Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, February 16, 2012

I have been reading the Theodore Davis report / catalogue on the tombs we now know as KV57 and KV54, Horemheb and the Tutankhamun embalming cache. Davis thought the latter was actually the tomb of Toutankhamun.

I'm puzzled. The catalogue lists I think three or four pieces of gold leaf found in the tomb with reference to King Ay. In most he is King and his name is in a cartouche, suggesting I guess that he was an official mourner.  Item 4 though has a reference to "The Divine Father Ay".   This is not in a cartouche but is associated with a high official stood before Tutankhamun and carrying a fan.

So whose father was he and what made him divine before he took the throne? Maybe the glyphs were mistranslated?  Sorry, I don't have answers but am asking questions here. Am I missing something because to be a divine father wouldn't he need to be the father of a Pharaoh?

Reference: The Tombs of Harmhabi and Touatânkhamanou, Theodore M Davis, 1912 - reprinted, Duckworth p128


Marianne Luban said...

"it nTr" appears to indicate a mentor of a king. In the Hebrew Bible, the kings call the prophets "father", as well. "it nTr" was once thought to mean "father-in-law" of a pharaoh but that has now been set aside. However, that can't mean an "it nTr" could not be a king's father-in-law.

Patrick said...

Good to hear you're reading about KV54, Kate. I can't find the book online, unfortunately. Is there anything there about wine-jar dockets? One would expect them to be from year 9, but possibly The Great Theodore didn't bother to check!

Anonymous said...

Father of the god is a priestly title. It was defined as the father in law of the pharaoh when referring to Ay in the 1940s or 50s. If it simply means a priestly title, it would seem surprising Ay clung to it for so long.
Sir Alan Gardiner
OUP 1963 page 238
refers to the Davis finds and gives an interpretation.
I assume there is no chance whatsoever of Ay being the father of KV35YL?
The photos of KV57 as it was found make a profound impression because of the apparent shambles in which the tomb had been left and the damage caused by the collapsed ceilings. Arthur Weigall gives an account of the discovery in a "popular book" called
THE GLORY OF THE PHARAOHS Butterworth Press, London 1923. This also contains an account of the discovery of KV55.

Stephanie said...

Kate, do you mean the cache KV54 when you say "the tomb" where the gold foil came from?
I had not heard of gold foil coming from the pit by now or from KV57 either for that matter. AFAIK the only golden item among the embalming materials and floral collars was the one little mask.
Besides the time of Tut`s burial would have been quite early days for Aye to have his cartouches displayed on items covered with gold foil.
I suppose this is the gold foil that has been recovered from the "gold tomb" KV58 which could have been used as a temporary storage facility by the tomb robbers.
Is KV58 also included in Davis` report?

Anonymous said...

My apologies: I forgot to sign my previous piece. I did a bit of digging about who first interpreted the phrase Divine Father/ Father of the god as father-in-law of the pharaoh. I had assumed it was Cyril Aldred in his book on Akhnaten, but checking that, it was Ludwig Borchardt in the early 1900s. So the idea is older than I thought.
Stephanie makes a good point about which tomb we are discussing. Some of the gold foil pieces are said by Nicholas Reeves to be parts of a chariot harness that probably came from Ay's burial when it was being dismantled. His argument is that KV57 was another cache along the lines of KV35 and cites the remains of multiple burials and the garlands of flowers found by Davis's team as evidence. Weigall concludes that there was a minimum of 4 bodies in the tomb based on the presence of 4 skulls. I wonder where they are? CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Brunner, H. 1961, Der "Gottesvater" als Erzieher des Kronprinzen ["The god's father as the mentor of the crown prince] ZĂ„S 86: 90-100

Within the past couple of years there was a lengthy discussion of this title, "it nTr" on the EEF where it was shown that "father-in-law of the god" was the last thing the title could stand for.

Anonymous said...

Father-in-law of the god: I've not seen that phrase before.
The Theban Mapping Project website has a set of the Davis photos of KV57 if anyone does not have the book. In Weigall's account, he says they had to leave the lower part of the tomb as the air quality was bad.He makes the point that the shaft in which Professor Martin found the wine jar dockets (were they dockets or parts of the jars with inscriptions?) was partially filled with debris and chippings. So much so, they only needed a short ladder to climb down and back up the other side.

Kate Phizackerley said...

I am pretty sure we are talking about KV54. This is how Theodore Davis describes it "The following year in digging to the north of Harmhabi's tomb, we came upon signs of another ... at the depth of 25 feet we found a room filled almost to the top with dried mud ... We found a broken box containing several pieces of gold leaf"

It is those pieces of gold leaf which have the inscriptions of both Tutankhamun and Ay

Kate Phizackerley said...


The skulls from KV57 were sent to the Cairo museum but cannot presently be located / identified. Who knows, the complete inventory the museum is undertaking may locate them.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks Marianne, that is helpful

Ay's use of the title seems to date back to his time at Akhetaten - and was used in his tomb there it seems so it was a long-standing title.

Anonymous said...

John Romer spoke of boxes in the Cairo Museum store labelled "Kings' Valley" (followed by a year) that were from the Davis excavations. I have always hoped the collection of bones might be in there. With modern techniques, it might be possible to establish if they were related to known or identified mummies. One worry concerning KV57 is that items were looted during the clearance and found their way onto the antiquities market. What price, I wonder, would a pharaoh's skull have fetched? I visited KV57 in the early nineties but I understand that since then it has been closed for the installation of screens to protect the paintings, and wooden walkways laid. Given Horemheb probably may have reigned for a longer period than Seti 1, the contrast between the two tombs state of completion is puzzling.
If you are still looking for more information on KV58,
Nicholas Reeves
THE COMPLETE VALLEY OF THE KINGS Thames and Hudson, London 1996 page 186
has a short section devoted to it.

