Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'd love for a tomb of one of the daughters of Nefertiti and Akhenaten to be found.  As reported last week, we know that it looks like Dr Hawass is about to report the discovery of a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  In the meantime we all speculate on whose tomb that may be.  (I really must get a new poll set up.)  While researching DNA testing. I found this story from National Geographic in August 2008. On that occasion, Zahi is reported as saying:

"The fetuses will help us determine whether [King Tut's wife and daughter of Nefertiti] Ankhesenamun was a half sister or a full sister," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.  "If the fetus DNA matches King Tut's DNA and Ankhesenamun['s DNA], then they shared the same mother." 
 That's twice now that Dr Hawass as reported that DNA testing may reveal details about Nefertiti and/or Ankhsenenamun.   That quote definitely strongly suggests he has access to Ankhesenamun's DNA for testing purposes, from which we would have to conclude that Ankhesenamun's mummy, and possibly her tomb, may have been found.  Is that a journalist mis-reporting what Dr Hawass said, Zahi's usual (over-)enthusiasm, or did it slip out by accident that Ankhesenamun has been found?  Remember the reports of KV64 go back before August 2008, although it was only in October 2008 that Dr Hawass himself said new tombs have been found.   There was no mention of testing Nefertiti's DNA in the quote so presumably she hadn't been located at that point.


Anonymous said...

Kate if Hawass has found Ankhsenamuns tomb and also her intact Mummy in the last 12 months then surely we are still years (if ever) from being in a position where DNA could be obtained from her mummy! Given the modern trend of non invasive examinations of Mummy's i just cannot picture the SCA allowing even unwrapping of such an important mummy. I also think that KV 64 is likely to be a Queens tomb, hopefully Nfertiti, Kiya, Ankhesenamun or the previously unknown queen referred to on the ostraca, though this may not have been found in this area of KV. Regards DaveH

Scrabcake said...

Pointless speculation time!

I think we can rule out Nefertiti. Why? Because she was high profile enough in Ancient Egypt that if anyone during the time of the Rameseses knew where her tomb was it would have been smashed up. Plus that, if current speculation is correct, and Neferuneferuaten Ankheperure is Nefertiti a lot of her burial equipment is buried with Tut.
Also, I think that if the tomb were any sort of intact, and had any sort of inscriptions within it, and was Nefertiti's, this would have been leaked for propaganda reasons or at least to hurl at Germany. It's odd if this is something high profile that it hasn't been leaked yet. One of the workers is bound to have bragged around the villiage about it. This makes me think that it might be an uninscribed tomb that they're going to attribute to one of these women.
Another interesting question is this: if Dodson et al are correct and Nefertiti did become king, where did her queenly burial goods go? One possible candidate would be Kiya, whose canopic jars and coffin are in kv55. It's always supposed that her equipment was available because she fell from grace...but what if she moved up in the world and it was no longer appropriate?
Perhaps it went to Merytaten, who briefly played the role of chief queen?
Where is the speculation about her burial, anyway? We don't have even fragmentary evidence of her fate, so any tomb found could also be hers.
I'm running with a gut feeling that it's going to be Ankhesenpaaten or Kiya, though. We don't have any of Ankh's burial equipment included in other burials, or really any candidates for her mummy.

rymerster said...

Am I right in thinking that if the DNA of the foetuses matches Tut 100% then by implication he will have been a full brother to Ankhenesenamun, hence her DNA will be identified, and can be checked against other known mummies in the family.

However, if as I suspect, the mummies reveal that Tut and Ankh were not full brother and sister (or were completely unrelated), you still have DNA to compare with other mummies, going back to Yuya and Thuya, who along with Tut are they keys identifying to a large extent all of the others. Most interesting to me would be to confirm the identities of the Elder Lady, Younger Lady and the Prince. If the Elder Lady is proved to by Tiye, it gets very interesting. My hunch is that the Elder Lady is Tiye, the Prince is Thutmose and the Younger Lady Sitamun - would make sense to have all three grouped in the same tomb as Amenhotep III. The Prince's age and appearance (sidelock) fits other evidence too. The more radical idea would be that the prince is Smenkhkare and the younger lady Meritaten. Sorry, off on a massive tangent there - what fun!

Keith Payne / Shemsu Sesen said...

With regard to Hawass having access to Ankhesenamun's DNA, I had been operating on the assumption (thin ice, I know, but if it stirs discussion and moves the ball, eh.. I'll risk it) that a sort of pool of unidentified samples existed, and that with a genetic profile of Tutankhamun and the fetus, they could through the process of elimination track down Ankhesenamun from the "pool."

Then once a link is established that way, and you have a positive ID on Ankhesenamun, then you could play the same game of elimination leading to Nefertiti through a sample taken from Ankhesenamun and cross referenced with Mutnodjmet.

I could be way off with this (and oversimplifying), but that was how I understood the part of process of mapping the family of Tutankhamun was proceeding.

And, of course, even if I am on track with this, it presumes that Ankhesenamun is among the samples, that there are no false positives or negatives, and so forth. A lot of shooting in the dark, but often that is how genetic testing works in law enforcement. Not an equal comparison, I know, but there is some beneficial interdisciplinary crossover..

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Anonymous said...

Ok look been researching about king tut for a couple years so i know a lot i know that king tut was found in 1922 November 4th by a British archaeologist named Howard Carter and he later died of cancer 17 years later and Howard Carter found the two fetuses with King Tut and his coffin and it is a necessity that there's a secret Doorway to lead to Nefertiti's tomb and plus Nefertiti and father was torn down because of the fact that is King Tut's father decided to take down the other Kings tombs and I also know that the younger lady is also known to be King Tut's mother and it also could be Nefertiti no one knows because they have not found Nefertiti's mummy yet so they can't tell who is the mother but they said they already know the father aten also know that King Tut's tomb had over 5,000 relics maybe more and it was robbed twice and both times the robbers was caught and they have a fingerprint of one of the robbers which explains why it was so messy when Howard Carter found it and I also know how King Tut died he had a broken leg he got a mosquito bite they gave him a serious disease called malaria Martin Luther King Tut when he became king at nine years old He restored the other kings tombs and he died when he was only 19 years old and when he died his sister plus wife went to ask the king at the other side of the Egypt for one of his sons to be her King and her new king died on the way there

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