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

Mummy Monday: Amenhotep II

Why don’t we talk about another famous royal, whose tomb we have mentioned several times? This week let’s talk about Amenhotep II, the seventh pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty.

Life

Amenhotep II was born to Pharaoh Thutmose III and his minor wife Merytre-Hatshepsut. He was born and raised in Memphis, instead of the traditional capital of Thebes. As a prince, he oversaw the deliveries of wood sent to the dockyard of Peru-nufe in Memphis. He was also made a Setem, which is a high priest over Lower Egypt. Amenhotep II left many inscriptions touting his athletic skills while he was the leader of the army. He claims to have been able to shoot an arrow through a copper target one palm thick and to row his ship faster and farther than two hundred members of the navy could row theirs.

Now Amenhotep II was not the firstborn of the Thutmose III. He had an elder brother named Amenemhat, but he and his mother died between Years 24 and 35 of Thutmose III, which prompted the king to remarry and have more children.

Life as Pharaoh

Amenhotep II rose to the throne around 1427 BCE, on the first day of the fourth month of Akhet. This was days after his father’s death, which indicates that they might have been in a coregency together. He was probably around 18 years old when he became the pharaoh as indicated by his great Sphinx stela,

“Now his Majesty appeared as king as a fine youth after he had become ‘well developed’, and had completed eighteen years in his strength and bravery.”

He married a woman named Tiaa, with whom he had as many as ten sons and one daughter. His eldest son and heir was Thutmose IV. Princes Amenhotep, Webensenu, Amenemopet, and Nejem are clearly attested, which Princes Amenemhat, Kaemwaset, Aakheperure, and Princess Iaret are possible children.

Besides Tiaa, Amenhotep II did not record the names of his other wives. Some Egyptologists have theorized that he felt the women had become too powerful under titles such as God’s Wife of Amun. They point at the fact that he participated in his father’s removal of Hatshepsut’s name from her monuments and the destruction of her image. Amenhotep II may have continued to destroy her images in his co-regency with his father, but not during his reign. But he may have still harbored his father’s concern that another woman would sit on the throne.

Amenhotep II took his first campaign in his 3rd regnal year, where he was attacked by the host of Qatna, but he did emerge victoriously. He also apparently killed 7 rebel princes at Kadesh, who were then hung upside down on the prow of his ship and then hung on the walls of Thebes and Napata.

Death

Amenhotep II died after 26 of his reign. Although the dates of his reign indicate that he was about 52 when he died, his mummy reveals that he was closer to 40 years old.

He constructed a tomb in the Valley of the Kings KV35, which I will talk about below, and a mortuary temple at the edge of the cultivation in the Theban necropolis, but it was destroyed in ancient times.

Tomb

I know we have talked about KV35 several times already, but I will mainly focus on the tomb as it was when Amenhotep II had it built.

The tomb is in the shape of a dog’s leg, which means it turns at a 90-degree angle. This is a typical layout of tombs of the 18th dynasty. Upon entering the tomb, there are two sets of stairways and two corridors before the well shaft. This is decorated with images of the King performing ritual acts before Osiris, Anubis, and Hathor.

After the tomb takes a 90-degree angle, there is a pillared vestibule and another wide flight of stairs. There is one small annex off of this first vestibule. This leads to a third corridor and a large six-pillared room. The burial chamber is just past the last set of pillars.

The burial chamber is a rectangular shape and divided into upper and lower pillared sections. The lower part held the sarcophagus of the king which was made of red quartzite. There are also four annexes off of this chamber. The walls of the burial chamber are decorated with a frieze and scenes from the Amduat, which is one of the many different Egyptian funerary texts. The pillars are decorated with the king before Osiris, Anubis, and Hathor. As with many tombs from this period, the ceiling is blue and covered in stars.

Although the tomb had been plundered in antiquity and then reopened to place the cache, some items from Amenhotep II’s burial were still found. These included a papyrus with extracts from the Book of Caverns, emblems in wood, a broken Osiris bed, at least one large wooden funerary couch, a large wooden figure of a serpent, a large wooden Sekhmet figure for the king’s son Webensenu, a life-size cow head statues, faience vases, a resin-coated wooden panther, 30 empty storage jars, and many miniature wooden coffins.

