Mummy Monday: Seti II

This week let’s take a look at another pharaoh from the 19th dynasty, Seti II!

Life

Seti II was the son of Pharaoh Merenptah and his wife Isetnofret II. He was probably born in the Lower Egyptian capital of Pi-Ramesses, where many of the kings of the 19th Dynasty ruled.

There was some contest for the throne when Merenptah died. Most likely, Seti II rose to the throne as his son, but during the fourth year of his reign, a man named Amenmesse took control of Thebes and Upper Egypt. Who Amenmesse was is a whole different question, but it has been theorized that he was the brother, half-brother, or even son of Seti II.

Seti II was able to take back Upper Egypt before the 5th year of his reign. He then proceeded with a smear campaign of Amenmesse. Seti II’s throne name was Userkheperure Setepenre, meaning “Powerful are the manifestations of Re, the chosen one of Re.”

During his reign, he expanded the copper mines at Timna Valley in Edmon and built a temple of Hathor nearby. He also made small additions to the temple complex of Karnak.

Seti II was married two at least to women Twosret and Takhat. If the theories that Amenmesse was his son are true, then he may have also been married to his mother Tiaa. Seti only had one son, Seti-Merenptah, but he sadly died before his father. This left a serious succession crisis when Seti II died.

Death and Tomb

Seti II only ruled for about 5 years and 10 months. Siptah was named successor of Seti, but after his short reign, Queen Twosret took the throne as Pharoah!

KV13 was Seti II’s tomb built in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. During Amenmesse’s takeover, Seti’s name was removed from the tomb. It was then recarved when Seti took power. Unfortunately, the tomb was not finished when he died, so he may have been originally buried in his wife’s tomb, KV14, before being moved.

The tomb consists of a short entry corridor, three more corridors, a well chamber (although with no well), a four-pillared hall, and then the final corridor leading to the burial chamber. The walls and the ceiling of the chamber were covered with plaster and painted with images of Anubis, Osiris, and the goddess Nut on the ceilings. It features images of different funerary texts like the Litany of Re, the Amduat, and the Book of the Gates. There are also some very unique images of Seti on a shrine, on the back of a panther, and in a papyrus skiff.

The tomb was opened in antiquity as there are several Greek and Latin graffiti. Richard Pococke apparently performed the first brief excavations in 1738. But Howard Carter did a full excavation from 1903 to 1904. The tomb was then used as a makeshift laboratory for the cleaning of objects found in King Tut’s tomb.

Check out more photos of the tomb here!

Rediscovery

When the tomb was discovered only the lid of his sarcophagus was found. So where was his mummy? Like many of the New Kingdom mummies, priests in the Third Intermediate Period removed looted mummies of pharaohs and placed them in caches.

The mummy of Seti II was found in KV35, which was used as a mummy cache. This was discovered on March 19th, 1899. The mummy, which I will describe below, was found in an uninscribed and undecorated coffin (CG 61036-7). The original decoration was adzed off and it was then covered in a layer of plaster.

There was no lid for the coffin, but a lid inscribed for Seti II was discovered on the coffin where Amenhotep III was found.

Interestingly, in 1908 Egyptologist Edward R. Ayrton found a small tomb in the Valley of the Kings, KV56. This tomb contained a small cache of jewelry that featured the name of Seti II, including these earrings.

Mummy

The body was severely damaged in antiquity. The body has adze marks from the tool used to strip away the original bandages. Part of the chest wall has been broken away, which seems to have happened before the body was wrapped. Perhaps in a bad mummification job?

The head was found detached from the body along with the arms. The right forearm, hand, and several of the left fingers were missing. There was also a small hole in his skull, which has been similarly found on the skulls of Merenptah, Ramesses IV, Ramesses V, and Ramesses VI.

Several objects were placed with the mummy, either when it was originally buried or when it was rewrapped in the cache. There were blue faience wdat amulets on strings which were wound up from his ankles to his knees. Blue scarabs were attached to the ends of these strings. Finally, there were three small sphinx amulets on top of the right knee.

