Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 30, 2008

While researching my article on KV64 & KV65, I came across a report that Dr Hawass believes KV63 was originally the tomb of Kiya but was later reused as an embalmers' workplace.

Kiya was the second wife of Akhenhaten (Nefertiti was of course the Royal Wife) and many suspect her to be the mother of Tutankhamun. According to one tradition she was a Mittanian princess sent to marry the ageing Amenhotep III. As Amenhotep died before she arrived, she was instead married to his son Amenhotep IV, who soon changed his name to Akhenaten. Indeed Kiya's entire history is one of taking second place. A temple, Matu Aten, in her honour was established at Amarna but was later re-dedicated to Meritaten, the favourite of Akhenaten's daughters by Nefertiti. Similarly, much her funerary equipment, including her coffin and canopic jars, was reused in the enigmatic tomb KV55, with her name erased.

It is unclear whether she died in Egypt. She disappeared before the end of Akhenaten's reign. It is possible she died (and was interred in KV63?) but some people conjecture that she returned to Mitanni on the death of her father, Tushratta. Personally I like to believe that was the case and that her funerary equipment and tomb were redundant. The alternative is that after her death her tomb was robbed by her family to provide tomb goods for the occupant of KV55 and her tomb converted into an embalmers' workshop. One further theory is that Kiya died giving birth to Tutankhamun. As many believe that the occupant of KV55 is Akhenaten, it seems unlikely to me that Tutankhamun would desecrate the grave of his mother to provide funeral goods for his (disgraced) father. Moreover, Akhenaten's canopic jars remained in his royal tomb in Amarna (where he was orginally interred) and it seems odd that Kiya's would be brought from Amarna. Indeed, it seems unlikely that if Kiya did die before Akhenaten, that he would have ordered her burial in the Theban Valley of the Kings.

If Dr Hawass is correct, however, that Kiya was burried in KV63, it suggests that one member of the Amarna royal family was burried in the Valley of the Kings lending hope that further Amarna region burials could be found in the region.

The BBC Web site has a reasonable profile of Kiya. I'll add a full update on KV63 when I have time.

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