Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, August 27, 2010

If you ignore the mis-labelling of the KV55 mummy as Akhenaten (at best the attribution is scientifically dubious), this chart of the Tutankhamun lineage is really very nicely done.  It reproduces the alleles so that you can see them in the context of a family tree and uses colour coding so that one can easily see the pattern of inheritance.  Thanks to Andie for posting it up.

One aspect of the layout can be confusing so take care.  Rather than present the two alleles from a single locus above one another, they are shown side by side.  So for each mummy the table reads as four pairs of alleles on the top row, and four on the bottom row.

Things to notice are 35 as the top right allele in the entries for Tuyu (Thuya), KV21A and Foetus.  It has not been coloured in the chart because the Hawass family tree doesn't explain how the KV21A lady inherited this allele which, remember, is extremely rare in the general population.  If she is Ankhesenamun and didn't inherit it from Akhenaten (KV55 doesn't have this allele) she must have inherited it from Neferiti.

Next remember that children must inherit one of each pair of alleles from their parents (neglecting the tiny chance of a genetic mutation).  So in the second pair on the top line, Foerus 2 has 6,15 and Foetus 1 has 10,13.  Print out the chart and work backwards with these.  As you can see, if KV21A is their mother, then she must have had 6,13 in this second pair.  Now if she was Ankhesenamun, her parents were Akhenaten and Nefertiti so she mut have inherited either the 6 or the 13 from Akhenaten but the KV55 mummy has a 15,15 at this location so he cannot have been the father of KV21A if she was the mother of Tutankhamun's children.  That's the discepancy I pointed out in my previous critique.

Ultimately how serious a problem you feel this to be depends on whether you believe the KV21A mummy is Ankhesenamun or not.  As I explained in that previous article, with a few minor assumptions, we must choose between KV21A being Ankhesenamun, duaghter of Akhenaten and KV55 being Akhenaten.  Personally I think the DNA evidence (such as the inheritance of the 35 allele I mention above via Nefertiti and probably AY) is persuasive that the KV21A mummy is Ankhesenamun Akhenaten; I also remain sceptical of the forensic data that suggests the KV55 is Akehenaten.  You must make up your own mind, but try using the National Geograhic chart to fill in the gaps working up from the foetuses, and I hope you will soon see the problem.

[Typo corrected with thanks to  Witlessd. ]

95 comments:

Ken said...

I fully agree with your analysis. As mentioned in the other thread, Ay being the father of one of the fetuses is not too large of a stretch. Is it not true that KV21A could be any of Ankhesenamun's sisters as well. It seems to me that Ankhesenamun and/or Meritaten should have tombs in the valley of the queens or western valley. This confusion makes finding these tombs that much more important and it could finally clear up the Neferneferuaten/Smenkhkare situation!

Stephanie said...

It is IMO rather unlikely that one of the fetuses was Ay`s because in that case it could hardly have been included in Tut`s burial.
Assuming that Ay really consumed his alleged marriage to Ankhesenamun and she fell pregnant straight away (which is rarely the case) it would still have taken five months for the smaller fetus and about eight months for the older fetus to have been miscarrried/born and then buried.

Tut`s tomb would have been closed and sealed long before and it would certainly not have been reopened to include Ay`s offspring in Tut`s burial. Why would it not have been buried with Ay?
I do not consider the even more unlikely thought that Ankhesenamun may have cheated on Tut during her marriage to him with her own close blood relative and possible grandfather Ay to be worth being discussed.

On the contrary the circumstances of the burial of the two fetuses and there almost identical treatment make them in my view full siblings, so the odd one out can only be the KV55 mummy.

AFAIK burials in the valley of the queens did not start before the 19th dynasty, or am I mistaken?
The Central Valley is IMO the right place to expect Ankhesenamun, Meritaten and Nefertiti to have been buried.

Kate Phizackerley said...

If you look at the genetics, then it seems likely that Tutankhamun was the father. The father could have been his brother or cousin instead but:

1) why would the foestuses then be buried in Tut's tomb and

2) we don't believe he had any surviving male relatives.

It becomes very hard to imagine any other father for the foetuses - although the DNA resolution is unfortunately not sufficiently complete to say that Tutankhamun has been proven to be the father.

That means we are left for looking at the identity of the mother and personally I think that the odds are something like 20:1 that the mother is KV21A and that the mummy is Ankhesenamun.

I also think that Ken is right and her orginal tomb would be have been in the central Valley of the Kings or the Western Valley and not the Valley of the Queens.

I believe there is still an undiscovered tomb wich probably contains Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Meketaten (and maybe other sisters). It could even be intact.

Witlessd said...

Kate, there are two typos in your post that you may want to correct, so as to prevent confusion:

In the 4th paragraph you say that "the KV55 mummy has a 10,15 at this location" and I think you mean to say that it "has a 15,15" at this location" (it is Tutankhamun who has a 10,15 here).

In the final paragraph you say "persuasive that the KV21A mummy is Akhenaten". I'm sure you meant "Ankhesenamun."

Marianne Luban said...

The fact that there is a headless female mummy related to the group made me remember something. In an article I wrote in "Ancient Egypt", a UK magazine, I had quite a bit to say about some mummified but unidentified heads portrayed in the Napoleonic "Desciption de l'Egypte".

The female one can be seen here and enlarged:


http://www.archaeology.org/online/reviews/napoleon/index.html

I made the comment that. facially, this mummy very much resembled the little boxwood head of Queen Tiye found at Gurob and that it wouldn't surprise me of the women were related. Nobody knows where the head came from or even where it is now. Once it was in the Louvre and may still be there somewhere. I also opined that this woman either died of a heart attack or was strangled!

Marianne Luban said...

That URL didn't come out. Let me try again:

http://www.archaeology.org/online/reviews/napoleon/index.html

Marianne Luban said...

http://www.archaeology.org/online/
reviews/napoleon/index.html

Marianne Luban said...

Here is the carved head

http://wysinger.homestead.com/tiye5.html

Unfortunately, I could not find a profile view of it. There the resemblance to the mummified head's profile is really striking,

Stephanie said...

Marianne, I am not sure if the representation only shows the mummy`s head because it was broken off the body as seems to be the case or if the mummy was intact and the artist chose to represent the head only.

In the first case I don`t think this head could be the one belonging to KV21A because both KV21 mummies were discovered by Belzoni between 1816 and 1819, probably 1817. At the time of the discovery both were intact with their heads which had beautiful long hair attached.
As Napoleon to my knowledge stayed in Egypt from 1798 to 1801 whatever he presented later to his wife must have been retrieved or depicted at this time and certainly not after Belzoni`s discovery.
So it looks that the represented head cannot belong to KV21A (or B who`s head is partly there), but it is still possible that KV21A shared the same fate and was later deprived of her head to be shown off at some disgusting mummy-themed tea-party.

Marianne Luban said...

