Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, July 03, 2010

The previous post about the reconstruction of the face of the mummy from KV55 has been popular and Adrienne Giacon asked for a reconstruction of the Younger Lady so I thought I would post this video up as well. I was actually looking for Tutankhamun reconstructions when I found both of the videos - Tutankhamun is about 1:22 in to this one. (Adrienne, it does include KV35YL for you.)

It's a collection of reconstructions of the faces of several mummies (including some royal ones from the Valley of the Kings) but it doesn't indicate the sources so I cannot vouch for any of them.


rymerster said...

These are interesting but to get a true picture of what the individuals looked like I really think you have to take into account the sculpture available too to get the shape of the nose and lips right. Zahi said something about this relating to Tut; three different teams in different countries were given the CT scans to work with and all came out with different results that looked in some way like their own nationality e.g. the Tut reconstruction shown was the French one I believe, and he does look rather French.

Regarding K55 though, it is relevant to use the reconstruction to compare with images of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare. K55 just doesn't have the chin shape that Akhenaten is always shown to have.

Adrienne Giacon said...

Thanks Kate, I had seen the Tutankhamen and the Meresamun before.
It is interesting to try and match the reconstructions with the busts available.

I do like the ones where they recreate the face muscles etc and mould them on like on Police Forensics. Seems to be more beleivable. I do wonder though how can they tell how big the lips were?
Is still fascinating nonetheless.

Marianne Luban said...

The "police forensics" method is only good for giving an approximation of what the individual might have looked like. It is merely "better than nothing" and cannot possibly compete with an actual photograph. The appearance of an individual depends so much upon the shape of the eyes, nose and lips--and there is no way one can reconstruct these from just a skull. The best one can do is gauge the height of the bridge of the nose. I have done many artistic reconstructions of Egyptian mummies but never liked doing any where there was no extant portrait of the person. At any rate, a mummy is not a skeleton and there is more existing upon the face to allow one to reconstruct what was once there. Still, there is nothing more useless than to try to reconstruct the face of Tutankhamun. He *has* a face, several of them, as seen through the eyes of some very competent ancient artisans. In more modern times, people have been painted by fine artists--but no two renderings make the person look the same.

Adrienne Giacon said...

Which is why the rendering of KV55 may not be as accurate as those of the other mummies as they only have the skull.
That in itself is interesting. Why is there only a skeleton of such a famous person. Was it because it was not stored properly? Yet Akhenaton had family left after his death who surely would have ensured he was embalmed correctly. Surely even if he was disturbed his mummy would still have kept some of its embalmed form.
Or was KV55 not embalmed and the bones taken their at a later date. I wonder if there is any traces of embalming materials on them.

Marianne Luban said...

The bad condition of the KV55 person was due to dampness in the tomb--usually fatal to bodily preservation. The damp was also fatal to most of the objects of wood. The wooden face of the coffin, which was underneath the sheet of gold that had been partially ripped off was reduced to the consistency of cigar-ash. It once had a very distinctive appearance. The shrine of Queen Tiye was reduced to a mess, as well.

Adrienne Giacon said...

Yet Queen Tiyes actual body was in a much better state of preservation albeit found in a seperate tomb in its current state.
The caskets found would suggest that it was buried correctly, if the body belonged to the caskets.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha

Marianne Luban said...

I have posted something about my antipathy to the forensic method on my blog at

and to demonstrate my own method, show my reconstruction of the face of the mummy of Seti I.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I tried to leave a comment on your blog but I think it didn't work. I'll try again in the next couple of days!


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