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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Spoiled food may have caused King Tut's curse

Now I have yet another reason to clean out the refrigerator. From National Geographic:

Stories of "the mummy's curse" or "King Tut's curse" excited the world after the discovery in 1922 of the ancient pharaoh's tomb in Egypt. Lord Carnarvon, a British sponsor of archaeology in Egypt, died shortly after attending the tomb's opening, inspiring speculation that supernatural forces were at work. In recent years a scientific mummy's-curse theory was offered for Carnarvon's death. Was he killed by exposure to ancient, toxic pathogens from the sealed tomb? Did they prove too much for his immune system, which was weakened by a chronic illness he had experienced before he went to Egypt? "When you think of Egyptian tombs, you have not only dead bodies but foodstuffs—meats, vegetables, and fruits" interred for the trip to the hereafter, said Jennifer Wegner, an Egyptologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. "It certainly may have attracted insects, molds, [bacteria], and those kinds of things. The raw material would have been there thousands of years ago."


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