King Tutankhamun, the mysterious boy pharaoh from 1,300 B.C., could have spent time as a warrior, new research suggests.
An analysis of armor found in King Tut’s tomb may have proved that he engaged in battle, according to a documentary scheduled to air in the U.K. on Wednesday.
Using new technology called “Reflectance Transformation Imaging” that can take merge images of an object captured under different lighting angles, experts revealed evidence of possible battle damage on the king’s 3,000-year-old armor, according to the U.K.’s University of Northampton.
Lucy Skinner, an ancient Egyptian leather expert at the university, took part the documentary called “Secrets of Tutankhamun’s Treasures,” a three-part series featuring a team of experts looking to uncover the secrets behind his life.
Skinner specializes in the study of ancient Egyptian and Nubian leather with emphasis on its origin. Skinner studied remnants of the tunic-shaped garment, which researchers kept at the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Skinner and her team of researchers claimed the new findings debunked the theory that Tut was a weak child with health issues.
“It was possible to see abrasion along the edges of the leather scales, meaning that the armor had seen considerable use” Skinner said in a statement. “That suggests that Tutankhamun had worn it, and that perhaps he had even seen battle. If this is true, it would be an amazing revelation, countering the idea that Tut was a weak and sickly boy-king.”
Just a small sample of the armor remains, but experts believe that’s all they need discover more about the pharaoh.
“I have been working on some experimental tanning to create replicas of the individual scales,” Skinner said. “The ancient methods used for making this type of leather are not really well understood. Materials will invariably change chemically and physically after being buried for thousands of years, so there are a lot of complicated scientific processes involved in finding these things out.”
In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter first discovered King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes in Egypt. Since then, researchers have been able to determine facts about the Egyptian king’s life including how he died. King Tut was thought to have died at the age of 18.