Class 11 English Chapter 3 Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

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Class 11 English Chapter 3 Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

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Discovering Tut: The Saga Continues

Chapter: 3




Notice these expressions in the text. Infer their meaning from the context.

forensic reconstruction: building up evidence from the remains

scudded across : the dark clouds moved very fast across the sky

casket grey : dark and gloomy as a grave

Resurrection : rebirth of the king

funerary treasures : the riches buried with the person

circumvented : thieves would have found a way to avoid the guards

computed tomography : displaying cross section of the human body using x-rays

eerie detail : strange and frightening details


1. Give reasons for the following :

(i) King Tutť’s body has been subjected to repeated scrutiny.

Ans. King Tut’s life and untimely death has remained an unravelled mystery. In order to find answers to how he died and the age at the time of death his mummified body has been subjected to repeated scrutiny.

(ii) Howard Carter’s investigation was resented.

Ans. Though Howard Carter has been rightly credited for discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun, yet his discovery and the subsequent work caused irreparable damage to the mummy. It was later found that the skull had been separated, almost all the major joints were broken, the breast bone and front ribs were missing.

(iii)Carter had to chisel away the solidified resins to raise the king’s remains.

Ans. A type of sticky plant extract called resin was used in the funerary ritual of the pharaoh while he was put in the coffin. Over thousands of years, the resin hardened and cemented the body to the bottom of the solid gold coffin. He tried to loosen it by exposing it to the desert sun, but failed. Finally, he had to chisel away the solidified resin to raise the mummy.

(iv) Tut’s body was buried along with gilded treasures.

Ans. Ancient Egyptians believed in afterlife, so they buried great treasures along with the dead body. King Tut, being the last heir of the most prosperous dynasty inherited immense wealth which was put along with his body in the coffin so that he could use it in his next birth.

(v) The boy king changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun.

Ans. Amun had always been a major God in Egypt. But, Tut’s predecessor had destroyed all images and temples of Amun and started worship of Aten, the sun god. When Tut ascended the throne, he restored the old ways and changed his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun, meaning the ‘living image of Amun’

2. (i) List the deeds that led Ray Johnson to describe.Akhenaten as “wacky”.

Ans. Akhenaten promoted the worship of Aten, the sun disk and changed his own name from Amenhotep to Akhenaten, or servant of the Aten’. He shifted the religious capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten, now known as Amarna. He shocked the entire country by attacking their major god Amun, demolishing his images and closing his temples.

(ii) What were the results of the CT scan ?

Ans. The CT scan revealed a grey head which the technician turned and tilted in every direction. The neck vertebrae appeared very clearly. Other images were that of the hand, several views of the rib cage and a cross-section of the skull.

(iii) List the advances in technology that have improved forensic analysis.

Ans. Advanced technology like the computerised Tomography (CT) carries out diagnostic imaging by which hundreds of x-rays are put together to create a virtual body. This technology has even helped forensic analysis of Tutan Phamun’s mummy, a king who died more than three thousand years ago.

(iv) Explain the statement, “King Tut is one of the first mummies to be scanned in death, as in life…

Ans. King Tut has remained the most enigmatic ruler of ancient Egypt. Though he had been on the throne for hardly nine years, yet he has been highly celebrated. Now, even in death he remains celebrated by virtue of being the first mummy to be scanned.


Discuss the following in groups of two pairs, each pair in a group taking opposite points of view.

1. Scientific intervention is necessary to unearth buried mysteries.

Ans. For : Advanced forms of scientific interventions offer new clues about life and death of men who have been renowned and intriguing. Technologies like CT scan help solve mysteries not only of the present but of buried past as well. This, in turn, enables authentication of historical events.

Against : Scientific interventions can also complicate matters Archaeologists have, till now, given us enough knowledge of past events in the form of history, architecture and culture based on which the modern world has progressed. Scientific intervention, in many ways, may give rise to controversies and Complications to disrupt the progress of mankind.

2. Advanced technology gives us conclusive evidence of past events.

Ans. For : We need advanced technology to give us conclusive evidence of past evidences. Without scientific basis, archaeology verges on mythology. Applying sophisticated technology, it is possible to unravel mysteries hitherto unknown. Because they are based on scientific findings, they are far more reliable and conclusive than mere history.

