Scan finally solves ancient puzzle of pharaoh’s death

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The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses III, whose death has puzzled historians for centuries, had his throat slit in a succession plot concocted by his wife and son, a new analysis suggests.

Researchers said yesterday that CT scans have revealed a deep and wide cut that was hidden by bandages covering the throat of the mummified king, which could not be removed in the interests of preservation.

“Finally, we have solved an important mystery in the history of ancient Egypt,” said Albert Zink, a paleopathologist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, which led the investigations.

During the study at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, researchers also discovered a small amulet that was inserted into the king’s wound – which Mr Zink said was probably placed there by embalmers hoping it would heal the cut in the afterlife. Ramses III, often referred to as the last great pharaoh, reigned over Egypt from about 1186 to 1155BC. The cause of his death has been fiercely debated by historians.

Papyrus documents at the Egyptian Museum in Turin describe a conspiracy by Tiye, one of his wives, to kill the pharaoh so that her son Pentawere could succeed to the throne. They suggest the conspiracy failed and all those involved were punished.