As we know, KV35 was used as a mummy cache in the Third Intermediate Period for many of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom. Those found in the tomb are listed below:

  • Queen Tiye (The Elder Lady)
  • A prince, either Webensenu or Thutmose
  • The Younger Lady
  • Unknown woman D
  • Two skulls were found in the well and an anonymous arm
  • The Mummy on the Boat

These mummies were discovered in March of 1898 by Victor Loret.

Mummy

When the mummy was originally found, there were garlands of mimosa flowers around his neck. The mummy had also been rewrapped and given a shroud by the priests of the Third Intermediate Period. Unfortunately, in 1901 when the tomb was plundered by modern robbers, the mummy was taken from the tomb and exposed from the waist up. Howard Carter was able to track down the robbers, using, among other clues, the imprints of their feet in the dust of the tomb. The mummy was then returned to the sarcophagus. Up until 1928, the mummy of Amenhotep II was still found in the quartzite sarcophagus before it was transferred to the Cairo Museum (CG61069).

After the 1901 plundering, the mummy was severely damaged. The head and right leg were separated from the body, the front abdominal wall was missing, and the spine was broken as well. There were also distinctive patterns of ossification along the vertebrae, which is a degenerative type of arthritis seen in people aged 60 years and older. His skin was covered in raised nodules, which were also found on the mummies of Thutmose II and Thutmose III. This could have been from disease or by a reaction of the embalming materials with the skin. Amenhotep II’s teeth were worn but in good condition.

He was probably 6 foot tall in life and he had graying hair and a bald spot on the back of his head.  There were impressions of jewelry found in the resin which had been used in the embalming process. Finally, there was a large bow, which was broken or cut in two was found with the mummy.

Sources

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KV35

http://www.narmer.pl/kv/kv35en.htm

http://www.narmer.pl/dyn/18en.htm#7         

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

https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/publications/le/mummy-amenhotep-ii

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

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages1/Aeighteen.htm

Images

Head of Amenhotep II at the Brooklyn Museum – Wikimedia Commons (Keith Schengili-Roberts)

Head of Amenhotep II at the State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich – Wikimedia Commons (Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP (Glasg))

Head of Amenhotep II at the Louvre – Wikimedia Commons (Rama)

Stela from Elephantine, now on display at the Kunthistorisches Museum, Vienna, recording Amenhotep II’s successful campaign against Syria – Wikimedia Commons (Captmondo)

Amenhotep II shown at the Temple of Amada, Lake Nasser, Egypt – Wikimedia Commons (Dennis Jarvis)

Image of tomb, tomb plan, mummy – http://www.narmer.pl/kv/kv35en.htm

Wooden cow head and image of sarcophagus – http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amenophist.htm

Black and white photo of the sarcophagus – https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/publications/le/mummy-amenhotep-ii

Mummy – https://mummipedia.fandom.com/wiki/Amenhotep_II

Mummy and sarcophagus, and objects found in the tomb – http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages1/Aeighteen.htm

Pictures of the tomb – https://ib205.tripod.com/kv35_cache.html

Pictures of the tomb – https://alchetron.com/KV35

Mummy Monday: The Mummy on the Boat

This Mummy Monday I am starting with a special request to look at the mysterious Mummy on the Boat from KV 35.

This is a pretty interesting case because we don’t really know the identity of this mummy. So I am first going to describe the discovery, provenance, and theories, and then the mummy itself.

Discovery of the Mummy on the Boat

The Mummy on the Boat was found in KV35, in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb was originally for Pharaoh Amenhotep II and it later became a cache burial for many of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom during the Third Intermediate Period. He was found in Antechamber F, which was a distance from the original burial chamber and the side chambers where the other mummies in the cache were found.

Victor Loret, the Egyptologist who discovered the cache in 1889, described the mummy as a “horrible sight…all black and hideous, its grimacing face turning towards me and looking at me…” The mummy had obviously been pillaged, which I will describe later. There was a small partly unwrapped bundle next to the mummy, which may have been a mummified animal or a bundle of wrappings.

