Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, November 09, 2010

This dates to June but somehow I missed posting the link, sorry.  I was Googling for R Paul's photos of KV55 when it was opened in 1907 just now and came across it.


John Bright said...

In Egyptian Archaeology, Autumn 2000, there is an article by Joyce Filer on the KV55 human remains. She concludes that the bones exhibit an age of a young male of 23 to 25 years. This is quite a thorough examination. What is to be made of this age is, of course, open to discussion. It would suggest, though, they are too young to be Akhnaten's though.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago, a carbon 14 dating was done on the Turin Shroud which appeared to confound many long-held views as to its age. However, the process was invalid as it did not take into account that the cloth had been contaminated by smoke and washing in the Middle Ages. With the KV55 bones, there has been no mention that Arthur Weigall soaked them in paraffin wax to preserve them. While I appreciate the people involved in the Tutankamen DNA tests were very well qualified, I somehow have the impression the results were a foregone conclusion. Were adequate control samples tested? How is it possible to tell if a person is a father or a brother? The age at death is no guarantee that the older person is the father. So, KV55 remains unidentified except he was a he and was closely related to Tutankhamen........ but we knew this already!

Stephanie said...

One must acknowledge that the involved scientists themselves use careful language when describing the test results.
It was stated for example that the alleged parents-children-relationships were determined by establishing the trios which formed the "most likely" father-mother-child constellations. So even they leave a little room for alternative interpretations.
KV55 is also said to be "most likely" Akhenaten.
Only in the press, in interviews and TV-shows it all comes across as the only undisputable truth.
This is mainly due to deliberate distortion of information made by the head of the SCA but also due to many journalists who indulge in presenting negative headlines such as incest.

John Bright said...

KV55 is, and perhaps will remain a puzzle. As Stephanie says, the "spin" that certain people place on the "might have beens" ignore that they are also "might not have beens". I think that stripped of all speculation, the KV55 find looks most like a robbed tomb that has not been tidied. As for the body, having re-read Joyce Filer's account, I cannot see that there have been advances in medical knowledge since she made it that would negate her comments. This leaves the body as a 20-25 year old male. To my mind that is too young to be Akhnaten as he is acknowledged to have been king for 17 years. I also seem to recall that in one of the Amarna letters he was referred to as Amenhotep III's eldest son.So, eldest son, king for 17 years and father of 6 daughters by Nefertiti, that would suggest he would have been at least in his mid-thirties when he died (Even if his first daughter was born as soon as he could have become a father at, for example, an age of 13 to 14, and he was king a year or two later, we stiil arrive at a death age of at least 31).

sokar said...

I see nothing new here. She misses, or at least does not comment on, KV-55 as Tut's father. The DNA evidence does seem to support that regardless of the identity of KV-55.

Marianne Luban said...

It is interesting that Akhenaten received a correspondence from a foreign king mentioning "your sons", but we're not sure to this day if he had any. This was part of a greeting, including "may they be well" and may have included some assumptions on the part of the foreign king. On the other hand, if Akhenaten really had no sons, it seems to me that this would have been known, as that was something that put any man, let alone a king, at a disadvantage.

This is off-topic, but have a look at my blog for a post on the predicted DNA of Moses. Interesting-- if no spectacular revelations.

John Bright said...

The DNA evidence seems to support a close relationship, but is it between father and son or brother and brother?
If Akhnaten had any male offspring, would they have remained unknown? It is disappointing that the surviving portions of the Sakkara tomb of Tutamkhamen's nurse do not indicate parentage.

John Bright said...

It seems a pity this debate was overtaken by the Moses DNA red herring. Given the findings that one of the bodies from KV21 is related to the two stillborn children buried in KV62, has this research been taken a stage further to find out if:
A. The KV21 female is related to Tutankhamen.
B. The KV21 female is related to KV55.
Perhaps the two females from KV35 should also be included. I assume no further samples need to be taken to undertake this.

John Bright said...

I meant also to mention the second body in KV21. The report I read made no mention of any findings concerning this. I assume this means no link to the two children was found, but was any other link discovered? The two bodies may have no connection and their presence together could just be a coincidence: the result of the dismantling of the burials in The Valley. On the other hand, if they were buried together, this would suggest a relationship (not perhaps a blood one, possibly one based on power).

Kate Phizackerley said...

The second KV21 mummy is in poor condition and the team struggled to resolve much DNA. As to whether they are related to Tut or KV55 they are probably not daughters. (That might be a certainty but I would need to recheck the DNA.) Sisters is harder to tell as it relies on knowing the parents but KV21A is not a daughter of the presumedAmenhotep III and Tiye.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I quickly jumped on the laptop to access the DNA table published in JAMA and (ignoring inferences as a putative parent of the foetuses), KV21A:
- can be the daughter of any of the mummies other than Yuya, Thuya and the Elder Lady (Tiye).
- KV21A cannot be the daughter of KV55 *and* the Younger Lady (although she can be the daugher of just one of them)
- Indeed, KV21A, as I have said before, must be a daughter/granddaughter/niece etc of Tuya through a relationship which doesn't involve any of the other tested mummies.

We know less about KV21B. For instance, she could be the daughter of any of the mummies other than KV21A and Yuya, although again most pairings don't work.

We really could do with the publication of the mtDNA to narrow things down further. I would also like to see the SRY results published.

John Bright said...

That, to put it mildly, leaves the field open to lots of different interpretations. It is interesting to note she could be a daughter of either KV55 or KV35 (younger) but not both. Does this preclude her being their sister then? (It is a pity this has moved away from the sphere of Egyptology: it was hard enough having to learn Greek and then Hieroglyphics but to have to be a medical expert is one step too far!) I seem to recall some bone remnants were discovered in Horemheb's tombs both at Thebes and at Memphis. Dr. Martin assumed the fragments at Memphis were the last remnants of Horemheb's wife or possibly wives. These suggest themselves as further candidates for teasting if they still exist. The bones from KV57 have not been referred to for a long time.

Stephanie said...

The bones supposed to be the remains of Horemheb`s wife mutnedjemet seem to have gone missing and therefore cannot be tested. At least this is what Hawass tells us about them in his Discovery Channel show.

Regading the KV21 mummies I think it is clear from the data that they belong to the royal family but they also show some "exotic" alleles which might have come onto them via the Nefertiti-line.

One additional factor of uncertainty is that both KV21A and B could be mother of both fetuses. None of their obtained alleles excludes either of them.
I think the only reason why usually KV21A is put forward as potential mother is that she has yielded a bit more data than 21B ( 2 alleles more to be exact) which makes her appear to be the likelier mother.

John Bright said...

Stephanie, thanks for the information regarding the possible remains of Horemheb's wife. Given the care expended on the excavation, it seems unjust that they should have gone missing.Perhaps they will miraculously re-appear like the gold foil from KV55 in time for some future TV documentary! With regard to the bones from KV57, I recall John Romer describing anonymous boxes in the Cairo Museum store that came from the Davis excavations. I wonder if they might be in those. From what you say, the KV21 investigations have produce data that is ambivalent to say the least.


Admin Control Panel