No, the head presented to the Empress Josephine and in her possession for awhile had no body. But I had forgotten all about Belzoni and his mention of long, flowing hair. But that reminded me of something else. I have a book called "Egyptian Mummies" by Smith and Dawson, published in 1924. The last illustration in the book [Figure 71, page 160, is styled "head of a female mummy, showing the flowing hair". I cannot find another reference in the book to this head and where it's from--but I may be missing something. The face of the head is not much more than a skeleton, but the teeth look very good and all present. The long, flowing hair is certainly very evident. Smith and Dawson did anatomical studies of royal and commoner mummies in Egypt, Smith having written that invaluable tome, "The Royal Mummies" in 1912. I wonder if that head can be in the Cairo Museum somewhere.

Anonymous said...

As to an undiscovered tomb or tombs of the late 18th dynasty period kings, was not the idea floated that kv5 was reused and enlarged from its original late 18th dynsaty design? Kv5 certainly fits the right location for a cache of heretic remains.

Kate Phizackerley said...

It's hard to know what to say about that. There is evidence that KV5 was orginally an 18th Dynasty tomb, probably a small one so it could have been a cache for transfers from Akhetaten/Amarna to the Valley of the Kings.

I don't think, however, that Ramses would have re-used KV5 for his sons had it still carried associations with an heretic king. Had it been used as a cache, it's pretty clear that Akhenaten would have been moved elsewhere by then.

Marianne Luban said...

Hi Kate

I was reading some discussion about the DNA [which we haven't discussed here lately] on another board and there was a link that led me back to some of the things you pointed out. I took another look at that National Geographic family tree at

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/09/tut-dna/tut-family-tree

and there is something really puzzling me. It is the 16/10 combination at D135317 and both Amenhotep III and the KV21 mummy have it. The question is--how? If KV21 is Ankhesenamun where does her allele 16 come from? One might say Nefertiti, her mother, but how does Nefertiti get 16 at this locus if she is not related to Amenhotep III? Nobody but these two have 16 until we come to the foetuses. Some have believed that Nefertiti was the daughter of Ay--but how would Ay be related to Amenhotep III by blood? Any thoughts?

Marianne Luban said...

Forgive me if I seem to be talking to myself here but I am trying to get a handle on this. As a son of Amenhotep III and Tiye, Akhenaten should have 10/12 at this locus like the KV55 individual or maybe 12/16?? If the latter is the case, then if KV21 is Ankhesenamun and his daughter, she would have have had to obtain her own 10 at this locus from Nefertiti. Hmmm...

Marianne Luban said...

Still cogitating here as DNA is not my strong suit. If this putative Ankhesenamun got her 10 at the locus from Nefertiti and Ay is her father, then it seems to me not very likely that Ay can have been the brother of Tiye because 10at this locus on the family tree seems to originate with Amenhotep III. So I am getting the impression that, no matter what KV21's father had at D135317--her mother still has to be related to Amenhotep III. Or maybe KV21 simply isn't Ankhesenamun.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Marianne,
Forgive me, it is interesting and I had to look things up. The 10 is not a huge issue because it is relatively common in a modern general population (about 10%). The 16 is much more interesting because it is rare which does suggest a blood relationship between Amenhotep III and KV21A (the putative Ankhesenamun). That is, that she is his descendent or they have a common ancestor - assuming the allele profile has remain similar over time which is actually unlikely.

I think maybe KV21A is not Ankhesenamun but I want to think about it further.

Andie Byrnes is trying to persuade me to a detailed paper for the next edition (September?) of our Egyptological Journal. Maybe because there is a lot which still ought to be set out carefully.

Marianne luban said...

That would be good-- and it sure would be helpful to have a profile of Thutmose IV so we could know where the 16 allele came from.

Marianne Luban\ said...

Wow--I looked up 16 at the locus, too, at Heinrich heine and Kate wasn't kidding. This allele is hardly to be found anywhere. It makes some showing in Spain and among the Basques and a teeny bit in Brazil and Venezuela, doubtless from Spanish influence. As to the Middle East--forget it--except in Oman. Of course, this is modern populations but still...

Stephanie said...

The crucial point is that we don`t know anything about Nefertiti`s real mother.
She might well have been related to the royals via an ancestor of Yuya or Tuya, maybe through Mutemwija.
Could she even have been Tutmosis IV`s sister?

Of course this is speculation but IMO not impossible.

If we had a DNA profile of Tutmosis IV it might have given some vital clues.

I hope they will catch up on this some time.

Marianne Luban said...

Also, don't forget that these two women from KV31 had severely deformed feet. Club foot, cleft palate, spina bifida--all risks increased by inbreeding. These poor women were not outsiders and probably their parents were brother and sister, as well, as they are even more deformed than Tutankhamun.

Just once from this era we are allowed to see a crippled king. Yes, sometimes Tut has a staff but his two feet are on the ground. But on one slab a pharaoh is shown the way handicapped persons were in ancient Egypt, with one foot off the ground and a staff under the arm like a crutch. Most have wanted to see Meritaten and Smenkhkare in that colorful scene from Amarna, but there is no way of knowing. The queen does not seem to be portrayed as a young woman. She has a sagging belly, a very long neck and wears the rounded blue crown Nefertiti adopted in her later years. The pharaoh appears younger but there is no proof this is so. Yet, unless Smenkhkare has a crippled foot, he can't be the king in that scene.

Marianne Luban said...

Whoops--typo. I mean KV21, of course.

Stephanie said...

I have double-checked and seen that the KV21 ladies are "only" said to have clubfoot/feet and mild scoliosis.
They state no other problems.
They might have had cleft palates but with one head completely and the other partly missing this is impossible to determine.
Interestingly none of the examined mummies is ascribed with spina bifida, not even the larger foetus who was previously thought to have had this anomaly.
Regarding the royal Amarna couple I don`t think the mishappened foot was an attempt of depicting a real deformed foot.
If you look closely you see that the calf of the bent leg is not painted correctly as it "disappears" at one point behind the other leg and "emerges" at a lower point than it should have.
Taking this into account the unnatural looking foot clearly becomes the result of the lacking skill of the artist. He wanted or was requested to depict the king in a relaxed pose which was new for him and in which he wasn`t quite successfull.
As the whole scene is painted on an ostracon it becomes even more likely that this was one of the first attempts of the artist to create something in the new Amarna style.

The king was never ever depicted with a real physical anomalie and even the art of the Amarna period makes no exception to this rule.

Marianne Luban said...

The two ladies only have deformed feet. I only mentioned the other problems because a club foot and cleft palate are present in Tutankhamun and spina bifida often goes with club foot. But the foot or feet of the women from KV55 are much more severely deformed than the foot of Tut.

