The curse of the pharaoh: what danger is hidden in ancient Egyptian tombs

By Jurassic JennMay 5, 2024 12:38 PMScience
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The curse of the pharaoh
The curse of the pharaoh. Source: thehistoricalnovel.com

Tutankhamun's tomb became one of the most famous archaeological discoveries of the last century. But this discovery also turned out to be a so-called "can of worms" that sparked many rumors and myths and inspired the creation of pseudoscientific theories, science fiction novels, and horror films. The most famous was the story of the "curse of the pharaohs," which was provoked by the death of Lord Carnarvon, who gave money for an expedition to find Tutankhamun's pyramid and died a few months after entering the tomb.

This was reported by SSPDaily.

Despite the suspicious coincidence, there is currently no evidence to link Lord Carnarvon's death to the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. In addition, the head of the expedition, Howard Carter, who entered the pyramid with Carnarvon, lived for another 17 years after the excavations were completed.

It is also known that Lord Carnarvon had serious health problems long before the expedition began. In 1903, he was seriously injured in a car accident and suffered from a chronic lung infection for 20 years. This could indeed be called a curse that ruined his beautiful life, but it had nothing to do with the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. The cause of the lord's death in May 1923 was sepsis due to an infection transmitted by mosquitoes.

In addition, Lord Carnarvon could well have been cursed for his business dealings. To finance his epic expedition to Egypt, he sold the exclusive rights to publish information about the excavations to the London newspaper The Times.

The whole world was fascinated by this story, prompting other publications to seek any information about the tomb. But the exclusive was strictly guarded, so journalists could only invent new "facts".

Thus, Lord Carnarvon's death became a big "bone" that fate threw to the press. Various publications published new versions and speculative stories of his death from the terrible "curse of the pharaohs."

David Silverman, curator of the world-famous Tutankhamun exhibition at the Pennsylvania Museum, said that reporters deliberately misinterpreted the inscriptions found on the walls of the tomb in their articles to intrigue readers with the "pharaoh's curse."

"I will kill anyone who crosses this threshold and enters the sacred domain of the royal king who lives forever," one of the reports said, although no such inscription was actually found in the tomb.

Another publication cited a quote from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was written on the tomb, but its translation was incorrect: "Those who enter this sacred tomb will soon be visited by the wings of death."

Egyptologists claim that no curse inscriptions were found in Tutankhamun's pyramid. It was believed that the pharaohs were protected by special spells known as the Pyramid Texts, so no additional protection was needed.

But similar warnings were indeed found in the tombs of ordinary mortals of non-royal blood.

"Anyone who breaks this tomb will meet death from a disease that no doctor can diagnose," reads one such inscription.

Despite the absence of curse texts in the tombs of the pharaohs, people continue to look for reasons why disturbing the peace of the dead kings of Ancient Egypt can have deadly consequences. For example, one article criticized by scientists suggested that the Egyptians buried nuclear waste under ancient tombs built thousands of years ago, which caused radiation exposure and health problems for archaeologists.

However, there are also scientifically proven risks that ancient Egyptian tombs pose. Research has shown that potentially harmful fungi or other microorganisms dangerous to humans can live in the pyramids. However, there is currently no evidence that any Egyptologist has contracted such an infection after working in a tomb.

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