Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Burnt Mummy, a new British documentary, claims to expose the circumstances that led to the infamous King Tut’s death and the oddities found in his tomb.

In the documentary, a team of scientists led by archeologist Chris Nauton hypothesizes that the pharaoh, estimated to have died over 3,000 years ago, was not, as previous researchers believed, murdered, but was killed in a chariot accident that shattered his bones and crushed his internal organs.

The team reportedly used car crash simulators to test the theory of a chariot accident, comparing King Tut’s injuries to those found in car crash victims. Nauton believes that King Tut was on his knees during some kind of chariot accident that crushed his heart (whether he himself was on the chariot or not is unclear due to conflicting reports).

King Tut died at the age of 17 in 1323 BC and his mummified body was discovered in 1922 by Lord Carnarvon and quickly became the source of a widespread myth of the curse of the pharaohs. Since the discovery, many theories have emerged as to what led to King Tut’s death.

Recently, Nauton, who acts as director of the Egypt Exploration Society, became intrigued by notes made by Howard Carter, who was assistant to Lord Carnarvon, that suggested that King Tut had been burnt. Nauton reportedly found his way to Dr. Robert Connolly of Liverpool University, and the two studied Connolly’s pieces of bone and flesh he had in his office after a research investigation from 1968. The two concurred that the flesh had been burnt, but how or why remain unclear. Following various forensic tests, scientists have determined that King Tut’s mummified body spontaneously erupted into flame after the tomb had been sealed.

Oils used to embalm the body is suspected to have seeped into the linen surrounding the body and, when the tomb closed, a chain reaction commenced that ended up with the body engulfed in flames exceeding 390 degrees Fahrenheit.

This has led researchers to believe that King Tut’s mummification was rushed for some reason or another.

Nauton’s work has, reportedly, not been peer-reviewed, and the documentary has yet to air, but is scheduled to premiere Sunday, Nov. 10 in Britain.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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