National Geographic Channel World Premiere Special Features First-Ever
Bust of the Pharaoh Created from 3-D CT Scans
Exhibition of Tut's Treasures to Include Bust and CT Scans -
Begins June 2005 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- He is the most famous Egyptian
king in history. He became pharaoh at the age of nine -- and ruled for
nearly a decade before his mysterious death. Since his tomb was
discovered in 1922, King Tutankhamun and the circumstances surrounding his
death have been a source of intrigue worldwide. Why did the famed "boy
king" die so young? Was he murdered? Is there truth to the legendary
curse set upon those who would disturb his final resting place? And what
did he really look like?
On Sunday, May 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel
premieres "King Tut's Final Secrets," a high-tech forensic investigation
unveiling new findings related to his death and the first-ever
reconstruction of his face and head using revolutionary 3-D CT scan
imaging -- revealing what he looked like on the day he died. This
groundbreaking research is also featured as the cover story of National
Geographic magazine's June issue.
This two-hour world premiere special follows Dr. Zahi Hawass, leading
archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, as he and a
team of Egyptian scientists remove the mummy from its sarcophagus for the
first time in more than 25 years. The goal: use state of the art CT scan
technology to solve the mystery surrounding King Tut's death.
The CT scanner, donated by Siemens Medical Solutions, compiled 1,700
high- resolution 3-D images including cross-section views of the pharaoh's
bones, skull and teeth. The scanning of King Tut's mummy is part of a
landmark, five-year Egyptian research and conservation project.
Partially funded by the National Geographic Society, the project aims to
conserve and study the ancient mummies of Egypt.
"CT technology enables us to virtually 'unwrap' the mummies without
damaging them," explains Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme
Council of Antiquities.
"King Tut's Final Secrets" follows the scientific team as they refine
the technique of using the CT scanner on Egypt's most high-profile mummy.
The CT scan finds loose bones inside King Tut's skull, severed ribs and a
fractured left leg with a missing kneecap. Was he murdered? Or was he
hurt in battle? Does the newly discovered broken leg offer clues to his
death? "King Tut's Final Secrets" attempts to solve the mystery.
The scans also provide a blueprint for reconstructing what King Tut
actually looked like. Working separately, two paleosculptors use a
"digital skull" from the scan to map the angles and dimensions of a face
and transform the raw data into a life-like silicone bust. But, only one
knows to whom the famous face actually belongs. Their results will be
compared as we reveal the first complete picture of what King Tut really
For more than 80 years, the life and death of the fallen pharaoh has
fascinated generations. Now, for the first time in 26 years, more than
130 treasures from his tomb will tour the United States beginning June 16,
2005 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
The National Geographic exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of
the Pharaohs, will include 50 major objects excavated from the tomb of Tut
including his royal diadem -- the gold crown discovered on his head -- one
of the gold and precious stone inlaid coffinettes that contained his
mummified internal organs and the CT scans featured in "King Tut's Final
Secrets." More than 70 objects from other royal graves of the 18th
Dynasty (1555 B.C.-1305 B.C.) will be showcased as well.
"King Tut's Final Secrets" is produced by National Geographic
Television and Film (NGT&F). Executive producer is John Bredar.
Producer and director is Brando Quilici. For NGC, Martha Conboy is
executive producer; John Ford is executive in charge of production.
Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.,
the National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National
Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National
Geographic Channel debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001,
and has been one of the fastest growing networks in history. The Channel
has carriage with all of the nation's major cable and satellite television
providers, making it currently available to more than 53 million homes.
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