When your mother said buckle your seat belt and don't drive fast, maybe she was on to something. After years of theories and tests, it seems scientists have concluded that King Tutankhamun, the 19 year-old Egyptian boy king most famous for having his tomb found intact, died in a vehicular accident. A chariot accident to be exact.
According to researchers:
There is now a very distinct possibility that he was struck by a chariot wheel in the torso at high speed – enough to do him very serious damage. In fact, that’s what killed him.
Also, he spontaneously combusted afterwards. Talk about crash and burn. Zing. Yes, I know that was terrible.
The royal embalmers, used to people dying of tooth decay, the flu and various bacterial infections that can be treated with 10 cents of penicillin these days, did not really know what to do with the ancient world's James Dean. He may have died young, but he did not leave a good looking corpse behind.
Not only did his skeleton have broken ribs on its left-hand side but it was lacking a sternum, or breastbone, and heart.
The embalmers did what they could, which sadly did not work. Instead they basically baked the young king's remains into a charred mess, which puzzled modern scientists. Previous theories around the teenage racing aficionado's death have included the usual royal natural causes like murder, as well as snake bite and leprosy.
After all these years, it seems almost a letdown to know it wasn't court intrigue over some radical reforms that led to his death, but the much more pedestrian kind of accident we still see everyday. But it does make the boy behind the golden mask seem that much more human.