The mummy was found leaning on top of a large funerary boat, which is not a typical burial technique. The remainder of this antechamber was mostly empty.

Shortly after the cache was placed in KV35, thieves entered and plundered the tomb again. This was most likely when the mummy was first plundered as the thieves tried to remove him from the boat, but the arms and feet were broken off.

When the cache was found by Loret, the Mummy on the Boat had not been scheduled for removal from the tomb along with the other burials, but had been moved from his original positions and placed out of the way when Antechamber F was used to store the other mummies in their large shipping crates.

Model Boat of Amenhotep II One of several models from the tomb of Amenhotep II, this example represents a river-going vessel. Scenes on it portray the pharaoh as a sphinx trampling enemies, and representations of deities and amulets serve as protection for the king in the Afterlife. Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep II 1426Ð1400 BCE PHOTO CREDIT: McMillan Group

Three years after the discovery of the tomb on November 24, 1901, modern thieves also broke into the tomb and stole the wooden funerary boat. During this time, the mummy was smashed to pieces on the floor. The funerary boat was later acquired by the Cairo Museum from a local dealer (which I believe is pictured in the photo above), but the remains of the mummy are now lost. Howard Carter wrote, “the boat in the Antechamber had been stolen; the mummy that was upon it, was lying on the floor and had been smashed to pieces.”

The images below are the only images of the mummy. There is a possibility that the pieces were swept out of the tomb or are in some sort of box in the Cairo Museum.

Theories of the Identity of the Mummy

There are two main possible candidates for the identity of the mummy, along with an alternative theory.

Prince Webensenu

The first theory is that the Mummy on the Boat was Prince Webensenu, son of Pharaoh Amenhotep II. The prince’s shabtis and a canopic jar have been found in KV35, which implies that the prince’s body was buried in his father’s tomb. The prince predeceased his father and was probably buried in KV35 before his father was. But he probably would have been buried in one of the side chambers to the burial chamber, rather than in Antechamber F. His burial would have gotten in the way of any of the subsequent burial, so this is quite unlikely.

He possibly could have been buried somewhere else in the Valley and then moved into KV35 at the time of his father’s burial. But again, it would have been logical to bury him in the side chamber.

Prince Webensenu or Prince Thutmose?

To add to the confusion of all of this, another mummy was found in the KV35 cache that had also been attributed to Prince Webensenu. This is the mummy of a young boy, maybe 11 years old. But this mummy has also been identified as Prince Thutmose, son of Amenhotep III, so we really don’t have a clue.

Pharaoh Sethankte

The other popular option for the identity of the Mummy on the Boat is Pharaoh Sethnakhte, founder of the 20th Dynasty. His father was one of the sons of Ramesses II and he ascended the throne after the death of Queen Taweseret. But he died shortly after he ascended the throne and may have even been originally buried in Queen Taweseret’s tomb KV14.

His coffin basin and lid were found in KV35, in side chamber Jb, as they were reused by the mummies of Merenptah and Unknown Woman D. Fragments of his cartonnage were also found in the main burial chamber. It is theorized that his mummy was placed with the other cached mummies in side chamber Jb, which of course leads to the confusion of why the mummy was found in Antechamber F.

Again, it seems very unlikely that anyone would move a mummy up from the burial chamber to antechamber F, or purposefully separate one mummy into room F. The usual explanation is that the tomb robbers removed the mummy from chamber J, dragged it across the chamber, and then up into antechamber F so they could strip it of its wrappings and valuables.

But the position of the mummy on the model boat does not also appear accidental. The body seems to have been carefully positioned. The robbers may have found the mummy already in place on top of the boat and removed the wrappings there. And the reason they didn’t remove it from the boat because the oils and resin in the wrappings had stuck it to the boat, which would have made its removal a time-consuming chore.

The last theory is that this mummy is a private individual from a period later than the recorded official inspection of KV35. At the beginning of the 22nd Dynasty, there were many intrusive burials. This could explain why it was found in chamber F and the unusual positioning on top of the wooden model boat.

