Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, February 22, 2010

This was a concept I was toying with last night while I was writing up the Discovery videos, but I shied away from it until I'd read the paper.  However, Katherine Griffis-Greenberg, whom I respect has written about it over at the Hall of Ma'at.  What if the attribution of the mummy in WV22 is wrong and instead of it being Amenhotep III, it is Akhenaten?  The identification of the WV22 mummy is almost as problematic as that of KV55.  Essentially these fit the facts:

  • WV22 = Akhenaten
  • KV55 = Smenkhare
If your follow the link I've given, Katherine has shown a family tree for this alternative.  I don't think anybody is suggesting that this alternative attribution is fact, merely that it seems to fit the facts and therefore it shouldn't be discarded.


tim said...

Hi Kate

The role of kingship at the end of Akhenaten's reign appears to have become esoteric with the Smenkhara figure hiding behind hundreds of brick pillars. The argument for Nefertiti being the pharaoh Smenkhara is a real possibility as Tutankamen would be only 5 or 6 at the time of Smenkhara's coronation.

Nefertiti taking the throne as a male king of course has the Hatshepsut precedence and Smenkhara may have only been a tool to make the transition from Akhenaten to Tutankhamen run more smoothly especially if Akhenaten had become himself unfit to rule during the last 3 years of his life.

Those statues of a female king in Tut's burial may be saying that?

I would be more in favour with Amenhotep III + Akhenaten

s. stockwell said...

Might be a good time to revisit the details of the excavation of the North Palace at Amarna. There was evidence that the last occupants were Nefertiti and Tutankhaten indicating some possible co-regency.

rymerster said...

I think WV22 is Amenhotep III - mainly because of Tiye - but it is possible KV55 is Smenkhkare IF he was a younger brother of Akhenaten. Feasibly he could have been married to KV35YL and Tutankhamun their son.

Derek said...

We can only speculate. I don't like to speculate, but sometimes I have to. I don't agree with the assumptions that WV22 = Akhenaten. It's impossible. Long to write but it just does not hold together. Despite some inconsistencies in the light of recent DNA research that I think is a huge step forward. I believe that KV55=Akhenaten, and he was the father of Tutankhamun. Let us remember the principles of the Egyptians in the coronation of rulers. Dynastic right to the throne, however, were very important. Departed from them only in special cases - the lack of a legitimate successor (Thutmose I) or the ambition of the future king (Peribsen) and the depopulation of the country from collapse (Nebhepetre). Personally, I think that Semenkhkare was the son of Amenhotep III and Sitamon. No mummy and probably never find it, although it is certain that ruled after the Akhenaten. In my opinion, the key lies in coregency: Amenhotep III/Akhenaten greater and Akhenaten/ Semenkhkare to a lesser extent. KV35YL is the mother of Tutankhamun, although her name probably never will be known, though I bet on Meritra or Kiya. I gave a lot of it to know for sure whether coregency was Amenhotep III/Semenkhkare and if so how much lasted. It would have explained a lot to me and a few of these speculations can be forgotten. It makes no sense deliberate over Anchesenamon. We have the name, we have the mummy and we have the genealogy. We have everything. We do not have just Semenkhkare ... Well, I could use Meritamun. Krauss theory about its short rule immediately after the death of his father seems to be interesting. No second coregency in this case... ufff


rymerster said...

How old was Akhenaten when he died? Whether there was a coregency with any other rulers or not, he seems to have reigned for 17 years. Furthermore, he was an adult at his accession (or at least old enough to have fathered children with Nefertiti very early in his reign, if not before).

What if Akhenaten had been a young teenager when he became king? Age 14 maybe. Add 17 years to that for his reign and you have an age at death of 31.

Could he have been so young and able to dictate the changes he did? Yes. The real changes took place from Year 5, by which time he would have been an adult.

How could Akhenaten have been so young at time he came to the throne? Simple - he was one of the younger children of Amenhotep III and Tiye - this is obvious because Crown Prince Tuthmosis and Sitamun are represented earlier in the reign of their father.

So I believe it's possible that Akhenaten was younger than many believe (imagine a passionate and headstrong teenager as Pharoah!) and therefore could be the KV55 mummy.

rymerster said...

Another thought - could Queen Tiye's apparent prominent role in government and diplomatic relations be explained by her son's youth?

Anonymous said...

Hi kate

Is the attribution of the KV35EL not crucial in all this? This individual was identified in the DNA analysis as the daughter of Thuya and Yuya. Also given that the KV35EL was also identified as the grandmother of Tutanhkamun then I think Tiye is the best bet for KV35EL. Therefore for KV55 to be Smenkhkare then he would have to be the son of Tiye and the individual currently identified as Amenhotep III as this is what the DNA evidence seems to show.

In other words for Akhenaten to be the father of the KV55 mummy, Akhenaten would have to have had at least two children with his mother Tiye i.e. KV55 and KV35YL

I wonder if the KV35YL might possibly be Sitamun but at this stage who knows!

Kate Phizackerley said...

Hi Anonymous,

What's important and the fixed points. We have two. Yuya/Thuya and Tutankhamun. Both were found in archaeological context. Any reconstruction of the family tree has to start from those two fixed points. Form those we need to build out to secure other people in that context. As you say, I suspsect the Elder Lady is the next easiest personage to fix in the context, even if we don't know her name for certain. That context may be enough to identify her as Queen Tiye - I've really not had opportunity to look yet. If she can be fixed with 100% confidence, then we have another fixed point to help with the identification of other members of the family.


s. stockwell said...

Still contemplating the identity of KV35YL and the idea that she was murdered. This was the recent finding? That the wound to her face and the back of her head caused her death. First, it is not clear how they came to that? and second it would mean that the lady was eliminated for a reason. Politically, Nefertiti would be a good candidate for this if she outlived her husband and was co-ruling with Tut, as was the theory early on during the excavation of the Norh Palace at Amarna? Kiya, Sitamin, Baketaten, others... not so much? The Priests along with Aye would have killed off the last great symbol of the new religion.

styler78 said...

It would be a shame for KV55 to be any other than Smenkhare. Without this Smenkhare disappears off into Oblivion, maybe being reduced to a fairytale.

I do hope that all information we are given from hereon is purely factual and not so vague. I would hate to think that someones own ideas are being put ahead of real hard facts. I am not naming names, but his hat is a giveaway!!


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