthropology at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology. He said it was “a very exciting finding” that painted a more detailed picture of the pharaoh’s life, death and lineage.

Tutankhamen was made pharaoh at the age of 9 and ruled for 10 years before dying in mysterious circumstances.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said last month that DNA tests would be carried out on the remains of the babies to establish if they were the offspring of Tutankhamen and his wife Ankhesenamen, daughter of renowned beauty Nefertiti.