Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, September 03, 2010

It's well known that I do not believe that the mummy from KV55 is Akhenaten based on DNA evidence, but there is another reason why I doubt it.  Where is Meketaten?

Meketaten was the second daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.  She died very young (possibly as young as 12 or 13), probably in childbirth, and was buried in the Royal Tomb at Akhetaten (Amarna).  We know that from tomb reliefs.  It is also accepted that Akhenaten was buried in the Royal Tomb as well.  (It is unclear where Nefertiti was buried, or indeed when.  If she died before Akehenaten then she was probably laid to rest in the Royal Tomb.)  If the mummy of Akhenaten was transferred from Amarna to the Valley of the Kings then presumably the mummy of Meketaten would have been transferred as well.  So why isn't she in KV55 with her father? 

The answer to that must be that Tutankhamun separated the two mummies and placed Meketaten in a different tomb.  That seems unlikely.  Why would he cut two tombs when one had been sufficient in Amarna?  The argument is probably that Akhenaten as a heretic and therefore had to be buried separately.  I really don't buy that argument though.  According to the Hawass theory, Akhenaten was Tutankhamun's father.  A young king;s grip on the throne has always been somewhat insecure.  If he had inherited through his father Akhenaten would his advisers really have wanted to denounce Akhenaten as a heretic who had to be buried separately?

I just cannot believe based on the circumstances of the time that the KV55 burial fits the political dynamic.  I believe that Akhenaten should be buried as part of a small family group.

8 comments:

tim said...

Hi Kate

It leaves one to wonder if there is an undiscovered royal tomb in the cliffs surrounding Akhetaten? I have no faith that the Kv55 remains are Akhenaten and it does appear that the various people who were probably buried in the "main" royal tomb at Akhetaten are unaccounted for in the present bunch.

Perhaps this could indicate a removal of these mummies and reburial in a lesser conspicuous tomb at tell el Amarna and not transferred back to the Valley of Kings.

Which is itself looking pretty picked clean these days?

Peace

Ken said...

I'm not sure about an undiscovered tomb around Amarna because Meketaten is really the only member of the family to die before Akhenaten. Surely if Meketaten and Akhenaten were removed from the royal tomb, there probably aren't any further tombs.

This brings us back to Kate's original question, however. I think this question can be asked about all of the princesses though. Let's assume that KV55 is Smenkhkare and KV21EL is Nefertiti and YL is Meritaten. Ankhesenamun was then buried as a queen somewhere near Ay, still leaving Setepenre, Neferneferure, and the various Tasherits in a tomb somewhere?

My point here is that is it possible that after Akhenaten's death, his mummy and Meket's were removed from the tomb and destroyed before Neferneferuaten/Smenkhkare/Tutankhamun could get them moved to the valley of the kings. Thoughts?

Kate Phizackerley said...

Akhetaten was probably abandoned during the reign of Smenkhare or Ankhkheprure Nefernefruaten, both of whom were probably private, if not public, Atenists. I think that they would have respected Akhenaten and would have wanted to ensure his mummy was secure.

Ken said...

It is interesting to me that you say that Neferneferuaten and Smenkhkare were ateninsts. Is there evidence for this? Assuming this is true, I like Meritaten as Ankhkheprure Nefernefruaten AND Tutankhamun's mother. Who better for Ahkenaten to trust (in the absence of a son, of course) with his dynasty and religion than his first daughter who essentially grew up with it.

So if it wasn't until Tutankhamun that the old ways were truely re-established, why did he do this? Ay and Horemheb whispering in his ear? Maybe then if he is Smenkhkare's son, perhaps Smenkhkare and Akhenaton were estranged, Smenkhkare seeing his brother as a heretic and instilling this in his son. To many possibilities and not enough information!

John Bright said...

Has anyone ever considered that Amenhotpe IV and Akhnaten might not be the same person? I know of no evidence or theories about this so I float the idea to see if there are any ideas?????

Kate Phizackerley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate Phizackerley said...

John
The more time I spend studying the Amarna period and its collapse the more I realise that the standard history includes all sorts of assumptions and it is genuinely hard to sort out which are based on facts. I think the identification of Akhenaten as Amenhotep IV is strong but I haven't reviewed the evidence ... yet.

Ron Lankshear said...

AIV has these names on
Ancient Egypt Pharaohs: Akhenaten
Nomen
Amenhotep Netjert Heka Iunu
Amen is satisfied, God-king of Heliopolis

Prenomen
Nefer Kheperu Re
Beatuiful are the manifestations of Re

Adopted name
Akhenaten
Servant of the Aten
I note there are several English spellings)

As it is universally excepted that AIV was Ak then I would assume he continued to use the Nomen etc

I would suggest to question if there were two rulers then the Nomen etc of Ak needs to be determined

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