King Tut's Secret; Far from Statuesque, the Boy Pharaoh Was Pear-Shaped with Podgy Hips, Claim Scientists

Article excerpt

THE statue found in his tomb showed him as a slender embodiment of regal elegance.

But that image of Tutankhamun has been flattering the pharaoh for many centuries, researchers claimed yesterday.

The Boy King was in fact pear-shaped and suffered from a disease which left him with large fatty hips, they say.

He had a 31in chest, 29in waist and 43in hips, according to scientists at the University of Leiden, Holland, who are conducting an eight-year research project on his clothes.

Being pear-shaped was a family trait because his father Akhenaten had a similar figure, meaning that Tutankhamun could have suffered from an inherited disease or one common to the area, said Dr Gillian Vogelsang Eastwood, a British curator at the university's ethnological museum and the project's leader.

'We do not think he had a common shape but not enough medical research has been done in this area,' she said.

'The disease or whatever he had certainly affected his weight, putting fatty deposits on his hips.

'Mummification would have removed the fat deposits. There was no evidence of disease in his bones.

'This is the first time since 1922 that an investigation has been made into his clothing and we now have his body measurements.' The Dutch government-backed study was made on clothes found in the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon. …