“King Tutankhamen died young, and we think that the tomb was prepared in a hurry,” Mitchell said. “We’re guessing that the painted wall was not dry when the tomb was sealed.”
The moisture from the paint, combined with the food and incense traditionally buried with the mummy, would have provided the perfect environment for microbial growth until the tomb eventually dried out, according to Mitchell.
Since the spots appear to be caused by ancient microbes that are unique to the site, the conservators aren’t likely to remove the spots anytime soon.
Story: Remy Melina, LiveScience Staff Writer | Photo: Robert Jensen, J. Paul Getty Trust