Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, February 17, 2011

With thanks to Geoff Carterm this BBC Radio 7 broadcast might interest.  It is billed as "Professor Aubrey Manning travels to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt to unearth the mystery behind Tomb 55."  I've not had time to listen myself.  As it is on BBC iPlayer I suspect that it is limited to the UK, but I guess you could try.

Update: it is believed that it is accessible anywhere in Europe


John Bright said...

As it is radio and therefore does not need a licence, you can listen to Radio 4 i-player from Europe. Who is Professor Aubrey Manning? Has he done any research (published) on KV55 that places him in a position to speak authoritatively?

Geoff Carter said...

My mistake;it was on BBC Radio 7, and was first broadcast on radio 4 Jan 2009.

Aubrey Manning is the host, the contributers include Nicholas Reeves.

Patrick said...

I've just listened to the programme, which is available via Internet on Radio 7 under the title 'Unearthing Mysteries', listed under 'Factual'. True, it was first broadcast on Radio 7 in January 2009, but is probably somewhat older (it ignores Fyler's study, for example, and has the gold foil still in Munich).It's mainly quite unobjectionable, and covers the main ground, with one or two lesser known details (e.g. the marks on the wall left by Tiye's shrine,indicating it was never assembled there).It includes contributions from Lyla Pinch-Brock, Reeves, James Allen, a lady from the Cairo museum whose name I didn´t catch, Dr.Connolly from Liverpool University on the physical remains, and the curator of Munich museum.

John Bright said...

It can be heard from France and made for interesting listening. 2009 and the people at Munich have been sitting on important information since 1980: by any standards, that is unacceptable. Fawzia Hussein was the name of the person from Cairo speaking about the age at death. Her conclusion was a high age of 35-ish, while Professor Connolly's was for a much younger age of 18-22. So the experts continue to disagree. One point I would take issue with is the statement that the shrine was never assembled. It was and the marks on the wall are where the large side panel slid down the wall as it deteriorated through the ingress of water. Also the mummy was still within the lower box. It was the lid that had been dislodged, apparently by a chunk of rock falling from the roof.Arthur Weigall had the bones soaked in paraffin wax and sent to Elliot-Smith. The first modern person into the tomb chamber was the young boy sent over the shrine panel to see what lay beyond. Nicholas Reeves has been proposing an entry into the tomb during the reign of Ramesses IX since the Eighties. This does not take into account references to the workers' huts being found above the tomb nor the layer of clean flood deposits found under the huts. Nevertheless it was very comprehensive programme and one worth hearing again.

Patrick said...

The programme dates from 1999, when the coffin base and gold foil had just arrived in Munich; since 2002 they have been back in Cairo, after thorough restoration by the Germans. Officially, the only name of which at least traces had been seen in Munich was that of Akhenaten; privately, at least three 'respected' Egyptologists, who prefer to remain anonymous, saw that of Smenkhkare. This generated some acrimony when it was aired on the EEF forum in a thread I opened last year on the gold foil. I find the idea that the mark on the wall was caused by the shrine slipping downwards more convincing than Pinch-Brock's theory that the shrine was not assembled but just leant against the wall. The coffin could also have split open when the cow-bed on which it was placed collapsed.

Marianne Luban said...

I was able to listen to it in the US. I also enjoyed hearing the rendition of "Oy, Marie" that came before. Nothing new, but Smenkhkare being none other than Nefertiti is a bit much for me. James Allen, who was part of the program, convinced me long ago that they were two separate persons by his arguments. I am convinced that it was Meritaten, though, who ended up burying Akhenaten in the KV55 coffin. He was supposed to be its occupant. In the first line of text on the foot of the coffin, which originally had been a recitation by a wife of Akhenaten to her husband, the text was changed to "my father, Ra-Horakhte". This was how Meritaten referred to her father on a statue base that had belonged to her, "my father Ra-Horakhte in his personification of Shu". On this same base, the name of Nefertiti had been erased for some unknown reason. In my opinion, then, the text, with its changes, becomes a dialogue between daughter and deceased father.

Now on page 169 of his "Complete Tutankhamun", Nick Reeves makes a list of heirlooms from KV62, the tomb of Tut. Among them are "mummy bands" from "Ankhkheperure", reused. Ankhkheperure was the throne name of Smenkhkare--and maybe some woman. There were also canopic coffinettes from "Neferneferuaten", reinscribed. These are surely from a woman because this one was "
beneficial to her husband" in the inscriptions. And the coffinette heads wear the vulture emblem of Nekhbet, anathema in Amarna. Why did these people lose this stuff--not really heirlooms? Illegal kings--or a woman who stepped down from a regency. I can't see another explanation. Why give to Tut funerary items from persons who ruled with maat and deserved to keep them for their own burials?

