Friday, March 11, 2005

Tests Show King Tut Was Not Murdered

Tests Show King Tut Was Not Murdered

By PAUL GARWOOD, Associated Press Writer


CAIRO, Egypt - The results of a CT scan done on King Tut's mummy indicate the boy king was not murdered, but may have suffered a badly broken leg shortly before his death at age 19 — a wound that could have become infected, Egypt's top archaeologist said Tuesday.

Zahi Hawass, secretary general if the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced the results of the CT scan about two months after it was performed on Tut's mummy.

Hawass said the remains of Tutankhamun, who ruled about 3,300 years ago, showed no signs that he had been murdered — dispelling a mystery that has long surrounded the pharaoh's death.

"In answer to theories that Tutankhamun was murdered, the team found no evidence for a blow to the back of the head, and no other indication of foul play," according to a statement released Tuesday by Egyptian authorities.

"They also found it extremely unlikely that he suffered an accident in which he crushed his chest."

Hawass said some members of the Egyptian-led research team, which included two Italian experts and one from Switzerland, interpreted a fracture to Tut's left thighbone as evidence that the king may have broken his leg badly just before he died.

"Although the break itself would not have been life-threatening, infection might have set in," the statement said. "However, this part of the team believes it also possible, although less likely, that this fracture was caused by the embalmers."

Some 17,000 images were taken of Tut's mummy during the 15-minute CT scan aimed at answering many of the mysteries that shrouded his life and death — including his royal lineage, his exact age at the time of his death and the reason he died.

"I believe these results will close the case of Tutankhamun, and the king will not need to be examined again," Hawass said. "We should now leave him at rest. I am proud that this work was done, and done well, by a completely Egyptian team."

Tutankhamun's short life has fascinated people since his tomb was discovered in 1922 in the fabled Valley of the Kings in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor by a British archaeologist, Howard Carter. The find revealed a trove of fabulous treasures in gold and precious stones that showed the wealth and craftsmanship of the Pharaonic court

Hawass had long refused to allow DNA testing on Tut's remains and only agreed to perform a noninvasive CT scan on the mummy, which has since been returned to its tomb. The CT machine was brought from Germany and donated by Siemens and National Geographic (news - web sites).

The study, which was the first CT scan on a member of Egypt's ancient royalty, showed that Tut was of a slight build, well-fed and healthy and suffered no major childhood malnutrition or infectious diseases.

The boy king also had a slight cleft palate, which was not however associated with an external _expression, like a hair-lip, or other facial deformities. He also had large incisor teeth and the typical overbite characteristic of other kings from his family. His lower teeth were also slightly misaligned.

Ruled out also were pathological causes for Tut's bent spine and elongated skull, which had been noted in earlier examinations. His head shape appeared normal and spine was bent as a result of how royal embalmers had positioned his body.

Tut's lineage also has long been in question. It's unclear if he is the son or a half brother of Akhenaten, the "heretic" pharaoh who introduced a revolutionary form of monotheism to ancient Egypt and who was the son of Amenhotep III.

He is believed to have been the 12th ruler of ancient Egypt's 18th dynasty and ascended to the throne at about the age of 8 and died around 1323 B.C.

Ford to Retire Thunderbird After 2005 Model Year

Ford to Retire Thunderbird After 2005 Model Year

DETROIT (March 11) - We had fun, fun, fun 'til Ford took the T-bird away. Again. Ford Motor Co. said Thursday the 2005 model year will be the last for the current-generation Ford Thunderbird, a retro-styled convertible that went on sale in August 2001.

Ford had planned to discontinue the Thunderbird after the 2005 or 2006 model year but told employees Thursday production will end in July.

"We promised all along that this Thunderbird would have a limited production run, and we're being true to our word,'' Ford Division President Steve Lyons said. ''Thunderbird was a terrific image builder for the Ford brand showroom at a time when we needed it."

The Wixom Assembly Plant northwest of Detroit, which produces the Thunderbird, will continue to make the Lincoln LS and Town Car and also will be the final assembly point for the Ford GT supercar, which was released last year.

The Thunderbird, one of Ford's most celebrated nameplates, first went on sale in 1954. Its peak sales year was 1977, when 322,517 redesigned Thunderbirds were sold. The Thunderbird went through numerous design changes over the decades before going on hiatus in 1997.

The redesigned 2002 Thunderbird got off to a roaring start. Dealers were flooded with pre-orders and got $10,000 premiums on top of the car's sticker price of $30,000. It also won over critics, securing Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year award.

But the flurry died down almost as quickly as it emerged. Ford had projected sales of 25,000 per year but fell well short of that mark. Just 11,998 Thunderbirds sold in 2004, 33 percent fewer than 2003.

Ford has sold a total of 54,360 new-generation Thunderbirds since 2001. The company said it has sold 4.2 million Thunderbirds since 1954.

03/11/05 03:55 EST