Study: Tutankhamen Died on His Knees, Then His Body Spontaneously Combusted

New research aims to lay decades of speculation to rest

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Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

A picture taken on October 20, 2009 shows King Tutankhamun's golden mask displayed at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

Working together with car-crash investigators, a team of British scientists says that the legendary pharaoh Tutankhamen died after being run over by a chariot while on his knees.

The new findings, which also include an explanation as to why the remains of the Egyptian king were burnt, will be presented in a documentary that airs in the U.K. on Sunday, the Independent reports.

Studying a piece of Tutankhamen’s preserved flesh, the team found that the body spontaneously combusted while sealed inside its coffin, a chemical reaction between embalming fluids and linen that resulted from a botched mummification.

A theory presented last year held that the pharaoh might have died from epilepsy.