Ancient Pharaoh Ramses III Was Assassinated

X-ray points to severe throat wound, say researchers

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 18, 2012 12:16 PM CST | Updated Dec 22, 2012 7:00 PM CST

(Newser) – The mystery of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh's death may have been solved. Experts knew of an assassination and coup attempt on Ramses III, but never ascertained whether the attackers had succeeded, USA Today reports. Now, new X-ray analysis suggests they did: "The extent and depth" of a wound in Ramses' throat "indicated that it could have caused the immediate death" of the leader, a new study says.

Egyptologists also examined a mummy buried with Ramses, concluding that it was probably his son Pentawere—the very son whose mother is thought to have orchestrated the coup, hoping to make Pentawere pharaoh. "The unusual mummification process" of the second mummy, "including the ritually impure use of a goat skin to cover the body, could be interpreted as evidence for a punishment in the form of a non-royal burial procedure," the report says. One mystery remains, says an expert: The mummy that is apparently Pentawere seems to have been strangled, conflicting with ancient texts that say he was allowed to put himself to death.

Inscriptions on high ceilings are seen in Ramses III's Temple in Luxor, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.
Inscriptions on high ceilings are seen in Ramses III's Temple in Luxor, Egypt, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.   (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
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