Against : Scientific findings alone do not provide conclusive evidence to anything. What we need to know is the history of the period, the people, and also understand the life in those days. For example, the CT scan of King Tut alludes to the fact that he might have been murdered. But that is not conclusive evidence. Ultimately, to know the rest of the story we have to rely on history and archaeological findings.

3.Traditions, rituals and funerary practices must be respected.

Ans. For : Traditions, rituals and funerary practices reflect the social behaviour of people belonging to a particular place and time. It forms the foundation of their cultural heritage. We should respect such practices as our forefathers led their lives on the faith and strength of those age old practices. It is wrong to rely too much on science deriding whatever had been held sacred by our predecessors.

Against : Most of the rituals, traditional beliefs and funerary practices are based on superstition and discrimination in society. Those that do not have any logic or defy reason need not be respected simply because of the fact that they have been there for ages. What is the use of our knowledge and education if we clutch to ideas which are absolutely unfounded ? Traditional beliefs which do not hinder human progress should be respected, but there are.others that are mere superstitions and do not deserve any respect.

4. Knowledge about the past is useful to complete our knowledge of the world we live in.

Ans. For : Knowledge about the past is very important because it  tells us who we are. Our present is a continuation of our past and that in turn will pave the future. We can learn a lot from our past, imbibe the good and discard the bad, so that we become better human beings. The mistakes that we have committed in the past can be a learning lesson. Delving into the past does not make anyone regressive, in fact it can strengthen us with its huge gamut of knowledge. We have a lot to learn from ancient civilizations which boast of astounding inventions and discoveries on which our knowledge stands today.

Against : If we have to progress in life, we have to look ahead, not behind. The past is gone and we should let it go.The world has changed and so have human needs and demands. How can we learn anything from our history when times were so different from what they are today? Science and technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, so let us just keep pace with that. How can the knowledge about the mysterious death of a king 3,300 years ago help us today ? It does not bear any relevance.


1. Read the following piece of information from The Encyclopaedia of Language by David Crystal. 

Egyptian is now extinct : its history dates from before the third millennium B.C., preserved in many hieroglyphic inscriptions and papyrus manuscripts. Around the second century A.D., it developed into a language known as Coptic. Coptic may still have been used as late as the early nineteenth century and is still used as a religious language by Monophysite Christians in Egypt.

2. What do you think are the reasons for the extinction Languages ?

Ans. Languages become extinct when they are not commonly by people. It could be because the script is difficult for Common men to comprehend, or because they come across easier languages and words for communication. In India, Sanskrit has become extinct because an easier mode of conversation was available in Hindi. Sanskrit remains the language of religious ceremonies.

3. Do you think it is important to preserve languages ?

Ans. Language gives identity to a people. Though, in everyday conversation, we may not be able to follow a grammatically correct language as communication becomes more important than the nuances of language, yet it is important to preserve languages as it symbolises evolution and growth of the human race. 

4. In what ways do you think we could help prevent the extinction of languages and dialects ?

Ans. In order to prevent a language from extinction, it must be in regular usage, both written and spoken. it must also be a part of the education curriculum. The correct usage of the language must be emphasised not only in its written form, but also pronunciation.


1. Given below are some interesting combinations of words. Explain why they have been used together.

(i) ghostly dust devils

(ii) desert sky

(ii) stunning artefacts

(iv) funerary treasures

(v) scientific detachment

(vi) dark-bellied clouds

(vii) casket grey

(vii) eternal brilliance

(ix) ritual resins

(x) virtual body

Ans. (i) ghostly dust devils : the combination of these words enhances the eeriness of the atmosphere. In keeping with the pharaoh’s curse, the writer has drawn up the image of ghosts as the winds blew up the desert sands.

(ii) desert sky : the sky over the desert. It looked different from other parts. There was something strange in the sky above, as in the desert below.

(iii) stunning artefacts : these were the marvellous and impressive prehistoric man-made objects found in the coffin of King Tut that stunned the entire world.

(iv) funerary treasures : these were the precious and valuable objects used in the funeral or burial of the king.