The mummy’s original wrappings had been covered with a shroud, where there was a small docket giving the name of Seti II. Clothing had also been employed to wrap the mummy. Reportedly there were also two intact shirts made of fine muslin were found among the wrappings along with pieces from several other garments. The cartouche of Merenptah and two other hieratic inscriptions were found on the shirt. There was also apparently red and blue fringing on some of the wrappings.

The mummy was just recently moved from the Cairo Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in April 2021.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seti_II

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KV15

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/digitalegypt//chronology/setyii.html

https://mathstat.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/setyII-endDyn19.html

https://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/setiii/

https://mummipedia.fandom.com/wiki/Seti_II

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544752

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/seti2.htm

https://egyptianaemporium.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/hello-mummy-13/

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/19A.htm

Images

Queen Takhat – https://mathstat.slu.edu/~bart/egyptianhtml/kings%20and%20Queens/setyII-endDyn19.html

Two statues – https://ancientegyptonline.co.uk/setiii/

Mummy Head – Mummipedia

MET statue – 34.2.2

Photos of tomb – http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/seti2.htm

Mummy head and gold earrings – https://egyptianaemporium.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/hello-mummy-13/

Temple of Karnak – Wikimedia Commons (Olaf Tausch)

Obelisk in Karnak – Wikimedia Commons (Djehouty)

Tomb -http://drivingclockwise.com/egypt/2003/02/14/kv15-tomb-of-seti-ii/

Mummy Mondays: Ramesses I

This week let’s talk about the founder of the 19th Dynasty, Ramesses I.

Life

Ramesses I was born Pa-ra-mes-su to a noble military family from the Nile Delta. His father was a troop commander named Seti and his uncle was Khaemwaset, an army officer married to Tamwajesy, matron of the Harem of Amun. He was born during the rise and fall of the Amarna Period, which was a very turbulent period of Egyptian history.

After the death of Pharaohs Tutankhamun and Ay, General Horemheb took the throne, making Ramesses I his vizier. He had several other titles such as,

“Chief of the Archers, Master of the Horse, Commander of the Fortress, Controller of the Nile Mouth, Charioteer of His Majesty, King’s Envoy to Every Foreign Land, Royal Scribe, Colonel, General of the Lord of the Two Lands, Chief of the Seal, Transporter of His Majesty, Royal Messenger for all Foreign Countries, Chief of the Priests of all Gods.”

Ramesses I’s cartouches

Horemheb had no children so he was in search of an heir, which is found in Ramesses. This may be because Ramesses already had a son, Seti I, and grandson Ramesses II so that the rule will stay in the family. Ramesses then became the “prince of the whole country, mayor of the city, and vizier,” as it is stated on a statue of him found in Karnak.

As mentioned, Ramesses I married a woman named Sitra who also came from a military family. They had one son, who would later become Pharaoh Seti I. He probably rose to the throne when he was in his 50s, which was quite old for an ancient Egyptian king. His prenomen was Menpehtyre, meaning “Established by the strength of Ra,” though he preferred to use his personal name Ramesses, which meant “Ra bore him.”

Ramesses I only ruled for about 16 or 17 months, either from 1292-1290 or 1295-1294 B.C.E. During his reign, he probably took care of domestic matters, while his son was in charge of undertaking military operations. Ramesses was able to complete the second pylon of Karnak Temple, which was started by Horemheb. He also ordered the provision of endowments for a Nubian temple at Buhen.

Death and Tomb

Since his rule was so short, his tomb in the Valley of the Kings was hastily finished. KV16 is located directly across from Horemheb’s tomb. It is 29 meters long with a long single corridor and one unfinished room. First, there is one long flight of stairs with an entryway. Then there is a downward corridor with smooth walls but no plaster, followed by a second stairway. This is built into the rock with two deep ledges on either side. While the next chamber would typically be a well chamber, this is where the burial chamber is.

