Monday, April 13, 2015

Before Hatshepsut - Three Generations of Royal Women at the Birth of the New Kingdom

     Dr. Stephen Harvey did a lecture at the New York chapter of ARCE on April 8. The talk was about three major Egyptian Queens who came shortly before Hatshepsut at the end of  the Seventeenth and beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

     Dr. Harvey has been working on the possible burial sites of Ahmose and his mother Tetisheri at Abydos for many years and had some interesting material to share with the group. He mentioned to those who had not yet heard that the actual name of the Seventeenth Dynasty Pharaoh Senakhtenre Tao I was Senakhtenre Ahmose (see an earlier post in this blog covering this news). He also mentioned that the correct reading of that king's successor was Sekenenre Djehuty-aa, rather than Sekenenre Tao II. This means that we have gone from having two kings in Dynasty Seventeen with the name Tao, to having none.

     At Abydos, Dr. Harvey has found a large stela dedicated to Tetisheri by Ahmose I where her title is given as "One United with the White Crown". Speculation (on my part, not Dr. Harvey's) is that the White Crown she was "united with" was her husband Senakhtenre Ahmose. Does this mean that we have here a tacit admission that the Theban sovereigns were not the rulers of all of Egypt. Of course we know that they were not, but some of Senakhtenre's predecessors liked to pretend that they were.

     Dr. Harvey also mentioned the paper written by Dr. Davies questioning the legitimacy of the famous statue of Queen Tetisheri that was once displayed in the British Museum (I also did a blog post on this topic a couple of years ago). Dr. Harvey agrees that the inscription on the status is a forgery, but thinks that the statue itself may be a real work of Synasty Seventeen art. (Note: Dr. Davies published his paper originally as an occasional paper at the British Museum. It was later re-printed in KMT Magazine, Volume 2, No. 4, Winter 1991 - 2).

     The lecture then moved on to discuss the burial of Queen Ahhotep, with the speaker pointing out that the wheeled boat found with he coffin (and bearing the name of Kamose) is the oldest representation of a wheeled vehicle known from ancient Egypt.

     It was also mentioned that Ahmose Nefertari's coffin (the last of the three queens discussed) is a bit odd in that it does not have a lid that runs the entire length of the coffin. Rather, only the top part of the coffin (from the arms up) can be removed from the "base". Also it was noted that several known vases bear the name of Ahmose Nefertari along with the title "Iti" (sovereign). Does this mean that She ruled Egypt (or at least southern Egypt)?

     The lecture was fascinating, contained a lot of interesting material and was well worth attending. I look forward to hearing Dr. Harvey address ARCE again in the future.

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