The Mummy on the Boat

When Loret found the mummy, he said that the legs and arms were bound. Loret thought that it may have been a sacrificial victim or a thief slain by tomb guardians or fellow thieves. The bandages had already been torn off entirely, except for those tangled around the mummy’s abdomen and upper thighs, which made Loret think that the mummy had been bound.

The mummy is of a male with long dark hair. There was a hole in the sternum and a smaller hole in the skull. The left-arm had been broken off while the right arm appears to be disconnected. The left arm and the disconnected right foot are visible on the chamber floor next to the mummy. The fingers were individually wrapped. The remaining skin of the torso and face appears to be thoroughly perforated by tiny holes, maybe by insects. There is also possible evidence of an embalmers incision on the left side of the lower abdomen.

Sources

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/UnidentifiedandMissing.htm

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

http://www.narmer.pl/dyn/20en.htm#1

https://tim-theegyptians.blogspot.com/2012/06/mummy-on-boat.html

Image Sources

Images of the mummy – http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/UnidentifiedandMissing.htm

Cartouche and face – http://www.narmer.pl/dyn/20en.htm#1

Antechamber F – https://the-ancient-pharaohs.blogspot.com/2017/02/kv35-tomb-of-amenhotep-ii-part-19.html

Unidentified Boy from KV35 – Mummipedia

Victor Loret discovering the tomb and funerary boat – https://www.egyptianhistorypodcast.com/2597-2/

Mummy Monday: Ramesses VI

Throughout Egyptian history, there were 11 pharaohs named Ramesses, all living during the New Kingdom. This week we are going to look at the mummy of Ramesses VI.

Life

Ramesses IV Nebmaatre-Meryamun was born Amenherkhepsehf (C) to Ramesses III and most likely queen Iset Ta-Hemdjert. This is suggested by the presence of his cartouches on the door jamb of her tomb in the Valley of the Queens. As a prince, he held the titles of royal scribe and cavalry general. He was the 5th pharaoh of the 20th Dynasty, after his older brother Ramesses IV son, Ramesses V died without a male heir.

His Great Royal Wife was Nubkhesbed and they had at least four children: princes Amenherkhepshef, Panebenkemyt, and Ramesses Itamun (future pharaoh Ramesses VII) and one princess Iset. His first son died before his father and was buried in KV13 and his daughter was appointed as God’s Wife of Amun.

He only reigned for about 8 years (1145 to 1137 B.C.E) which may have been quite turbulent. Ramesses IV stopped frequent raids by Libyan or Egyptian marauders in Upper Egypt. But Egypt lost control of its last strongholds in Canaan, which weakened Egypt’s economy and increased prices throughout the kingdom. The pharaoh’s power also waned during this period as the priesthood of Amun began to rise in power. This is when Ramesses VI appointed his daughter as a priestess of Amun in an attempt to reduce their power.

There are multiple statues of him, many of which he usurped from past rulers by engraving his name over theirs. These usurpations were most likely done because of the economic depression rather than a sign of antagonism against his predecessors. One statue that was well documented on the reverse of the Turin Papyrus Map was installed in the Temple of Hathor at Deir el-Medina. It was called “Lord of the Two Lands, Nebamaatre Meryamun, Son of Re, Lord of Crowns, Ramesses Amunherkhepesef Divine Ruler of Iunu, Beloved like Amun.” The statue was apparently made out of both painted wood and clay, showing the pharaoh wearing a golden loincloth, a crown of lapis lazuli and precious stones, a uraeus of gold, and sandals of electrum.

Ramesses VI died in his 40s, in the 8th or 9th year of his rule. He was succeeded by his son Ramesses VII Itamun. Besides his tomb (described below), it is also thought that he usurped his nephew’s mortuary temple in El-Assasif, Thebes (which was probably stolen from Ramesses IV). It was planned to nearly half the size of Medinet Habu, the mortuary temple of Ramesses II. But only the foundations were built at the death of Ramesses IV so it is unclear if it was ever completed.