This chamber is a very small room with an immense sarcophagus made of red granite. This was painted rather than carved, probably due to a lack of time. The chambers are decorated with depictions of the Book of the Gates, which is a funerary text from the New Kingdom. It describes the nocturnal journey of the sun through the 12 gates which create the hours of the night. The images are very distinct as they all have a blue-grey background, which is the same style as Horemheb’s tomb.

Check out this link to learn more about the depictions in the tomb.

What Happened to his Mummy?

The tomb was discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817. All that remained in the tomb was the damaged sarcophagus, a pair of six-foot wooden guardian statues once covered in gold foil, and some statues of underworld deities. But there was no mummy. So where was it?

The first clue was found in 1881 when the Deir el-Bahri cache was found. Here a fragmented coffin contained inscriptions telling us that the mummy of Ramesses I was removed from KV17 and placed in DB320 in Year 10, 4 prt, Day 17 of Siamun. The whole inscription on this coffin docket is below. This indicated that the priests of the Third Intermediate Period moved Ramesses I’s mummy from KV16 to KV17 before moving it to DB320. So, the mummy should be in DB320, right?. Unfortunately, not.

“(Yr 10 4 prt 17 of) king (nsw) Siamun. (Day of bringing king Men)pehtyre out of the (tomb of king Menmaatre-) Setymer(en)ptah (that he might be) taken into this high place (k3y) of Inhapi which is a (great pla)ce (st c3t) (and in which Amen)ophis rests, by the prophet of Amon (-Re king) of the gods Ankhefenamun son of Baky, and the god’s father of Amon (-Re king) of the gods, third prophet of Khonsemwast-Neferhotep, the scribe of off(erings of the house of Amon-Re) king of the gods, sm-priest of the temple of (Usermaatre-Setepenre) in the house of Amun, general of Tasetmerydjhuty, scribe and chief agent Nespakashuty son of Bak(en)khons. Afterwards Mut, the one having the authority over the great place (st wrt) said: (That which was in good condition in my care…)”

Rediscovery

In the late 90s, a mummy was discovered that had many indications of being a royal mummy, possibly that of Ramesses I.

This mummy was purchased by Dr. James Douglas in 1861 and brought to the United States. It was then sold to Colonel Sidney Barnett, son of the founder of the Niagara Falls Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame. The mummy stayed in the museum for the next 130 years, labeled as one of the possible wives of Akhenaten, maybe even Nefertiti?

Dr. James Douglas (center)

In 1985, a German technician named Meinhard Hoffman persuaded a German television station to conduct a scientific examination of the mummy. Dr. Anne Eggebrecht examined the mummy and first discovered that it was a male. Dr. Wolfgang Pahl and his assistant Lisa Bark noted many features that could have been one of the missing New Kingdom mummies, such as the crossed arms and the hands clenched. There was also a coffin in the museum dated to the late 18th and early 19th dynasty.

The museum went under in the late 90s, and the Egyptian antiquities were purchased by the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University for 2 million dollars. Here the mummy went through CT-scanning and carbon dating. Based on the CT scans, x-rays, skull measurements, radiocarbon dating, and the overall look of the mummy, it was proposed to be the mummy of Ramesses I.

This most likely means that the Abu-Rassul family who found DB320 in 1871 (and thus put many items out on the antiquities market for years without detection) may have found the tomb almost 11 years earlier. It is thought that Ramesses I’s mummy was taken by the family and sold in 1860.

Based on all the evidence, the Egyptian government requested the mummy be returned to Egypt. It was returned on October 6th, 2003, and is now located at the Mummification Museum in Luxor, Egypt. Not all scholars agree that this is Ramesses I, but agree that it was a noble from the 18th or 19th dynasty, maybe even the mummy of Horemheb.

The Mummy

The mummy in question is 1.60 meters tall and died when he was 35 to 45 years old. It is very well preserved for his perilous journey. An incision was made in the left abdomen through which the internal organs had been removed and replaced with linen packing. The brain was extracted through the nose and the skull was filled with liquid resin. These are all typical of the late 18th and early 19th dynasties.

