The tomb of King Tutenkhamen—better known as King Tut—has raised many questions over the years. What killed the young king? And—what’s the ___1___ stuff on the walls?

Since the tomb was opened in 1922, tourists have peered at the ___2___ painted walls. And some strange brown stains. Are the brown spots caused by contamination from visitors? Are they threatening the paintings? Or the health of the tourists?

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities asked the Getty Conservation Institute. They in turn posed the question to Harvard microbiologist Ralph Mitchell. His lab ___3___ material from the spots and sequenced its DNA. It turns out that the brown marks contain melanins—by-products of fungus metabolism. But the fungus is no longer alive. And photos show that the spots haven’t grown in the past almost 90 years.

Mitchell thinks this evidence indicates that King Tut was buried in a hurry. Because the paint on the walls was probably still wet. And that moisture, along with the body and the food buried there, would have fed the wall fungus, until the tomb ultimately ___4___. But why the hasty funeral? Just another bit of ___5___ surrounding the boy king.

weird elaborately cultured dried out intrigue图特王之墓疑团重重:图特王到底为何英年早逝?墓墙上的怪异斑点又是什么呢? 自1922年图特王墓向公众开放以来,游客们就对其精心绘制的墓墙颇感兴趣。墓墙上,那些怪异的棕色污点也同样引起了人们极大的好奇心。这些斑点是游客参观时弄脏的吗?它们会影响墓墙上的绘画吗?亦或者,它们会威胁到游客们的健康吗? 埃及古迹最高委员会向美国盖蒂保护研究所发问,继而研究所又将问题抛给哈佛大学的微生物学家拉尔夫米切尔。米切尔在实验室里培养了从棕色斑点上提取的某种物质,并且排列出了该物质的DNA。他发现,棕色斑点中含有真菌代谢物——黑色素,不过真菌已经死亡了。照片显示,在过去的90年间,这些斑点都没有扩大。 米切尔认为这一证据表明图特王是匆忙下葬的,于是墙上的画没有干透,再加上国王的尸体以及陪葬的食物等等,都为墙上的真菌提供了养份,直到墓墙完全干透,真菌才停止生长。但为什么会匆匆忙忙下葬的呢?图特王的疑团还真是没完没了了~