Famed pharaoh Tutankhamun may have been a strong ruler who fought in wars, new research has found.
Specialised photography uncovered signs of battle scars on the 18-year-old pharaoh’s 3,000-year-old leather armour.
This revelation shows that the Egypt’s most famous leader of all time was not the weak, sick and poorly child we believe him to be in the 21st Century.
Potentially an experienced warrior, his battle-hardened armour could turn the perception of ancient Egypt on its head.
Famed pharaoh Tutankhamun may have been a strong military ruler who fought in Egyptian battles, new research has found. His battle-scarred armour (pictured) shows signs of being worn and was found in his tomb
A University of Northampton researcher worked with a TV crew during the filming of a Channel 5 documentary to recreate Tutankhamun’s armour.
It was buried within the pharaoh’s tomb and the findings contradict past theories of King Tut’s ‘feeble image’ as a dreamer and philosopher.
The researchers used a technique known as Reflectance Transformation Imaging to examine the battle armour’s secrets.
The relatively new technique involves merging several images of an object photographed under different lighting angles.
Researcher Lucy Skinner, said: ‘It was possible to see abrasion along the edges of the leather scales, meaning that the armour had seen considerable use.
‘That suggests that Tutankhamun had worn it, and that perhaps he had even seen battle.
‘If this is true, it would be an amazing revelation, countering the idea that Tut was a weak and sickly boy-king.’
Her research involves studying ancient Egyptian and Nubian leather objects to understand how they were made, used, and what they would have looked like.
Despite being excavated almost a century ago, it is still a mystery how the overlapping leather scales (pictured) used in the armour were made, or whether the garment had a military use
Researcher Ms Skinner from the University of Northampton (pictured) was filmed as part of a Channel 5 documentary to uncover secrets about the mysterious Egyptian pharaoh
Tutankhamum was eight or nine when he acceded to the throne in 1,332BC and died 10 or so years later. His intact tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes in 1922 by Howard Carter’s famous excavation
The PhD candidate was contacted by programme-makers after she was one of only a handful to have had contact with the 3,000-year-old object outside of Egypt.
Ms Skinner examined the fragile remnants of the garment, a tunic-like object, which was housed in the new Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
During the programme ‘Secrets of Tutankhamun’s Treasures’ she also attempted to recreate the ancient leather at the University’s tanneries in Northampton, housed within its Institute of Creative Leather Technologies.
Despite being excavated almost a century ago, it is still a mystery how the overlapping leather scales used in the armour were made, or whether it had a military use.
The battle-jacket was damaged when first discovered but the remnants remain in good condition to allow researchers to use a cutting-edge form of photography to find new details about the hard leather tunic
Ms Skinner (pictured) also attempted to recreate the ancient leather at the University’s tanneries in Northampton, housed within its Institute of Creative Leather Technologies
Ms Skinner said: ‘I have been working on some experimental tanning to create replicas of the individual scales.
‘The ancient methods used for making this type of leather are not really well understood and it rarely survives at archaeological sites because it is really vulnerable to damage caused by moisture.
‘Materials will invariably change chemically and physically after being buried for thousands of years, so there are a lot of complicated scientific processes involved in finding these things out.’
This computer-generated image of the leather scales were made using the Reflectance Transformation Imaging technique. Leather is not normally found at archaeological sites as it perishes easily in the presence of moisture
Leather rarely survives at archaeological sites because it is vulnerable to moisture damage.
Tutankhamun was eight or nine when he acceded to the throne in 1,332BC and died 10 or so years later.
His intact tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes in 1922 by Howard Carter’s famous excavation.
WHO WAS KING TUTANKHAMUN AND HOW WAS HIS TOMB DISCOVERED?
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, and ruled between 1332 BC and 1323 BC.
He was the son of Akhenaten and took to the throne at the age of nine or ten.
When he became king, he married his half-sister, Ankhesenpaaten.
He died at around the age of 18 and his cause of death is unknown.
In 1907, Lord Carnarvon George Herbert asked English archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter to supervise excavations in the Valley of the Kings.
Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, and ruled between 1332 BC and 1323 BC. Pictured is the face of Pharaoh Tutankhamen is displayed in a climate-controlled case at his tomb in the Valley of the Kings
On 4 November 1922, Carter’s group found steps that led to Tutankhamun’s tomb.
He spent several months cataloguing the antechamber before opening the burial chamber and discovering the sarcophagus in February 1923.
For many, Tut embodies ancient Egypt’s glory because his tomb was packed with the glittering wealth of the rich 18th Dynasty from 1569 to 1315 BC.
The battle-jacket was damaged, probably while it was being removed from the original box in which it was placed in the tomb, and when the excavators attempted to unfold it.
Today, only a small portion of it survives and experts hope to help find funding to allow the conservators at the Cairo museum to dedicate some time to restore the unique object.
The hour long ‘Secrets of Tutankhamun’s Treasures’ programme is due to be broadcast at 7:00pm GMT (3:00pm ET) on Wednesday.