One of the mummy’s ears was deformed, which could have been a result of a poorly done ear piercing procedure. Although there is no other indication of how the pharaoh may have died, this ear infection could have contributed to his death.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramesses_I

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/mummy/rameses.html

https://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/ramses-I.html

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ramessesi.htm

https://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/pharaons/ramses1/e_ramses1_01.htm

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/19A.htm

https://www.osirisnet.net/3d-tours/kv16/index.php?en

https://ancientegypt.fandom.com/wiki/Ramesses_I

https://www.world-archaeology.com/world/africa/egypt/rameses-i-mummy-returned-to-cairo/#:~:text=The%20mummy%20of%20Ramesses%20I%20(1295%2D1294%20BC)%2C,Antiquities%2C%20Cairo%20in%20November%202003.&text=It%20was%20only%20identified%20as,Arne%20Eggevrecht%2C%20visited%20the%20museum.

https://tim-theegyptians.blogspot.com/2014/03/discovery-of-mummy-of-ramses-i.html

Image Sources

Stone head carving of Ramesses I at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – Wikimedia Commons (Keith Schengili-Roberts)

Ramesses I relief in the Allard Pierson Museum, Netherlands – Wikimedia Commons (Juan R. Lazaro)

Mummy – Wikimedia Commons (Alyssa Bivins)

Cartouche, tomb and wooden statue – http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/ramessesi.htm

Tomb plans – Osiris.net

Mummy – https://www.world-archaeology.com/world/africa/egypt/rameses-i-mummy-returned-to-cairo/#:~:text=The%20mummy%20of%20Ramesses%20I%20(1295-1294%20BC)%2C,Antiquities%2C%20Cairo%20in%20November%202003.&text=It%20was%20only%20identified%20as,Arne%20Eggevrecht%2C%20visited%20the%20museum

Mummy – https://tim-theegyptians.blogspot.com/2014/03/discovery-of-mummy-of-ramses-i.html

Mummy – http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1883142_1883129_1883105,00.html

James Douglas Jr. (center) and mummy and sarcophagus – http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1883142_1883129_1883105,00.html

Sarcophagus – https://givemehistory.com/ramses-i

Mummy Monday: Siptah

For this week’s Mummy Monday, let’s look at one of the later rulers of the 19th Dynasty, Pharaoh Siptah.

Life

Siptah’s full name was Akhenre Setpenre Spitah or Merenptah Siptah. His father’s identity is not actually known, but a couple of pharaohs have been suggested. Mainly, Seti II, Amenmesse, and Merenptah have been suggested. His mother is also unknown but could be Tiaa, the wife of Seti II, or a woman named Sutailja/Shoteraja. The evidence for the latter is according to a relief in the Louvre (E 26901). It has also been implied that she may have been the king’s Canaanite concubine because her name is Canaanite.

We do know that he was not originally the crown prince but probably succeeded the throne as a child after the death of Seti II. His accession date occurred on 1 Peret, Day 2, which is around December.

Reign

He ruled for only about six years as a young man, as he was only ten or eleven when he took the throne. One of the king’s chancellors was named Bay, and he was instrumental in installing Siptah on the throne, though he fell out of favor with the king and was executed in Siptah’s 5th year. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the rest of his reign.

Siptah most likely died in the middle of the second month of Akhet, as his burial dates to the 22nd day of the fourth month of Akhet. This was recorded on an ostraca found in Deir el-Medina and mentions that the Vizier Hori visited the workmen close to the burial.

Tomb

Pharaoh Siptah was originally buried in KV47, but his mummy was reburied in the KV35 cache with many other royals from the New Kingdom.

KV47 is in the southwest branch of the southwest wadi of the Valley of the Kings. It consists of three gently slopped corridors (B, C, D) followed by a chamber (E), a pillared chamber (F), two subsequent corridors (G, H), and a chamber (I). This last chamber leads through a passage with abandoned lateral cuttings for a burial chamber (J1) and the actual unfinished burial chamber (J2).

