Women Crush Wednesday: Amenhotep

Why don’t we talk about a more recent find? In 2017, the tomb of a goldsmith and his wife was found in Thebes. Let me introduce you to Amenhotep (and I know, I will explain her name)!

Life

Since this is such a recent discovery, we still don’t know a lot about the goldsmith’s wife. But we know that she lived during the 18th dynasty and was the wife of a royal goldsmith, Amenemhat. Her name was Amenhotep, which is usually a male name. But throughout their tomb, she is titled the Lady of the House, and there is a statue depicting her as a woman. So this just seems to be a unique case for the male name given to a woman.

She had at least one son, who is depicted on a statue in her tomb. She may have had a second son, as another adult was found in the tomb. As a royal goldsmith, they would have lived certainly well-off, but most likely not in the noble class.

Although the female mummy has not been positively identified as that of Amenhotep, this woman most likely died in her 50s. There was also evidence of abscesses on the jaw of this mummy, which indicates a bone infection caused by cavities and may have contributed to her death.

Tomb

The tomb was discovered in the courtyard of another tomb in Dra Abu el-Naga, a cemetery in western Thebes. This leads to a square chamber with a niche. Inside the niche is a damaged statue of Amenemhet and Amenhotep. As you can see from the photos, conservators have preserved the niche and the statue with tan-colored plaster.

Between the legs of the husband-and-wife statue is a small boy, presumably their son. This is very unique as a daughter is typically portrayed between the legs of her parents. And when a family doesn’t have a daughter, it is usually a daughter-in-law depicted. So this is a very unique family portrait.

Two burial shafts were found in the tomb. The first contained the suspected remains of Amenhotep and her sons. These mummies were unwrapped and skeletonized, indicating that the tomb was probably looted.

The second shaft held multiple skeletons and sarcophagi from the 21st and 22nd Dynasties. Funerary masks, potter, over 150 shabtis, and 50 funerary cones were also found in the tomb.

You can check out a video of the tomb here!

Sources

https://mummipedia.fandom.com/wiki/Amenhotep_(Goldsmith%27s_Wife)

https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/09/africa/egypt-luxor-ancient-tomb/index.html

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/egypt-goldsmith-tomb-1.4284031

https://www.archaeology.org/news/5905-170911-egypt-goldsmith-tomb

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-kingdom-goldsmiths-tomb-discovered-egypt-180964840/

Image Sources

Pottery, tomb entrance, skeletons, shabtis – Bronte Lord/CNN

Skeletons, mask, and statue – Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press

Lots of photos – https://www.livescience.com/60363-photos-ancient-goldsmith-tomb-egypt.html

Statue – https://www.rt.com/news/402619-egypt-ancient-goldsmith-tomb-luxor/

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