Tomb

The outside of the Tomb

Now presumably because Ramesses VI was older when he rose to power, he chose to usurp his nephew’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, KV9. It is unclear if Ramesses V was first buried in this tomb and then moved, or if Ramesses VI buried his nephew somewhere else. Unlike his usurpation of his predecessors’ cult statues, this usurpation could have been because he did not hold his nephew in high regard. It was most likely completed in the 6th or 8th year of his reign.

Layout of KV9

The tomb is 104 meters or 341 feet long and has several chambers. The entrance of the tomb is decorated with a disk containing a scarab and an image of the ram-headed god Re between Isis and Nephthys. In the first corridor, there are images of Ramesses VI before Re-Horakhty and Osiris.

Ramesses VI worshipping Osiris above the entrance to the hallway

The Book of Gates is on the south wall while the Book of Caverns is on the north wall. These are both Ancient Egyptian funerary texts that would help the newly deceased soul into the afterlife. The Book of Gate describes several gates, each associated with different goddesses and required the deceased to recognize the particular character of the diety. The Book of Caverns is very similar, but it describes six caverns of the afterlife which are filled with rewards for the righteous and punishments for the bad.

The ceiling of the long hallway is decorated with an intricate astronomical ceiling. The Book of the Gates and the Book of Caverns continued on their respective walls. Above the entrance to the next corridor, the king is shown before Osiris. The second corridor is decorated with two more funerary texts: the Book of the Imi-Duat and the Books of Day and Night. Here Ramesses is shown before Hekau and Maat.

At the end, there is a hall and the burial chamber. Again, these are decorated with more funerary texts, mainly the Book of the Dead and the Book of the Earth (also known as the Book of Aker). Ramesses was buried in a large granite coffin box and mummiform stone sarcophagus in the center of the chamber.

Unfortunately, like many of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, it was looted in antiquity, most likely around 20 years after Ramesses VI was buried. They took everything and destroyed much of the sarcophagus and mummy. The mummy was removed from the tomb in the 21st Dynasty. Interestingly, the workers huts that were built for the construction of this tomb, obscured the entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamun, which may have been a reason that it was not seriously looted during this period.

Check out the tour of the tomb completely 3D tour of the tomb here and here! You can also see more images of the tomb decoration here.

In the Graeco-Roman Period, the tomb was identified as that of Memnon, the mythological king of the Ethiopians who fought in the Trojan War. This meant that it was frequently visited during this time. Visitors from the 1st century B.C.E. to the 4th century C.E. left approximately 995 pieces of graffiti. These were mostly in Greek, Latin, Demotic, and Coptic, and in black or red ink. Many of these were found higher up on the walls, indicating that the floor level was higher during this period. Since 1996, the graffiti has been studied by the Epigraphic Mission from the Polish Center of the Mediterranean Archaeology University of Warsaw. Check out the article below to learn more!

The tomb was cleared by Georges Emile Jules Daressy in 1898. He uncovered the fragments of the coffin and sarcophagus. During this time, the face, and several other pieces, of the sarcophagus were taken by visitors. The face (EA140), which was taken by Giovani Belzoni, Italian strongman turned explorer, for Henry Salt, the British consulate in Cairo, is currently in the British Museum, and attempts to return it to Egypt have been futile.

In 1997, Egyptologist Edwin Brock received funding from the American Research Center in Egypt to restore the sarcophagus. They completed the work in three seasons reassembling the 370 broken pieces and a fiberglass replica of the mask. Much of the decoration of the coffin had been obscured by a black resinous layer which was most likely a ritualistic oil that was poured over the sarcophagus at the time of burial. The reassembled sarcophagus is currently on display inside the burial chamber.

Burial in Royal Cache

Now, like many of the royal mummies of the New Kingdom, the mummy of Ramesses VI was not found in KV9, but in KV35, also known as the Royal Cache. Here is an excerpt about this tomb that I wrote in an earlier post about Amenhotep III.