You cannot say that the artist of the limestone slab was trying something new and then say he can't have been portraying the king with his foot off the ground because that never happened. The foot is definitely off the ground and I see no lack of artistic skill in the scene otherwise. It is not only the foot off the ground but the way the staff is under the arm that is unusual as well. See the portrayal of Rama, another handicapped Egyptian who also has one foot off the ground and holds a staff in the same way. For once, an artist was trying to show the truth but I agree with you he would never go that far when it comes to royalty except on a trial piece--which this is.

Marianne Luban said...

I cannot seem to write the numbers of the VOK tombs correctly here. Just assume KV21 for whatever I write...sigh...

Stephanie said...

Marianne, can you give a source for a depiction of this Rama you mentioned?
I tried but could not find it.

Marianne Luban said...

Here he's called "Roma":

http://sfbaps.org/roma_stela.html

The diagnosis is polio, but I am not sure that's really indicated. I think the Egyptians just had a stock way of depicting any foot anomaly as thin [withered] and off the ground. There is an older depiction, too, but I can't recall the name of the subject.

I suggested that the king in the Amarna piece was crippled in 2002 in my "Exodus Chronicles" and more recently Earl Ertman followed that line of thinking in a Kmt article in which he thought the staff was an actual crutch. But I don't agree, as it seems quite obvious the part Ertman thought was the horizontal part of a crutch is actually a part of the king's collar. One of the reasons that led me to believe illness in that pharaoh, aside from the other depictions I had seen, was the fact that the queen is offering him mandrake fruit. Mandrake fruit was prized in antiquity for its healing power and was also thought to sedate. Of course it would not have helped with anything like club foot but the king may have been suffering from other ailments, besides. If the pharaoh in the scene is Akhenaten, then that might be the reason that a courtier at Amarna, a physician, described himself as "the legs of the king" and asked that Akhenaten "might be well". I think his name was Pentu but I would have to look that up as I may be confusing him with Tutu.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the link. Marianne. Roma really seems to have had an issue with his leg.
But I am still not convinced that the Amarna king in question was depicted with a deformed foot. Look at how the ankles of both feet are shown rather thin, what points IMO not to a deformation in one foot but is rather the new style of depicting the king and other human beings for that matter.
His foot is not as much off the ground as is Roma`s, the forefoot still touches the ground.

I think this posture can be compared to the posture in the depiction on Tut`s little golden shrine where he sits on a chair accompanied by a lion cub while shooting arrows.
Here one can see that his right foot is half lifted off the ground. It cannot be argued that this is a realistic depiction of the king who tries to get some relief from the pain in his foot because the right foot has been found to be healthy.
It should rather be seen as a more vivid representation of a hunting king.

Besides Mandragora is frequently included in New Kingdom art.

Marianne Luban said...

I don't recall another scene where a queen is offering a king mandrake fruit--do you? But that is not so significant as the fruit was also thought to have a pleasant odor. However, Stephanie, knowing what you do now [and I didn't know it years ago when I argued the pharaoh in the scene had a crippled leg] about all the club feet in this family, it seems strange to me that you would take the stance that this must be "something new" in the art instead of an attempt at showing the truth about a king's physical condition for once. Since you bring up Tut's shrine--what about the scene there where Ankhesenamun actually supports her husband by placing her hand under his arm as he walks? That's another first in Egyptian art, as far as I know.

Stephanie said...

I am sure there is mandrake included in the scene on the lid of the ivory chest where Ankhesenamun offers them to Tut and in the famous "perfume scene" on the little golden shrine it is him who holds mandrake in his hand.

Similarly the scenes where she "supports" him are not the first as there are similar scenes in the tomb of MerireII and on a pitch block both depicting Semenkhkare and Meritaten.

Maybe more importantly though there seems to be a scene from Medinet Habu in which a harem`s lady supports Ramses III in the same way. Was he fragile too that he needed her support or does it mean something else?

Marianne Eaton-Krauss says in her book on the little golden shrine:
"We would interpret all these scenes quite literally, to express the royal lady`s affectionate, sustaining role in her marriage."

Besides one would think that IF the supporting scenes really referred to the king`s physical weakness, then the same should apply to all the scenes at least on the same artifact.
But here we have some scenes in which Tut is standing free and even one in which he fowls ducks standing in a skiff.
And of course there are many more depictions of him hunting and in addition to those there is the evidence from used hunting equipment and an inscription regarding a hunt on Ostriches.

I think the interpretation of Eaton-Krauss which is also my own independent opinion is right.

Marianne Luban said...

You may be right about the mandrake but I can tell you for sure nobody has a supporting hand under the arm of Ramesses III as he walks. I have never heard of anybody called "Merirell". Can you give a reference?

Stephanie said...

Sorry I meant Merire II who has a tomb at Amarna. Sure you know him now.

I haven`t seen this depiction of Ramses III being supported by a lady either, but I am sure it is not an invention by Eaton-Krauss or other Egyptologists.

What one usually gets to see is the scene in which he, Ramses, crawls a lady under the chin, but there are certainly more scenes as well.

Stephanie said...

The scene in question can apparently be found on plate 654 of Medinet Habu VIII.
If you are lucky enough to own this book you can double-check.

Marianne Luban said...

Well, that seems to be the trouble--you not having seen the scenes yourself. I told you there is no scene of anybody supporting Ramesses III while he is walking and that is true. In that very "chucking under the chin scene", a court lady has her hand near the king's elbow while he is seated. It certainly does look like an affectionate gesture to me and really does not resemble the scene from Tutankhamun's shrine at all. You can see the Medinet Habu scene here:

http://euler.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/Ramesses_III.html

Just keep scrolling down until you come to it. Yes, I certainly do know the tomb of Meryre II and it contains a lot of scenes, including Akhenaten and Nefertiti holding hands while seated, another gesture of affection. However, I do not recall a queen placing a supportive hand under her husband's arm while he is standing up there. But I would certainly like to see such a scene if it exists. Presently and in the past, I have done my best to find images for you when you asked for them and, this time, I suggest you do the same. And quotes from some source will not suffice. It has seemed to me for a long time that every time I post a comment on Kate's blog, you have made it your business to attempt to refute what I say. Be that as it may, I suggest you do a better job of proving your point or henceforth you will be on "ignore". I am not here in order to split hairs or argue against "phantoms" that may or may not actually exist.

Marianne Luban said...

There! It took me only a couple of minutes to find the scene from the tomb of Meryre II and, yes, it does resemble the scene with Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun--as reconstructed by Lena Wennberg. It seems to me that I am no genius at finding images and you could have done it just as easily.

http://webspace.webring.com/people/sl/lenaankh/smenkh-merit.html

The scene survives in a very sketchy condition and I can't even tell, in the smallish image if Lena [whom I don't know] has reconstructed accurately or not. However, she, too, from her comments, was under the impression that the gesture of Meritaten was a supportive rather than an affectionate one and that the other scene, the one that began this diaagreement, shows an ailing pharaoh, as well. Doubtless you will disagree, but that's all I have to say on the subject.

Stephanie said...

Sorry with a few kids around in these hol`s my time is rather limited so I cannot search much around for more information.

