The Independent 5 November 2007 --
3,000 years old: the face of Tutankhamun
The true face of ancient Egypt went on public display for the first time yesterday, as archaeologists unveiled the mummy of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun.
The golden death mask of the young king, which covered the mummy, has been a familiar image around the world ever since the British treasure-seeker Howard Carter located the tomb in 1922. But, 85 years to the day since Carter's discovery, the actual face of the 19-year-old monarch was put on view in his underground tomb at Luxor, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its stone sarcophagus for display in a climate-controlled glass box.
Naturally, the face the world can now see is a lot less idealised than the lustrous and splendid golden mask. It is shrivelled and leather-like from the embalming process. But, if less idealised, it is a lot more human and exhibits one very human characteristic in particular: he might have been the lord of all he saw, but young King Tut had buck teeth. The mummified face clearly display the "overbite" which was characteristic of the Thurmosid royal line to which Tutankhamun belonged.