It brings out the extravagance of Egyptian royalty. 

(v) scientific detachment : these two words put together bring out the detachment of a person who studies the mummy with a very scientific approach. For him, the historical preservation was of lesser importance than scientific investigation.

(iv) dark-bellied clouds : huge formations of dark clouds moved rapidly across the sky all day when the mummy was taken out of the coffin. The dark clouds augment the sinister feeling in the desert.

(vii) casket grey : casket is the coffin and thus associated with gloóminess. The dark clouds hovering in the sky veiled the dull, gloomy stars of the evening.

(vii) eternal brilliance : these two words put together bring out the stunning shine and radiance of the objects in the coffin of Tutankhamun even after three thousand years of burial.

(ix) ritual resins : resin is a viscous substance extracted from pants or trees. Here, put together with ritual means 9 this substance was used in the rituals of burial in ancient Egypt.

(x)virtual body : this is the body created in effect, not in reality. CT scan puts together hundreds of x-rays in cross-section to create a three-dimensional body which almost looks like the real one.

2. Here are some commonly used medical terms. Find their meanings.

CT scan            MRI     tomography Autopsy        dialysis       ECGPostmortem     angiography    biopsy

Ans. CT scan : Computer assisted imaging using a succession of x-ray beams to produce cross-sectional images of the body.

Autopsy : It is an examination or dissection done on a dead body to discover the cause of death or damage done by a disease, etc. It is commonly known as postmortem.

Postmortem : Similar to autopsy, it means an examination of a body to determine the cause of death.

MRI : Magnetic Resonance Imaging, it is a radiation free computer-assisted imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves.

Dialysis : It is used to treat kidney failures by replacing the function of kidneys which filter out wastes and excess water from the blood.

Angiography : A special contrast x-ray called angiogram is used to detect abnormality in blood vessel such as narrowing of a large artery.

Tomography : Computerised tomography (CT) scanning uses x-rays in conjunction to a computer. A series of x-rays is passed through the body at slightly different angles to produce highly detailed cross sectional images of the body called tomograms.

ECG : Electrocardiography is used to record the electrical activity of the heart. Several electrodes are attached to the skin to transmit the electrical activity of the heart to the ECG machine.

Biopsy : It is the removal of bits of living tissue, fluid, etc. from the body for diagnostic examination.


1. The constellation Orion is associated with the legend of Osiris, the god of the afterlife.

Find out the astronomical descriptions and legends associated with the following:

(i) Ursa Major (Saptarishi mandala)

(ii) Polaris (Dhruva tara)

(iii) Pegasus (Winged horse)

(iv) Sirius (Dog star)

(v) Gemini (Mithuna)

Ans. (i) Ursa Major (Saptarishi mandala) : A Group of seven stars around a pole that can be seen from the north latitudes all night. According to Indian mythology, they are associated to the seven great sages or rishis.

(ii) Polaris (Dhruva tara) : It is the second brightest star in a fixed position in the northern hemisphere. It is the brightest star of the Saptarishi mandala and also known commonly as the North Star. It is associated with the legend of Dhruva.

(ii) Pegasus (Winged horse) : It is a large constellation in the northern hemisphere and derives its name from the winged horse in Greek mythology.

(iv) Sirius (Dog star) : It is the brightest of all stars, in bluish white colour. It lies in the constellation of Canis Major.

(v) Gemini (Mithuna) : A northern constellation containing the stars Castor and pollux, represented as twins seated. It is the third sign of the zodiac.

2. Some of the leaves and flowers mentioned in the passage for adorning the dead are willow, olive, celery, lotus, cornflower. Which of these are common in our country ?

Ans. Lotus and olive are common in our country.

3.Name some major leaves and flowers that are used as adornments in our country.

Ans. Major leaves used as adornments in India are banana, mango and peepal. Major flowers used are rose, lotus, jasmine, marigold, rajnigandha and chameli.