But before closing this subject from my side too I just want to say that I do trust a renowned egyptologist like Eaton-Krauss to give reliable information even if I have not seen the scene myself.
It is obviously a little known depiction but nonetheless it just as obviously exists and I thought it might be good to share this information with others as it is an example from a time other than the Amarna period.

Marianne Luban said...

This is all you said about Marianne eaton-Krauss:

"Maybe more importantly though there seems to be a scene from Medinet Habu in which a harem`s lady supports Ramses III in the same way. Was he fragile too that he needed her support or does it mean something else?

Marianne Eaton-Krauss says in her book on the little golden shrine:
"We would interpret all these scenes quite literally, to express the royal lady`s affectionate, sustaining role in her marriage."

You don't indicate that Eaton-Krauss says there is a scene from Medinet Habu with someone supporting Ramesses III in the way that Ankhesenamun and Meritaten seem to do their spouses. If you had at least given a quote from her about Medinet Habu, then that would speak for the existence of such a scene--which I have never once seen. There "seems to be" is not a very compelling argument.

Stephanie said...

Having re-read my post I must admit that I didn`t make it clear that all the examples I gave are mentioned in Eaton-Krauss`s book on the golden shrine.
She mentions the scene from Medinet Habu in a footnote and gives reference to the volume VIII about Medinet Habu plate 654
(see my post from the 7th August).

Marianne Luban said...

If you have the book, what's preventing you from quoting the footnote? If it's just a footnote to this on page 36:

"We would interpret all these scenes quite literally, to express the royal lady`s affectionate, sustaining role in her marriage."

then I'd bet anything Eaton Krauss is referring to the scene at Medinet Habu that I showed you, where the king is seated. Because in all my years of studying ancient Egyptian art I have seen no other views from a harem scene there. Also, while there are mandrake fruits on the box from Tut's tomb, there are none in the bouquet Ankhesenamun offers her husband. But I believe there is one in an offering on the little golden shrine in Tut's tomb.

Stephanie, I have seen over time what happens when people set out to prove others wrong just for the sake of that and not to engage in the clarification of some facet of history, art, language, etc. What happens is the opposite of clarification but actual obfuscation, deliberately being vague rather than to come clean and say "I am wrong" or even "I really am not sure." I suspect you really are not sure what you are talking about here.

Stephanie said...

If you have the book -and I guess you have it or else how would you know that the phrase cited by me is on page 36 as I gave no page number- what prevented you from reading the footnote yourself?

But here, just in case, is what the footnote says:
"Carter, Tomb II, 15, described Ankhesenamun`s gesture as `affectionately supporting his arm as though he were wearied by State affairs.`
But this should not be taken to indicate that Tutankhamun was debilitated, see further below, p.37, and cf. the similar gesture of the lady supporting the arm of Ramses III, Medinet Habu VIII (n.195, above), pl.654."
The footnote 195 mentions five different plates in the Medinet Habu VIII volume as examples of affectionate poses betwee king and the ladies. So there is not only the one "chucking under the chin scene", there are more, wether you have seen them or not.

And if you think that I am only trying
to prove you wrong for the sake of it you are wrong indeed.
I do not want to nor do I need to prove you or anyone else wrong.

And why should I say that I am wrong or that I am not really sure?

I do not feel that I am wrong in my interpretation of the scenes we have discussed. I have my opinion which was formed by observation and you have yours. Nothing you said was compelling enough for me to change my view, and feel free to keep yours,too.

Now that I know that you take things so personally I`ll certainly avoid engaging into a discussion with you in the future.

Marianne Luban said...

No, I do not have the book, but saw in a review of it that same quote you supplied initially and this gave the page number. If you had supplied the entire quote of the footnote, I think that would have alleviated confusion from the beginning. I never said there were no more harem scenes, but all that ever seems to be reproduced in books is that double one containing the scene of "chucking under the chin" that I supplied. So, never having been to Medinet Habu, I do not know what the rest look like. And, I suspect, neither do you unless you have seen those plates. As I said, in one half of the scene I am familiar with, a lady does touch the seated king under his arm. And yet Eaton Krauss wrote the words "But this should not be taken to indicate that Tutankhamun was debilitated" before his remains were subjected to the CT-scan. Do you really believe she would write them today? I don't, and I think it's reasonable to say her remarks are dated and moot and your reliance upon them makes little sense today. Tutankhamun had a club foot! Club feet ran in the family, evidently. To my knowledge, the post-Amarna era is the first to depict queens supporting their husbands in this manner and since you ask the question about Ramesses III being "feeble"--who knows? But I wouldn't want to comment before viewing the scene to make sure it was like the previous ones. As for discussing things with you, perhaps that is futile because we never seem to agree. That is, the archives here will show that, if I wrote something, you took the time, despite being so busy with your kids, to attempt to refute what I wrote as being untrue. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that constituted the majority of your posts here. As far as I'm concerned, it's happened too often to be a coincidence and that's all I have to say on the subject except I don't time for such pointless quibbling and leave you to do that with others here. I'm done.

Marianne Luban said...

I hate to leave anyone else who might happen to have been reading this conversation in confusion so...despite watching my granddaughter this afternoon and undergoing a root canal after that, I *still* managed to try to get to the bottom of this:

"Carter, Tomb II, 15, described Ankhesenamun`s gesture as `affectionately supporting his arm as though he were wearied by State affairs.`
But this should not be taken to indicate that Tutankhamun was debilitated, see further below, p.37, and cf. the similar gesture of the lady supporting the arm of Ramses III, Medinet Habu VIII (n.195, above), pl.654."
The footnote 195 mentions five different plates in the Medinet Habu VIII volume as examples of affectionate poses betwee king and the ladies. So there is not only the one "chucking under the chin scene", there are more, wether you have seen them or not."

I went to the Lepsius-Projekt [online] and took a look at the "Tafelwerke" or plates. There are, indeed, five "harem scenes", in this case marked "a-e" and, as I said, there is nothing even close to a lady supporting Ramesses III while he walks in any of them. I'm sure I would have remembered it had I seen it. The only one where a woman touches the king on the arm is the "chucking under the chin" scene while he is seated. So the "harem scenes" are out and if there are any more scenes from Medinet Habu where Ramesses III is shown in any "affectionate" poses with a woman I would not know where they could be found. Let someone else find them.

Marianne Luban said...

Back to the subject of this thread--DNA. Here's the main problem, as I see it. Let's say that the KV55 individual is Smenkhkare, the only other king besides Amenhotep III and Akhenaten who could have been the father of Tutankhamun. The only king's daughter that we know of who was his wife was Meritaten. However, Meritaten cannot have been the full sister of Smenkhkare if she was the KV35YL, who is obviously a daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye--or at least those mummies we have little reason to doubt are the royal couple of that generation.

