Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dr Hawass has written an article about Queen Mutnodjmet in El-Ahram Weekly. Queen Mutnodjmet was the wife of Horemheb.

Wanted Dead or Alive

Simply put, it is believed that Queen Mutnodjmet was buried in Horemheb's original tomb in Saqqara and her sarcophagus was found.  Sadly – as has happened all to often – her bones have subsequently been lost.  The Egyptian Museum is starting to develop a record of extremely lax curatorial habits in terms of cataloguing the location of exhibits.  It is possible on this occasion that the bones didn’t reach the museum – acquisition records seem to be similarly chaotic – so Dr Hawass in his article reports re-entering the tomb to see if the bones remained within her sarcophagus.

One interesting titbit in the article is that Dr Hawass reports Mutnodjmet may have been the sister of Nefertiti.  That’s something I hadn’t heard before and I will research it.  It fits into article because Dr Hawass spends time talking about the DNA project.  Elsewhere he has now said he expects to report on the DNA of Tutankhamun next month.

The final paragraph of the article is interesting.

I have high hopes that we will be successful in our search to locate the bones of Queen Mutnodjmet. Among other things, we could push our DNA research that much further and identify the mummy of Queen Nefertiti. We could determine the identity of Tutankhamun's father and mother, find the mummy of Queen Tiye, and even discover the remains of Tutankhamun's wife. It was wonderful to descend the tomb shaft at Saqqara -- a real adventure. Adventures in archaeology can often help us to reveal the secrets of the Pharaohs.
Here he is suggesting that the mummy of Nefertiti may already be in a museum – otherwise how could DNA research help to “identify” her mummy? This seems to contradict his reports of looking for the tomb of Nefertiti in the Valley of the Kings – perhaps the tomb being sought under the rest house.  Similarly he suggests DNA could help to “discover the remains of Tutankhamun’s wfe” (ie Queen Ankhesenamun).   Unless of course a new cache of poorly identified mummies of royal women has been found?

I couldn't resist the picture by vintagedept!


rymerster said...

There's long been conjecture about Mutnodjme - was she the same person as the figure named as Nefertiti's sister at Amarna? Was she Ay's daughter? Is she the reason that Horemheb is considered part of Dynasty 18 rather than the founder of Dynasty 19 (which he was by appointing his successor).

I have always hoped Mutnodjme sister of Nefertiti was the same as Queen Mutnodjme as it would be a neat fit and answer the questions above.

I've also always wondered why Horemheb never had children (am I right?)

Kate Phizackerley said...

In truth having spent time researching Mutnodjmet, I don't think any account of her parents fits all facts. She had the title, "Sister of the King's Wife" and it seems strange in Horemheb's reign that she would preserve mention of Nefertiti if Nefertiti was her sister.

Mutnidjmet was buried with an infant and probably died in childbirth. The reports all suggest that she had been pregant many times. It's possible she had a succession of miscarriages, but it's also possible she had a number of daughters whose existence just isn't recorded.

Ann said...

Glad you liked my little mummy image. The RoboScarab could not tempt you? ;)

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Ann - one humorous image per day I think is the limit!


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