Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hatshepsut's Mummy Identified

This is somewhat old news, but since I mentioned the topic on March 26, I may as well explain why some claim that Hatshepsut's mummy has been identified.

Over a century ago, two female mummies were found in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV 60), near the tomb of Hatshepsut. One of the women was in a coffin with an inscription that identified her as Hatshepsut's nurse. The other female had no coffin and could not be identified.

This second mummy had its left arm laid over her chest in a pose associated with 18th Dynasty royal women. The mummy was removed from the tomb in 2005 and was CT scanned in 2006 - 2007. The unidentified mummy was found to have a missing tooth, but part of the tooth's root was left in the mummy's jaw.

A wooden box inscribed with Hatshepsut's name was found in the Dier el-Bahri cache in 1881. This box contained what was believed to be her mummified liver. When the liver was CT scanned it was discovered that the box also contained the tooth that was missing from the unidentified female mummy.

This has led many to state that the unidentified female is Hatshepsut. This is not certain; all we can say is that the liver and tooth came from the body of the unidentified women in KV60. One must admit however, that if this mummy is not Hatshepsut then there are an awful lot of unexplained coincidences associated with this corpse. For instance, it is undoubtably an 18th Dynasty royal woman who was found buried next to Hatshepsut's nurse. additionally, the liver and tooth were found in a box inscribed with Hatshepsut's name.

While it is not absolutely certain that the unidentified mummy in KV60 is that of Hatshepsut, the available evidence sure does point to that conclusion.

If you are interested in some pictures of KV60 and the mummy of Hatshepsut, follow this link to Donald Ryan's website and then scroll down to the "Illustrations" section of the page.

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