But my question for today is--what is preventing that KV35YL from being the mother of Tutankhamun with another man who was a full brother of the KV55 individual and who had much the same alleles at the loci? Akhenaten, for instance.
Nothing that I can see--DNA wise. Now some might argue that the YL cannot possibly be Nefertiti because she was never styled "king's daughter". And yet two princess, Ankhesenamun and Meritaten did not use that title, either, once they were married. If the YL isn't Meritaten and she isn't Nefertiti--who is she? The third choice is Kiya, the only other attested wife of Akhenaten, but she lacks "king's daughter" in her titles, too. What daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye would have been so insignificant that she is never attested even once as the wife of a king of the era? I don't buy it. DNA, at least, is something that is pure science. The rest of what "should be" is within the realm of assumption. For now, I would rather concentrate on the DNA picture.

Kate Phizackerley said...

@Marianne
Sorry I haven't replied to your email yet.

As to the family tree questions, with DNA we essential have 3 things which can be said about a relationship: impossible; unlikely and likely. Certain isn't on the list - particularly in these sorts of circumstances.

I think I looked at whether a brother of KV55 could be Tutankhamun's father and decided it was unlikely. Certainly possible but relatively unlikely. Perhaps the the most likely option would be an identical twin.

Somewhat more likely is that neither KV55 nor KV35YL are the parents but some other couple from within the royal family are. His DNA is ordinary.

Marianne Luban said...

This is tough. Are you saying that, in order to inherit the exact same alleles from each parent, the siblings have to be twins? I haven't done much research on DNA and twins.

Marianne Luban said...

I suppose they would have to be twins. But a brother of KV55 could have had, for instance, 6/15 at the second locus instead of the 15/15 of KV55. Therefore no twin.

Marianne Luban said...

I am really studying the National Geographic chart this evening. I am trying to figure out just who this KV21A could be--at least a possibility. On the "mummy tree", she introduces allele 10 at the locus 6 and, as Kate pointed out, has 35 at the 4th allele the same as Thuya. Also, among the mummies present, only Foetus 2 also shows 10 there and the other one has nothing. James Allen recently proposed that the Ankhesenpaaten/amun married to Tut was not the older one but the one called "Tasherit" or "junior" as some translate it but it is literally "the little one". This makes a certain amount of sense because the older one probably would have been years Tut's senior. But nobody really knows who the mother of the little girl was although Akhenaten was supposed to be the father. The mother was not necessarily the first Ankhesenpaaten even though they carried the same name. As to the 35 allele, the only other child ascribed to Thuya other than Tiye is a man called Aanen, who was Second Prophet of Amun, sm-priest of Heliopolis and Divine Father. Sometimes the kings married daughters of great men, especially if they were their relatives, as Aanen would have been to Akhenaten. This is just speculation and I have not yet looked to see how rare 35 is at this locus. If it is rare, there is a better chance this has to do with Thuya and her own allele.

Marianne Luban said...

Oh, BTW, Aanen, himself, was probably dead by the time Akhenaten succeeded. He seems to have commissioned the last tomb on the hill Sheikh abd el Gurneh in the environs of the VOK and the pharaoh shown in that tomb is Amenhotep III.

Kate Phizackerley said...

A Tasherit might make more sense in many ways. It would explain the lack of offspring. Incidentally it would also then allow KV55 to be Akhenaten, although I still favour Smenkhare for other reasons.

Marianne Luban said...

KV55 need not be Akhenaten and need not have been the father of Tutankhamun with the YL. Not while a full brother existed. As I said, if KV55 is Smenkhkare, the YL as his full-sister wife is difficult to explain, as both are children of Amenhotep III and the EL. What became of Meritaten, who was surely the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti?

Meanwhile, checking at Heinrich Heine, allele 35 at D21511 is not so terribly rare and makes the biggest showing in Africa, not so much Egypt where it is shown at 0.0110. Elsewhere in Africa it is definitely higher at the locus. Otherwise, in the Middle East, there was only Turkey, the So. Adana Area having the highest at 0.0070.

Regardless, KV21A still has that very rare allele 16 at the first locus, which she shares with Amenhotep III.

Marianne Luban said...

Whoops--the locus is D21S11. I typed it wrong above,

Anonymous said...

Tiye's brother Anen had 4 daughters and a son. Could one of those daugthers have been Nefertiti? That would make her a granddaughter of Thuya and a first cousin of her husband.

If the line of succession went from Akhnaton to Neferneferuaten(=Nefertiti) to Smenkhkare than Meritaton could have been acting as the great royal wife for her parents during their co-reign and for her mother alone until the succession of her uncle/husband Smenkhkare. Their marriage might have resulted in Anchesenpaaton Tashjerit who became Anchesenamun.
Tut would in that case have been Smenkhkare's son from his previous marriage to his full sister. The younger lady is supposed to have died young so there is time between Tut's birth and Smenkhkare's succession for the death of his sister-wife and the remarriage to his niece and the birth of their daughter.

Stephanie said...

Does the information about Anen`s children come from his tomb?
And are the children`s names known?
Nefertiti being Anen`s daughter would have about the same implications as her being Ay`s daughter which is assumed by many.

Marianne Luban said...

Checking back in Allen's "Amarna Succession"

http://cassian.memphis.edu/history/murnane/Allen.pdf

he gives his epigraphic reasons why Ankhesenpaaten Tasherit was the daughter of the first Ankhesenpaaten instead of the erased Kiya.

Marianne Luban said...

Here's a problem I see with KV21A being, let's say, a daughter of a son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye and a woman who was descended from Yuya and Thuya. It's the first locus. KV21A has 10/16 there.

Let's say that this "other" son isn't KV55 and does not have 10/12 at the first locus like KV55--but 11/16 instead. Then where does KV21A get the 10 at the first locus? Even if KV55 *is* Akhenaten, then where does KV21A get the 16? None of those numbers are present at the first locus in Yuya, Thuya, or their daughter Tiye. They only show up in the first locus with Amenhotep III.

Marianne Luban said...

Here's my suggestion for the best solution to the problem and then I have run out of ideas. I think it's most likely that KV21A is the offspring of a union between a daughter of Amenhotep III [and an unknown female] and a son of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye [probably Akhenaten]. That way, whether Akhenaten had 10/12 or 11/16 at the first locus, the number required to make up the 10/16 of KV21A will be provided by the daughter of Amenhotep III, who got it from him. I guess that goes with my remark, earlier in the thread, that KV21A seems to be related to Amenhotep III any way you cut it.