John Bright said...

Marianne, have you read Sue Moseley's book called Amarna: The Missing Evidence? There is a whole chapter on the existence, or not, of Smenkhkare. What does not seem to be in doubt is the existence of two rulers called Ankh-Khepru-Re or Ankhet-Khepru-Re. One is apparently male, the other female. The female may be Nefertiti as ruling queen. The idea of Nefertiti ruling Egypt has had some support in the past from people such as Julia Samson and Joann Fletcher among others. It echoes an earlier discussion on these pages about Manetho's "Acencheres".
With regard to Tutankhamen's burial equipment, we do not know if that of othere pharaohs showed similar borrowings or use of heirlooms because it did not survive. Also, some of this would have been made for Tutankhaten and changed to Tutankhamen. One of the coffinettes was at Basel and to me it did not look to be a separate item from the remainder of the burial suite: after all, it was all Amarna style with modifications. Some of Nicholas Reeves' assertions in The Complete Tutankhamen are unique to that volume.
To me, what still echoes in my mind is the tantalising comments from Munich and I repeat what I wrote earlier that it is not acceptable that this museum seems to have sat on information since the Eighties.

Patrick said...

John, please see my previous post. Munich did not sit on information. It acquired the coffin base and the foils in the late 90's, restored them at its own expense, exhibited them and published its findings in the exhibition handbook (e.g. that it could only find traces of the name Akhenaten). The bits and pieces were then sent off to Cairo in
2002. Independently, 'respected Egyptologists' who had had access to the items declared privately that they had seen the name Smenkhkare.
Smenkhkare, by the way, existed; his name is all over the place.
And, if we're going to take Manetho as the basis of our research, I'm going to take up pigeon-fancying!

John Bright said...

Did these anonymous (why if they are real Egyptologists do they remain anonymous?) scholars see Ankhkheprure or Smenkhkare?
As to the name being all over the place, again is this Ankhkheprure?

Re, Manetho, yes it is garbled but there are accuracies contained within it. If Sir Alan Gardiner and Cyril Aldred among others have made use of the information, I would not discount its value.

In Ayrton's report, the bed has lion's heads. Arthur Weigall should take credit for observing the shrine was being disassembled and removed from the chamber. However, Weigall created some confusion in his description of the blocking to the entrance. With regard to the shrine panel slipping down the wall, if the photos are studied carefully, heaps of gold foil can be seen at its base where, presumably they fell after peeling off.The wood seems to be streaked with white deposits. However, not all the foil fell away and it was possible to see the lower legs of Akhnaten and Tiye along with parts of offering tables. This suggests the possibility that this panel was not defaced unlike the smaller end panel that was lying on the floor. Just to confuse matters though, it is stated that on the doors only Tiyes image could be seen: what a pity no photos were taken to show this! One final point that was picked up was that the tomb was well cut and plastered. This is in contrast to the chamber in KV63 for example or the corridors in KV35.

Patrick said...

Hi, John, I'm afraid this is turning into a private conversation! Thanks for the info on the sliding panel.
Both Smenkhkare's own name and (more so) Ankhkheperure's are littered across Amarna and other sites (lots of representations in the Petrie Museum, for example).It's not always clear if the Ankhkheperure in question is always Smenkhkare or Neferneferuaten.
Personally, I think the evidence in the tomb does not support the idea that they tried to removfe the shrine, rather that they used panels from it to slide stuff over the rubble. And, indeed, 'What a pity!' is a frequent exclamation when reading about Davis's excavation of KV55 and how it was described later.After reading what Weigall said about golden mummy bands around the body, I'm not sure I trust him either!

John Bright said...

Patrick, there is an interesting book by a lady called Sue Moseley. Amarna: The Missing Evidence. It is a quite personal account of her researches and ideas, but she devotes a whole chapter to Smenkhkare and items bearing that name. I found it interesting reading but I have not had the time (yet) to follow up what she said. It is worth reading and I found it provoked a lot of comment: both in agreement and disagreement.
Arthur Weigall made many of his comments on KV55 some years after the discovery. His remarks have led to confusion about the entrance wall and as for the mummy bands! Were they a cartonnage case like on Yuya and Thuya or were they sheets of gold? If the former, that seems at variance with the Davis book. If the latter, are they the lining from the underside of the lid? They were reported as lost but in the Tutankamen DNA documentary, they appeared from the Cairo Museum basement.
One of the many intriguing points about the find was the number of seals that were reported with the name of Tutankhamen. It seems rather like finding items in KV62 with the seal of Ay, or seals with Horemheb's name in Ay's tomb. I don't think that it has been explained fully. (But then what has about KV55?)


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