1. What do you know about Tutankhamun ?

Ans. Tutankhamun, or King Tut as he was popularly known, was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt. He was called the boy king of Egypt because he ascended the throne at the tender age of eleven. His original name was Tutankhaten which he later changed to Tutankhamun, meaning the living image of Amun. Amun is a major Egyptian god which was attacked by Tut’s

predecessor Akhenaten who destroyed all the images of Amun and closed the temples where its worship was conducted. When Tutankhamun took over, he restored all the temples of Amun and revived the old ways of religious belief. His untimely death has always remained a mystery. Being the last o a renowned dynasty, he was buried with abundant riches enough to last him in after life.

2. What problems did Howard Carter face with regards to King Tut’s mummy ? How did he justify the damage caused ?

Ans. Howard Carter discovered King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. He worked for months on it and meticulously recorded the findings. Tut was buried in a three-tiered coffin. Carter found a shroud adorned with garlands of willow, olive and lotus leaves in the first coffin. These findings infer to a burial that took place in springtime. The King’s mummy was in the innermost coffin made of solid gold. The mummy was cemented to the bottom of the good coffin due to the hardened funerary resin. He set the mummy outside in the blazing desert sun with the hope that the sticky material would loosen, but to no avail. The hardened resin had to be chiselled away in order to raise the remains from the casket. In the process the head and major joints were severed.

Carter justified his action saying that if he had not removed and recorded the contents, then thieves would have ransacked and damaged it to remove the gold. He took as much caution as possible under the prevailing situation.

SHORT ANSWER TYPE (30-40 words)

1. Who was Tut ? At what age did he die ?

Ans. Tut, or King Tut, was the last pharaoh of the great Egyptian empire. He ascended the throne at the age of eleven and died almost nine years after that. So, it is assumed that he died at the age of nineteen.

2. What was his original name and why did he change it ?

Ans. King Tut’s original name was Tutankhaten, but as soon as he became the king, he changed it to Tutankhamun, the living image of Amun. He restored the worship of Amun, the major Egyptian God, which was stopped by his predecessor Akhenaten.

3. Who discovered his tomb and when ?

Ans. A British archaeologist named Howard Carter discovered his tomb at the Valley of the Kings in 1922.

4. Why was King Tut’s mummy taken out of the tomb ?

Ans. King’s tut’s mummy was taken out to be put through a CT scan in an effort to solve several mysteries regarding his age and untimely death.

5. Who made the statement that the mummy was not in good condition ?

Ans. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities made the statement after a long first look over the body.

6. Why did Hawass make the statement ?

Ans. Hawass said so because every major joint of the mummy was severed when Carter’s men tried to separate the mummy from the solid gold bottom of the coffin. When they finished their job, they reassembled the remains on a layer of sand in a wooden box with padding that concealed the damage.

7. What were the treasures found in Tut’s tomb and why were they placed there ?

Ans. Tut’s tomb was laden with stunningly beautiful gold artefacts.There were also things of everyday use a board game, bronze razor, linen undergarments and boxes of food. They believed in the concept of rebirth and thus placed everything he might need in his afterlife.

8. what were the frightening changes seen in the weather on that day ?

Ans. Dusty winds whirled like devils on the desert all day when Tut’s mummy was taken out of its resting place in the valley of the Kings. Dark heavy clouds moved rapidly in the desert sky creating a strange and frightening atmosphere.

9. what are the remarkable advancements in archaeology today ?

Ans. Archaeology has shifted its focus to the mysteries of ancient life and death from merely unearthing treasures of the past. It uses more sophisticated tools and medical technology. CT scan and x-rays are performed to delve into intrigues of the past.

10.What startling fact was revealed about Tut’s mummy in 1968 ?

Ans. More than forty years after Carter’s discovery of the tomb, anatomy professor x-rayed the mummy in 1968. He revealed the startling fact that beneath the layer of resin on the chest, the king’s breast bone and front ribs were nissing.

11.What astonishing images of Tut were obtained by CT scanning ?

Ans. The image of the head was seen. The neck vertebrae appeared as clearly as is shown in an anatomy class. The scan also obtained images of a hand, several views of the rib-cage and the skull.

12.What is the function of the Egyptian Mummy Project ?

Ans. The Egyptian Mummy Project has been preparing a catalogue of all the mummies that have been recorded till now They started it in 2003 and have recorded almost 600 so far. Their next phase is to scan the mummies with a portable CT scanner.

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