Now the allele of KV21A at the fourth locus, which is 35, may just coincidentally be the same as Thuya there. The reason I think so is the 10 of KV21A at the 6th locus. Nobody has it there in the entire family tree until KV21A and the next generation. That's why I think the grandmother of KV21A is someone unrelated, some wife of Amenhotep III. Who best fits to this scenario? Baketaten as the mother of KV21A, who is--who? Some unknown wife of Tutankhamun? Baketaten was a king's daughter and somehow Queen Tiye took her under her wing. Why who knows? But perhaps she wasn't styled "king's sister" to Akhenaten because she wasn't his full sister, not the daughter of Queen Tiye. Was there something to stop Akhenaten from marrying Baketaten? Nothing stopped Akhenaten, evidently. I say all this because I am having difficulty with KV21A as Ankhesenamun DNA wise. However, Baketaten need not be involved at all. Doubtless Amenhotep III had many daughters. What I am not so satisfied with is Queen Tiye taking so much interest in a little princess who was not related to her--just to her late husband.

Anonymous said...

Amenhotep III had numerous wifes including two of his daughters wife Queen Tiye.
Offspring between father and daughter would complicate matters even further.
Potentially Smenkhkare and Baketaten are the results of such a match. Both seem to have been born at the end of Amenhotep III's reign when he was married to Sitamun and Isis/Iset. Grandmother Tiye raising the daughter of her own daughter isn't unthinkable.
DNA wise both kv55 and the younger lady could be grandchildren of Tiye through one of her daughters with her husband.

As for Nefertiti a female line relative of Thuya must have been her mother. Thuya is supposed to have been a descendant of Ahmose Nefertari so that gave her daughter Tiye the opportunity to become the Great Royal Wife. The same thing must apply to Nefertiti. So this queen could easily have the 35 allene and passed it on through her daughter Anchesepaaton who either was Anchesenamun or her mother.

Stephanie said...

For anyone who might be interested here is an up-to-date professional evaluation of the Berlin "Stroll in the Garden" (Amarna couple) and similar depictions.
As it was suggested that the opinion expressed in the book on Tut`s small golden shrine is out of date I wanted to find out myself if in the light of the latest evidence the authors have changed their minds or not.

I did not manage to get hold of Eaton-Krauss but I contacted the co-author Prof.Dr. Graefe who teaches at the University of Muenster, Germany.
He wrote back promptly saying that his opinion had not changed at all.
The depictions of the ancient Egyptians are not to be understood as showing the reality but they at best mirror the abstract of a certain message which is intended to be conveyed.
Then he asks the question if the sitting king shooting arrows means this is sports for the disabled then how could the king with his clubfoot stand in a skiff and throw throwsticks at ducks as he does in the scene above the shooting scene.

The "stroll in the garden" is regarded by him as a forgery.
He gave a link to an essay of Rolf Krauss on the subject in the PalArch`s Journal of Egyptology 6 (1), 2009.
In this essay Krauss says that the piece was acquired in 1900 from a trader in Gize without any known provenance. This trader was on the offical list for forgeries until 1913.
It was only (wrongly) claimed in 1912 that the piece had been found in

house R45 in Amarna.
Krauss comes after raising and assessing many points to the conclusion that this piece is most likely a forgery.
The bent foot is in his view a mistake made by the artist as the ankle is far too thin for the rest of the leg and the line of the lower leg should actually have been used for the kilt.
Neither Krauss nor Graefe take this as the depiction of an actual medical condition.
Krauss apparently even tried to stand in the same way as the king does with a staff under his arm behind him and found out that this pose is not only very uncomfortable but virtually impossible.
So there is not much "reality" evident in this piece even if one doesn`t believe it`s fake.

Ken said...

@Marianne

Your line of thinking seems plausible to me, I'm anxious to know what Kate thinks of it. I honestly don't think that Hawass presumes that KV21A is Ankhesenamun because before the revolution he was clearly looking for her tomb. Surely a tomb hidden until now would contain an intact burial...

As for your comment about Tiye taking interest in a princess who was unrelated to her, remember that as hypothesized from the lock of hair in his tomb that Tutankhamun also looked kindly upon her and she probably helped to raise him as well. If she had little else to do after her husband died and she may even have looked upon Ahkenaten as a poor excuse for a father in many ways, so her helping to raise these children doesn't seem like a stretch to me. Just my 2 cents...

Marianne Luban said...

Since I have nothing to say about Zahi Hawass, I'll continue this thread with some comments about Aanen, the son of Thuya [and probably Yuya], which I think are interesting. Aanen was a Second Prophet of Amun. I believe I read somewhere that the descendants of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari were promised this office forever by king Ahmose I, but how this relates to Aanen may be discovered someday, if applicable. This was not his only priestly title and he seems to have been an astronomer.

I have a paper by Lyla Pinch Brock, "Jewels in the Gebel", which showed me, for the first time, all the glyphs in the name of Aanen, including a determinative. Therefore, it seems to me that the man's unusual name must be "aA-nni" with the meaning of "Great [of] Returning" or "Great [is the]Returning". Because of the determinative of two legs going backwards as in the term "nn[i]" with the meaning of "coming back". In Egyptian names, some of the prepositions are omitted and implied. Brock has nothing to say about the meaning of the name but she does write: "The first glyph in his name is reversed to face the other two signs, an anomaly also found in Nefertiti's cartouche." [shrugs]

The tomb of Aanen, which is TT120 is not well-preserved but the facsimilies done by Nina and Norman de Garis Davies of what remained of some scenes indicate how wonderful they once were and of the highest artistry. Statuary has Aanen shown wearing a pelt like that of a priest but, instead of spots, there are five-pointed stars surrounded by circles, doubtless symbolic of his knowledge of the heavens. From his belt hangs a strange item also perhaps connected to his expertise.

Marianne Luban said...

I am bumping up this subject because I have added something to my blog

http://thetimetravelerreststop.blogspot.com/

in the post called "Tut's Family Tree--the Possibilities". It has to do with Nefertiti's sister, Mutbeneret, and the fact that her name is in a cartouche. I can think of no other incidence where a person merited a cartouche merely because they were a royal relative--if that relative had started out as a commoner. Anyone?
Take a look at my full comments on the blog.

Marianne Luban said...

Nope, sorry. I misread this damaged scene. The cartouche does not belong to Mutbeneret but to Nefertiti.

davio2shoes said...

ok Im new to this site but old to the debate. Looking at the DNA of Tut's family I see a few key things.
1)We must assume the DNA imfo was read correctly.
2) We must assume there was no significant mutations in the DNA. If there was the entire data saying Tut is NOT the son of Amenhotep and Tiya is put in question.
3) There has been debate that the foetus in Tut's tombs were not his. No other tomb has evidence of such speculated "cultic" actions so without further evidence we need to accept they are Tut's children.
4) As there is no evidence of any other marriages and his young age Anksepatten must also be the mother of these children.

Which leads to the DNA.
Second gene set in Tut is 10-15, Foetus 1 is 10-13, foetus 2 6-15. Therefore Anksepatten MUST have been a 6-13 for this set.
While the debate seems to be is Kv21 is anksepatten the key to me is that IF the foetus are Tut's and no mutation the Mummy of Kv55 cannot be Akhenaten. He has 15-15. Its simply impossible.

Anonymous said...

