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(1336 BC - 1327 BC)
A life-sized mannequin of Tutankhumun, discovered in his
tomb ©
Tutankhamun, the 11th king of the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, is
famous because of the discovery of his tomb by the British
archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
The discovery of Tutankhamun's mummy revealed that he was
about 17 when he died and was likely to have inherited the
throne at the age of eight or nine. He is thought to have been the
son of Akhenaten, commonly known as the heretic king.
Akhenaten replaced the traditional cult of 'Amun' with his solar
deity 'Aten', thus asserting his authority as Pharaoh.
According to the most important document of Tutankhamun's
reign, the Restoration Stele, his father's supposed reforms left the country in a bad state.
Consequently the traditional gods, seeing their temples in ruins and their cults abolished,
had abandoned Egypt to chaos. When Tutankhamun came to the throne, his administration
restored the old religion and moved the capital from Akhetaten back to its traditional home
at Memphis. He changed his name from Tutankhaten - 'living image of Aten [the sun god]' to Tutankhamun, in honour of Amun. His Queen, Ankhesenpaaten, the third daughter of
Akhenaten and Nefertiti, also changed the name on her throne to read Ankhesenamun.
Although the reign of Tutankhamun is often thought to have little historical importance,
his monuments tell a different story. He began repairing the damage inflicted upon the
temples of Amun during Akhenaten's iconoclastic reign. He constructed his tomb in the
Valley of the Kings, near that of Amenophis III, and one colossal statue still survives of the
mortuary temple he began to build at Medinet Habu. He also continued construction at the
temple of Karnak and finished the second of a pair of red granite lions at Soleb.
Uncertainty still surrounds his death - he may have been assassinated.