KV47 is in the southwest branch of the southwest wadi of the Valley of the Kings. It consists of three gently slopped corridors (B, C, D) followed by a chamber (E), a pillared chamber (F), two subsequent corridors (G, H), and a chamber (I). This last chamber leads through a passage with abandoned lateral cuttings for a burial chamber (J1) and the actual unfinished burial chamber (J2).

In total, the tomb seems to have been unfinished. The cutting of chamber J1 was halted after the workmen cut into the side chamber (Ja) of KV32, the tomb of Tia’a. The workers were also forced to abandon the chamber and create a second burial chamber, chamber J2. The burial chamber contains a granite sarcophagus.

Much of the history of this tomb is not clear as the king’s cartouches had been removed and then later restored. Only the first corridors and chamber were plastered and decorated with scenes from the Litany of Ra (corridors B and C), Book of the Dead (corridor C), Imydwat (corridor D), representations of the deceased with Ra-Horakhty (corridor B), the sun disk on the horizon (gate B) and winged figures of Ma’at (gate B, gate D).

The tomb was of course looted sometime after the burial and then reused in the Third Intermediate Period. The tomb was discovered on December 18th, 1905 by Edward R. Ayrton. Theodore M. Davies then published an account of the site’s discovery and excavation in 1908, but that was after the excavations were stopped in 1907 due to safety fears. Harry Burton also returned in 1912 to dig further.

To see some more photos, check out this link!

Mummy

As I mentioned previously the mummy of Siptah was found not in KV47 but KV35, which was a royal mummy cache that I have talked about previously. Siptah’s body was found in side chamber Jb. It was found in a replacement coffin (CG 61038), which may have originally belonged to a woman as all the inscriptions had been adzed off and it was reinscribed for Siptah. He was also found beneath a shroud that had been placed there by the Third Intermediate Period priests. The shroud has a hieratic inscription, but it is very faded. Some of the original bandages have a few painted lines and hieroglyphs texts.

Siptah appeared to be around the age of sixteen when he died. He was about 1.6 meters tall and had curly reddish-brown hair. But his body had been badly damaged by the original tomb robbers. The right cheek and front teeth had been broken off and were missing. His ears had also been broken off. His right arm was fractured, the right hand had been detached. Interestingly, there was an attempt made to repair this broken forearm with wooden splints and linen. Finally, the body wall had been broken through, probably in search of a heart scarab and other valuables.

The cheeks have been filled out with linen packing and his body cavity had been filled with dried lichen instead of the usual resin-soaked bandages. The embalming wound had been sewn shut with a strip of linen. There is also an unusual crescent-shaped band of black paint across Siptah’s forehead, the significance of which is unknown.

Siptah had a clubbed foot, which could have been from polio or cerebral palsy. No objects were found among Siptah’s wrappings, but there is an impression of a pectoral ornament left in the thick dried resin which coated the mummy’s chest. There is also some gold foil impressed into the resin covering Siptah’s right elbow, which may have been left by a gilded staff originally held in the mummy’s left hand.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siptah

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/19A.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KV47

https://web.archive.org/web/20081101162842/http://www.thebanmappingproject.com/sites/browse_tomb_861.html

Image Sources

Siptah – Wikimedia Commons (John D. Croft)

Cartouche of the King on a foundation sandstone block from the mortuary temple of Merenptah-Siptah at Thebes, Egypt – Wikimedia Commons (Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP)

Mummy – http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/19A.htm

Tomb painting – Wikimedia Commons (John D. Croft)

Tomb plan – Wikimedia Commons (R.F. Morgan)

Sarcophagus of Siptah – Wikimedia Commons (Neithsabes)

Photos of the tomb decoration – https://egyptsites.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/tomb-of-siptah-kv47/

Photos of the Tomb – http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/siptah.htm

Photo of the Tomb – https://www.etltravel.com/luxor/siptah-tomb-egypt/

Photos of the Tomb – https://the-ancient-pharaohs.blogspot.com/2017/04/kv47-tomb-of-siptah-part-25.html