Stphanie said...

I don`t want to appear stubborn but I think the gold foil can only stem from KV 58 which is situated just to the north of KV57 and which Davis mistook to be Tutankhamun`s tomb. I have double-checked with the Theban Mapping Project and other reports, there was apparently no gold foil in KV54. If Davis talks of an uninscribed calcite shabti from the "gold tomb" it is dfinitely KV58.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Nothing wrong with being stubborn, because I think you are probably right. There's something very, very odd here.

Anonymous said...

To clarify: KV54 was the cache of materials that were originally stred in the corridor of KV62 and consisted of jars fille with the remains of the funerary feast, floral collars, embalming leftovers and the head mask from the mummy of one of the foetuses. Most of the find lay in the Davis excavation house until Herbert Winlock purchased it for the Met and took it to New York where it was properly examined.The argument for its existence is that the material was moved there after the first robbery to KV62 and the filling of the corridor with chippings.KV 54 is simply a pit above the tomb of Seti 1.

KV58 was a shaft and chamber tomb to the north of KV57 which Reeves thinks might have once served as a store for work on KV57. It was filled with chippings and debris amongst which the gold foil was found screwed up into balls. The foil is thought to have come from a chariot harness belonging to Ay. The argument here is that the material came from Ay's tomb when the burials were dismantled. Before anyone leaps in, I know he was buried in the West Valley, if the argument has a flaw, this is it.
PS There are some interesting words coming up as verification entries!!!

Anonymous said...

I've just noticed there was a special exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum last year of the materials associated with KV54 and the funeral feast. I haven't been able to check for this, but I assume there would have been a guidebook. CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Wiki has a gallery of images from KV54

including a vase of a quite elegant design.

Kate Phizackerley said...

If the vase is the one I think it is - it was found in the rubble outside the tomb which just adds to the confusion as to the history

Marianne Luban said...

Something I think is odd is the tiny cartonnage mask found in KV54. Nicholas Reeves writes:

"...Support for this conclusion is provided by a comparison with the gilded-gesso "casque" from the smaller of the two foetuses in the tomb of Tut`ankhamun (KV62): it and the mask J 39711 are virtually (p. 83) identical. We can now see that it was this similarity which had prompted Carter to suggest the intended employment of the KV54 mask: it had originally been prepared for the larger of the KV62 foetuses, but, "owing to its being too small to fit over the head", had never been so employed."

If that mask really was made to fit over the mummified form of the foetus--when did that baby die? If it had died--or rather never been born--sometime previous to the death of Tutankhamun, then surely there would have been time to make another and there would have been no reason for the mask to find its way into the refuse of KV54. However, if the tiny life had ended at the same time as the demise of Tutankhamun--or even after the fact--then that seems to me to be a different story.

Anonymous said...

The two masks are finished differently. The one from KV62 is gilded. That from KV54 is painted. There is a description of the latter in:-
William C. Hayes
New York 4th Ed.1990
Pages 302-303
Fig.189 p. 304
Hayes makes the point that the mask is of the type used to place over the mummified viscera. Nicholas Reeves
London 1992
echoes this point.Unlike Reeves, Hayes does not connect the mask with the baby's mummy. Reeves, though, describes the gilded mask found in KV62 as too big for its mummy while that found in KV54 was too small for the other. Badly fitting funerary items are not unique. One of Maiherpri's coffins was the wrong size and was left in the middle of his tomb. Tutankamen's outer coffin was too big for the stone sarcophagus and needed some chopping down to size. The jambs in Merneptah's tomb were too narrow to allow the ingress of his sarcophagus and had to be trimmed. So the fact that someone might have made a mistake with the cartonnage mask is no real surprise. However, it does make you wonder where the babies were kept before Tutankhamen's death. Perhaps that is why some tombs seem to have had small shaft tombs accompanying them to act as storechambers. CJB

Marianne Luban said...

Both of the little masks are gilded. There was a discussion on the EEF about them and, while I don't have a link to that, this post on a different forum echoes it:

The painted mask was wrongfully attributed. I comes from a different tomb. Yes, of course, there were errors and problems attached to ancient Egyptian burials but my point was--why discard that little mask, due to its not fitting the tiny mummy--just at the time of the burial of Tutankhamun? Had the mask been found not to fit at a previous date, it would probably not have been placed into KV54 and another would have been made for the corpse of the baby that did fit. It appears to me that the larger baby was mummified at the same time as Tutankhamun and it was decided to simply discard the mask and place the little one in KV62 without one. Too much to do at once. As for the other child--who knows?

Anonymous said...

Kate: at the start of this thread you mentioned you found the references confusing. I spent a couple of frustrating hours trying to find out what is correct about KV54. There are so many claims and counter claims I hate to admit it but I gave up with the internet. I have written a letter (a good old fashioned one, not an e-mail) to the Met. Egyptology Department asking for their help. I hope they reply. CJB

Marianne Luban said...

CJB, I think what is confusing you is the reliance on outdated sources--such as "The Scepter of Egypt", which is from the 1950's. People have gone over this stuff from older excavations, the field notes [if one had the luck to have any] with a fine tooth comb since then--such as Martha Bell and her "Armchair Excavation of KV55" and made some new observations since the days of Davis and company. Nicholas Reeves is also a careful scholar and that URL I pointed you to in my last post contained the reference to his paper. So I really don't see what is so confusing about that--but I hope you get a response from the Met for your trouble.

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