Mystery of Tutankhamun's Father

New evidence in the form of an inscribed limestone block in Egypt might have solved the mystery about the identity of boy pharaoh King Tutankhamun's father. Tutankhamun, the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt, has been puzzling scientists ever since his mummy and treasure-packed tomb was discovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter.

Now a missing broken limestone block found a few months ago in a storeroom at el Ashmunein, a village on the west bank of the Nile some 150 miles south of Cairo, suggests that Tutankhamun was the child of Akhenaten.

The limestone block was used in the construction of the temple of Thoth during the reign of Ramesses II, who ruled around 1279-1213 B.C. Once reassembled, the slab has become an accurate piece of evidence that proves Tutankhamun lived in el Amarna with Akhenaten and he married his wife.

"We can now say that Tutankhamun was the child of Akhenaten," Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Discovery News.

According to Hawass, the block comes from the temple of Aton in Amarna and the forms of the inscribed names clearly date it to the reign of Akhenaten. The text on the block also suggests that the young Tutankhamun married his father's daughter, that is his half sister.

"The block shows the young Tutankhamun and his wife, Ankhesenamun, seated together. The text identifies Tutankhamun as the 'king's son of his body, Tutankhaten,' and his wife as the 'king's daughter of his body, Ankhesenaten'," Hawass said.

So, this block clearly proves that Tutankhamun was the child of Akhenaten. But researchers are not yet convinced about the mother of Tutankhamun. There is a debate whether he is the son of Kiya, Akhenaten's minor wife, or Queen Nefertiti, Akhenaten's other wife.