CAIRO: A chariot belonging to King Tutankhamun that may provide clues to the boy king’s final moments, will leave Egypt for the first time to go on display in New York, the culture minister said on Monday.
The chariot, which will arrive in New York on Wednesday, will be part of the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit in New York, Farouk Hosni said in a statement.
"This is the first time that the chariot will travel outside Egypt," antiquities chief Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying.
"It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the people of New York to see something of such great significance from the boy king’s life," he said.
The chariot, one of five discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, is undecorated and its wheels are worn out, suggesting it had been used frequently by King Tut.
Hawass said that during recent CT scans and DNA tests, medical teams had found that Tutankhamun had an accident a few hours before he died causing a fracture in the king’s left leg.
"This makes the inclusion of Tutankhamun’s chariot to the New York exhibit even more interesting as the young king may have fallen from this very chariot," Hawass said.
"As we discover more about Tutankhamun’s death, we may find that this very chariot is an important piece of the puzzle that we’ve been working for decades to solve," he said.
Last month German scientists said Tutankhamun was probably killed by the genetic blood disorder sickle cell disease, rejecting the conclusions of a major Egyptian study released in February which suggested he had died of malaria.
In Sunday’s statement, the culture ministry said Hawass and his team "stand behind their findings and reaffirm that Tutankhamun died of complications from malaria and Kohler’s disease, an ailment that effects blood supply to the bones."
Tutankhamun achieved worldwide fame because of the stunning funerary treasure found in his tomb, including an 11-kilogram solid gold death mask encrusted with lapis lazuli and semi-precious stones.