The exact cause of death of pharaoh Ramses III has puzzled researchers for quite some time, but now it appears that the 3,000-year-old murder mystery has finally been put to rest.
Thanks to the discovery of court documents written on ancient papyrus, scientists knew that Ramses III’s second wife, Tiya, conspired to assassinate the pharaoh in order to place her own son, Pentawere, on the throne.
What scientists didn’t know is if the attempt was successful.
New research headed up by Dr. Albert Zink, an anthropologist at the European Academy, suggests that the attempt on Ramses III’s life was successful. The team put the mummified king through a CT scan and found that underneath bandages wrapped around his neck was a deep, wide cut, suggesting that an assassin slit the pharaoh’s throat with a sharp blade.
“Finally, with this study, we have solved an important mystery in the history of ancient Egypt,” Reuters quoted Zink as saying.
In addition to finding the wound on Ramses III’s neck, the team also noticed that an Eye of Horus amulet was embedded in the wound.
“A Horus eye amulet was also found inside the wound, most probably inserted by the ancient Egyptian embalmers during the mummification process to promote healing, add the authors,” the report reads. “The neck was covered by a collar of thick linen layers.”
The report goes on to say that a mummy, previously known as “Unknown Man E,” is likely the mummy of Pentawere. It was previously thought that the prince took his own life after being found guilty of the coup attempt, and the mummy appears to have died as a result of being hung.
The team is quick to point out that it’s still unconfirmed whether Unknown Man E really is Pentawere and that the mummy’s death-by-hanging should be considered as speculation.