The Family of Tutankhamun
The Family of Tutankhamun is a documentary about the Tutankhamun family and their fall. They were one of Egypt’s greatest families, so why did they disappear? Was there a hereditary disease in the family? How did the family fall? The answers to those questions lie in the tomb of Tutankhamun and the genetic studies that have been done. This story beings with the discovery by Howard Carter of the tomb. The Tomb’s discovery would change history. The runtime for this documentary is 49:09.
Howard Carter was struggling to find the tomb of Tutankhamen. He hoped that this tomb would have been so unimportant the tomb was not raided by grave robbers. Carter had one last chance to find the tomb. After two days, a step was found. It might have been nothing, however as Carter’s team dug, they continued to go deeper and deeper. Sixteen flights later, at the end of those steps there was a horde of treasures was discovered. For the first time, Tutankhamun became a worldwide figure. His tomb was the most complete in Egyptian history.
Additional to the treasures in the tomb there were two other bodies discovered, they were in two miniature coffins. They were two unborn children. Were these the unborn children of Tutankhamun? Would these children hold the key to the sudden end of the family? The questions have never been answered until now.
Tutankhamun’s treasure takes off half of the Cairo Museum. His treasures give a glimpse of the life he lived. So why did this family die out? They were a powerful family that carved out an empire for over two hundred years. They left behind many monuments that proclaimed their achievements. Unfortunately, the family came to an abrupt end. Why was this? How could a family vanish so suddenly?
The 18th Dynasty began with a brother and sister marrying and in each successive generation, a brother continued with this tradition? Was this inter-sibling marriage the cause of the collapse of the 18th Dynasty? Was this family so inbred they could no longer sustain themselves? How inbred was this family? The Egyptian Museum is providing answers.
The Pharaohs are on the move and this is the first time the museum directors will have access to the pharaohs themselves. This will allow them to collect DNA samples from the pharaohs. After the pharaohs are sealed in their climate-controlled boxes, they will be protected for generations. Two genetic scientists from America are helping the Egyptians with their testing. These genetic scientists have experience in DNA as well as in genealogy. As well as testing the pharaoh’s DNA they hope to test the DNA from the two babies found in the tomb. What will these DNA tests reveal about the pharaohs?
One by one the Pharaohs were tested as they were moved into their climate-controlled cases. Additionally, these two scientists went on a search for the two babies. The coffins were found on-site, but where are the bodies? So while the Egyptian authorities look for the babies, the two scientists work on the Pharaohs to build a genetic profile of the family. The DNA of Thutmose III is going to be tested. He is the only mummy properly identified so his DNA will be important to provide a baseline for the rest of the family.
Would these DNA tests prove in-breeding? Would these DNA tests show a genetic disease in the family? Researchers seem to think that there was a genetic disease in the family and the Pharoah Akhenaten may have had it. He was a man who overthrew the traditional gods of the Egyptians and created a new god. Art changed under the king as well. Images of Akhenaten show him with wide hips and elongated limbs. Was this a result of a genetic disease or artistic license? Other researchers studied the skulls of the pharaohs to see if there are similarities. Would the evidence show that there was a disorder in the Egyptian dynasty? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out.
This sounded like a Secrets of the Dead Episode that was repackaged for Odyssey. Additionally, there was some glitching at 17:00 minutes and that lasted until 18:00. Periodically there were additional glitches throughout the rest of this episode. Other than the glitches, this would be a good episode to show in a classroom.
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