A 3,000-year-old murder mystery involving the Pharaoh Ramesses III, called the "harem conspiracy" has finally been solved by researchers with the help of modern-day forensic science.
Ramesses III was the second Pharaoh of the 20th dynasty who is said to have reigned from 1186 to 1155 BC.
It was believed that Ramesses III was killed by one of his wives called Tiye who wanted to place her son (Prince Pentawere) on the throne. However, since there was no evidence of any wounds on the Pharaoh's body, no one was sure about whether or not he was assassinated.
How was the Pharaoh killed has been a subject of many theories. But, now thanks to modern forensic science, researchers have found remaining pieces of the puzzle.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman of the European Academy of Bolzano/Bozen in Italy. The research team led by Dr Albert Zink analyzed the mummies of Ramesses III and unknown man E (who was thought to be his son).
Scans of the mummy reveal that the Pharaoh suffered from a deep cut inflicted with a sharp object that might have killed him.
"I have almost no doubt about the fact that Ramses III was killed by this cut in his throat," said Albert Zink, reported ABC news . "The cut is so very deep and quite large, it really goes down almost down to the bone - it must have been a lethal injury."
Researchers also found a Horus eye amulet that may have been placed in the mummy to heal the wound. The neck was covered in thick linen.
Researchers found that the unidentified man E was indeed the Pharaoh's son as analysis of their DNA showed a strong father-son relationship. Further, the man's neck was inflated and his skinfolds were compressed around the neck, showing that the man died due to a violent even like strangulation. However, they couldn't confirm the findings.
This particular cadaver has always been speculated to have links with the Pharaoh. It was found buried along the Egypt royalty and is referred to as the "screaming mummy" as its face seems to be fixed in an eternal scream.
Researchers added that the unidentified man E is a good candidate for the infamous Prince Pentawere. His body was wrapped in "impure" goat-skin, which symbolizes punishment in the form of non-royal burial.
Ramesses III was murdered during the harem conspiracy by cutting his throat, researchers concluded.
The study is published in the journal BMJ.