In a small casket from KV62 that was inscribed with the names of both Tutankhamen and Ankhsenamen were found two balls of hair. Assuming these samples belong to the couple, and also assuming they have not been lost, analysis of their DNA should provide data that has not been affected by mummification, prolonged exposure to the chemicals poured over Tutankhamen's body or Howard Carter's use of blowlamps.
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Good thinking, Anon. I had forgotten about that hair and it could be useful. The lock of hair in a case with the name and titles of Queen Tiye had been found to match to a sample from the head of the Elder Lady by microscopic analysis even though the lock in the case had been heavily treated with unguent. But it is only lately that the microscopic analysis has been proved correct by DNA as it had come under criticism in a paper by Renate Germer.

Anonymous said...

The casket, made of calcite (described as alabaster in the contemporary US catalogue) was part of the touring exhibition that visited the US between 1976 and 1979. I have no information as to whether the balls of hair were still inside at the time.
The late Christianne Desroches Noblecourt assumed the lock of Tiye's hair indicated she was Tutankhamen's mother. This theory, presumably, can no longer be held. CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Here's a view of the alabaster container, very beautiful

http://www.touregypt.net/museum/chest3page.htm

but the accompanying text claims the hair was decayed, which I now remember I had read long ago. But I don't know what "decayed" means in this regard. I was once told it was one of the elements of the human body that lasted the longest once a person died.

Anonymous said...

The workmanship is first class and perhaps reflects the importance in which the casket was held. If I have time today, I shall see what Carter's notes say. If the lock of Tiye's hair survived, it should follow these samples stood a good chance. As you say, hair does survive longer. Does anyone know how much hair is needed to give a DNA sample? If the various crime investigation series are to be believed, it is not a great amount.
CJB

Anonymous said...

The chest contained the following
"an ivory pomegranate, a layer of cloth, a mass of decayed (horse) hair and two balls of hair wrapped in linen, one 2 inches in diameter and the other 2.5 inches in diameter". I quote from the American Exhibition catalogue which quoted Carter's notes. It would seem the decayed hair is not to be confused with the two wrapped balls. I wonder where they are now?
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

According to this

http://www.dna-testing-aid.com/hair-dna.html

a single strand of hair is sufficient and says why.

Marianne Luban said...

I forget to mention that clipped hair may be no good but only the strands that have the follicle at the end--the ones lost or pulled out by combing or brushing. Well, the hair balls should be located and a microscope would soon discover if any strands fit the latter category. It would be bad and ironic if the hair had been lost since Carter's day. I recall a big to-do was made over some guy in France having some hair belonging to Ramesses II [from the days when he had been restored in that country and his hair examined by the L'Oreal people. He had to send whatever bits he had back to Egypt.

Anonymous said...

Re Ramesses's hair: quite right too!
If the balls of hair still exist, given how much hair is needed to make a ball of their given sizes, you would hope there would be at least one with a follicle attached. (Is cut hair completely useless, or is it that current technology is not yet able to analyse it?)
As an optimist, I suppose the next step would be to persuade some suitably qualified and respected expert to search for the said hair and to see if it is possible to isolate acceptable DNA. Then he/she will need to compare it with the bodies from KV62 and KV21. Though I suspect some form of television sponsorship is required, I would hope the work could be done away from the media circus that attended many of Dr Hawass's ventures and with no pressure to come up with an acceptable answer. If the hair does not match either mummy (and that is always a possibility, however small) then that is the finding, as uncomfortable as it might be.
CJB

Stephanie said...

Given that the bodies of the babies from KV62 were stored at Kasr-al Aini in Cairo were they were long forgotten but eventually rediscovered I guess that this would be the place to look first for the missing hairballs. Many of ancient Egypt`s human remains and things connected with them seem to be stored there.
Another possibility are the storerooms under the Egyptian museum or, sadly, any other storage facility for that matter.

I do not believe that Carter discarded of the contents of the small casket even if they must have seemed to be of little use to him then. They are likely to lurk somewhere.

The question is of course how useful they would be for DNA testing. I wonder why the hair of Queen Tiye was not subjected to tesing as it could have given additional security to the identification of her mummy. It was probably either deemed unnecessairy or useless.

But who knows, if we are extremely lucky the hair from the chest might already have been allocated and tested. We know that the researchers were not happy that they could not identify the KV21 mummies and promised to try to find out more about them. They might have tried to obtain results from the hairsamples if repeated testing of the mummy tissue failed to provide a complete data set.

I know I am extremely optimistic here, it is just as likely that they did no such thing and that it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

RE, Stephanie: I followed up some of Marianne's links on hair DNA sampling. If I understand the requirements correctly, the hair has to be attached to a follicle as it is the skin of the follicle that actually provides the sample. One laboratory required a minimum of six hairs and their attached follicles in order to do the analysis (cost 112 pounds sterling). If Tiye's hair sample from KV62 was simply cut from the end of a tress, it might not have contained enough material. With regard to the two balls of hair from the casket, well, who can say? I agree that it is unlikely that Howard Carter would have thrown these items away. They are, hopefully, stored in one of the locations you mentioned.
As an afterthought on KV21, were the two mummies physically complete (though presumably robbed) when Belzoni found the tomb?
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

I don't know--but Belzoni pulled on the hair. As for heads with long hair, which Belzoni claimed for the ladies, there is the last plate in Smith and Dawson's "Egyptian Mummies", published around 1924, I think. The plate is the woodcut of the head of a female mummy with long dark hair and beautiful teeth but whose face is not well-preserved at all. Unfortunately, no information is given about the mummy in the picture. Where did it come from and where is it now? Elliot Smith, at least, was professor of anatomy at Cairo University and well-known at the Museum, as well. He examined the dead royalty of ancient Egypt and wrote the more famous book "The Royal Mummies", published in 1912.
I have never seen a photograph of a mummy that resembled the head in Smith's second book and I wonder if it was not something salvaged from KV21 long after Belzoni's visit.

Anonymous said...

Ryan's account of the condition in which he found KV21 makes sad reading. From reading Belzoni, it seems clear the mummies were naked but intact, though given the hair came loose when he touched it suggests one of them was less well preserved than the other. The tomb seems to have been cleared of everything of value, including wood. He does mention one large intact jar at the top of the staircase as having a hieroglyphic inscription, but its fate is unknown.Belzoni left the tomb in good order but the vandalism probably happened around the time some "person" wrote ME 1826 on the wall.
The un-named female mummy you mention, is it the one that some have conjectured is Queen Tausert?CJB

Marianne Luban said...

No, it's not the putative Tausret. Her mummy is well-known to me and, besides, her hair does not hang down but is upswept in curls and ringlets. The face is quite well-preserved.

Anonymous said...

Re Marianne and unknown mummy head:-This is intriguing. I have a book called "Faces of the Pharaohs" by Robert Partridge. There is a late 18th Dynasty mummy from the Deir el Bahri Cache that was found in a re-used coffin base that bore vestiges of the name Bakt. Partridge seems doubtful that the mummy and the owner of the coffin are one and the same person. The head of this mummy is apparently detached and most of the facial skin is missing. There is hair remaining on the head, though from your description of the woodcut, I think it is too short. The molars are well preserved. I doubt this is the one you describe, but its estimated date suggest it is worth considering it for any future DNA analysis.
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Wow--here's an original hardcover copy of "Egyptian Mummies" going for about $400 US dollars. It's worth a look as it is rather beautifully bound:

http://www.find-a-book.com/db/book1585_17034.html

Paperback copies are cheap and plentiful.

Anonymous said...

Four Hundred Dollars! That would buy an awful lot of new books even at today's inflated Euro/Dollar/Pound prices. Though it has to be said, the original Davis volumes had attractive bindings.
CJB

Patricck said...

"Royal Mummies" is online at:
http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/eos/eos_title.pl?callnum=DT57.C2_vol59

Marianne Luban said...

Take a look here

http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=5919

for some very interesting DNA claims by someone I know to be a reliable source. It seems Zink and Pusch have decided Unknown Man E is, indeed, a son of Ramesses III. Anyone care to look for an official report?

rymerster said...

This is from a documentary on the Science Channel in the USA that is currently being aired:
http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=48.16352.26139.38907.x

I've looked around for a UK broadcast date but haven't been successful.

Anonymous said...

Re Unknown Man E: Bob Brier has written an article for ARCHAEOLOGY the journal of the Archaeological Institute of America (April 2006) on this. He suggests that he might be the prince that attempted to murder Ramesses III. Smith thought the mummy might have belonged to the 18th Dynasty, but if the man has been DNA tested (?), presumably Smith was wrong and Bob Brier's suggestion is correct. There is also the mummy of an unknown woman who was buried without the usual embalming procedures: might she be the "prince's" mother?
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Which woman do you mean? Oh, boy--I certainly don't like this business of dissemination of information via documentary without proper publication. I didn't watch the documentary, either, because I don't get that channel on my cable hookup. However, I can also understand where the microbiologists doing the DNA testing are coming from. Look at the reaction from their peers after the JAMA article! If people don't believe what you accomplished can be done, what is the point of subjecting oneself to such criticism all over again? I think the JAMA article could have been better in some aspects, but I have no doubt that DNA study of ancient remains is possible.

Anonymous said...

What is that expression? Publish and be damned. They need to publish the percentage of certainty: are they more than sixty percent certain or less? If less, the possibilities for error are not acceptable.
I must apologise for making a mistake about the unknown woman: two pages of my book had not been separated so I was reading the wrong information. The body is that of Sitkamose (Cairo Mus Cat No 61063). Speaking of unknown female mummies, have DNA tests been applied to "Tausert" does anyone know?
CJB

Stephanie said...

@ CJB:
In your most recent comment you speak of the percentage of certainty.
Does this correspond with the "majority rule" which
apparently is applied in the testing of ancient DNA?
In this article written by Jo Marchant

http://www.decodingtheheavens.com/blog/post/2011/01/20/Is-pharaoh-DNA-for-real.aspx

the researchers Zink and Pusch address this problem. They say that for example a 30fold testing of the same locus might yield 18 times the same result, meaning that this result would be accepted as valid.
They go on to say that this use of the majority rule is the reason behind their reluctance to share the raw data of the study because they fear to spark a debate with their peers.
If this rule or percentage of certainty is a broadly accepted practice then why should they withhold the raw data?
One comes to think that they are trying to hide something.
Maybe they didn`t get a proper majority of results in many of the tests?

Anonymous said...

Stephanie and others: Any idea what a court of law would accept in, for example, a paternity/maternity case? If it is higher than what is being discovered with ancient DNA tests, there is a problem. When I followed up a link of Marianne's concerning DNA from (modern) hair follicles, the probabilty of success from one laboratory was given as 85% or more.
CJB

Marianne Luban said...

CJB, I haven't had time to look up your question as to what per centage is accepyable in court but, when it comes to the royals of the family of Tutankhamun, there is already a built-in problem and that is incest. Even in DNA paternity tests involving modern subjects many more loci would have to be examined in order, for example, to distinguish between a man and his brother being the father of a child than the ones looked at in standard paternity determination. By the same token, I feel sure that Zink and Pusch looked at many more markers than is needed for the ordinary paternity test because some of them may have come up doubtful.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is possible to approach this from another angle? It is fair to assume that Amenhotep III, "KV55", and Tutankhamen died within a 30 year timespan. If their DNA deteriorated at a constant rate after death, could this deterioration have been of the same quantity for all three? If so, they will all reflect the same changes. If this constant could be demonstrated to be the case, then comparisons would seem to be valid.
I have not yet had a chance to follow it up yet, but I came across a referenceto an expert on ancient DNA called Dr. Yang. When I have time tonight,I shall try to see what he has to say.
CJB

Patrick said...

All this is very interesting, but what we need is more hard data presented in a proper, scientific manner - e.g. the mtDNA promised in the JAMA paper, a wider study of the New Kingdom Royal mummies, and the full CT scan results. Anything else is mere speculation or (in the case of many sources for our information) politically- or commercially-inspired manipulation. I personally find it simply frustrating to be fed (dis-)information in this way.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I agree with Marianne that the big issue is consanguinity within the royal family. It changes the probabilities. I suspect it wasn't taken into account in the JAMA paper, but we don't know because the authors didn't set out how they calculated probabilities, or even their assumptions.

Kate Phizackerley said...

@CJB - I don't think that comparing rates of degradation of DNA is likely. If nothing else, the conditions of the tombs were very different. I think that there is some evidence that Tutankhamun's tomb might originally have been damp, but generally it has been dry. I contrast, KV55 was very damp. That is likely to affect rates of deterioration - hot and damp probably being much worse than just hot.

That said, I think there is information in the deterioration which might be useful, but I am not ready to share my thoughts yet.

I also agree with Patrick - we need the source data.

Stephanie said...

In an online interview Carsten Pusch revealed that once the y- and mtDNA data has been successfully established the Egyptian government/parliament will decide on if and what is to be published.

It is a shame that science is subjected so openly to politics and this certainly doesn`t give much hope that we see all of the relevant data.

NECHOII said...

Does anyone know where I can view or obtain a copy of the SCIENCE CHANNEL'S documentary on the ultra sound that was done on the body of RAMSES III ?! The ultrasound showed that RAMSES III had his throat cut.
The program was called RAMESSES III : MUMMY KING MYSTERY.

Stephanie said...

I could not get my hands on that show either.
It was aired in the U.S. but apparently not in the UK.

Here is a link to the Science Channel`s site which is supposed to let us watch the show online. It did not work for me because the Rameses show is not on the drop down list from which a programme has to be selected.

http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=48.16352.26139.38907.x

Anyway, try it and if you happen to be luckier than me please let me know :).

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