The priests of Amon in the 21st dynasty moved multiple mummies from the looted Valley of the King’s tombs to one specific tomb in the valley. This was the tomb of Amenhotep II, KV35. The mummy cache lay undiscovered until 1898. Here is a list of the other pharaohs found in this cache:

  • Thutmose IV
  • Merneptah
  • Seti II
  • Siptah
  • Amenhotep II
  • Amenhotep III
  • Ramesses IV
  • Ramesses V
  • Ramesses VI
  • Queen Tiye (originally labeled and the Elder Lady)
  • A prince (either Webensenu, child of Amenhotep II, or Thutmose, son of Amenhotep III)
  • The Younger Lady (mother of Tutankhamun, and daughter of Amenhotep and Tiye)
  • Unknown Lady D
  • Two skulls and an arm

The mummy of Ramesses VI (CG 61086/JE 34564) was found in side chamber Jb inside an 18th dynasty coffin (CG 61043) of a man named Re, who was a high priest of the mortuary cult of Menkheperre-Thutmose III. Ramesses VI’s name had been written over the original owner’s name. The face of the coffin had been hacked off in antiquity, possibly indicating that it had been gilded and thus taken by tomb robbers.

Mummy

When the mummy was unwrapped by G.E. Smith on July 8th, 1905, the body was found in disarray. It apparently had been hacked to pieces by the tomb robbers who were looking for precious jewelry. The head had been shattered and the bones of the face were missing. His hip bone and pelvis were found among the bones at his neck and his elbow and humerus were discovered on his right thigh. Bones from two other mummies were also found including the right hand of an unidentified woman and the right hand and forearm of an unidentified man.

Ramesses VI was embalmed in a fashion similar to his two predecessors. The cranial cavity had been packed with linen and a resin paste, which was also plastered over the face, eyes, and forehead. The king’s ears had also been pierced and his teeth were only moderately worn. And due to the presence of a skull piercing similar to those found on the skulls of Ramesses IV, Ramesses V, Merenptah, and Seti II, it has been speculated that Ramesses VI had originally been moved to the KV14 cache along with those mummies before being finally placed in KV35.

The Face of Ramesses VI

Sources

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KV9

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

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

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

https://www.arce.org/project/conservation-sarcophagus-ramses-vi

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA140

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/20A.htm

https://madainproject.com/kv9_(tomb_of_ramesses_v_and_ramesses_vi)

Photo Credits

Face of Stone Sarcophagus – British Museum; Wikimedia Commons (Carlos Teicxidor Cadenas)

Relief of Ramesses VI as a prince from Medinet Habu – Wikimedia Commons (Neithsabes)

Statue of Ramesses VI holding a bound Libyan captive, currently in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo – Wikimedia Commons (Georges Legrain)

Portrait of Ramesses VI from his tomb – Wikimedia Commons (Champollion and Rosellini)

Broken bust of Ramesses IV at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon – Wikimedia Commons (Colindla)

Mummy face– Wikimedia Common (G. Elliot Smith)

Mummy body – Mummipedia (Tawfika)

Ushabtis of Ramesses VI at the British Museum – Wikimedia Commons (Jack1956)

Reassembled lid, cleaning the fragments, the glued fragments groups, Brock checking the joins – Francis Dzikowski

Test cleaning of the sarcophagus – Edwin Brock

Images of Tomb – Madain Project

Mummy in coffin – http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/20A.htm

Picture of 18th dynasty coffin – http://ib205.tripod.com/ramesses_6_cache.html

Tomb Layout – https://famouspharaohs.blogspot.com/2011/05/kv9-tomb-of-ramesses-v-and-ramesses-vi.html

Mummy Monday: Amenhotep III

As I talked about last week, the ancient palace structure of Malqata was built by Amenhotep III, a king in the early 18th Dynasty. Because I really liked learning about Malqata and Amenhotep III, I thought I would make the rest of this week themed about him. So today we are going to talk about the king himself and his mummy.

His Life

Amenhotep III was most likely born around 1401 B.C.E. to Pharaoh Thutmose IV and a minor wife Mutemwiya. He was a member of the Thutmosid family that had ruled Egypt for almost 150 years. His birth (personal) name was Amenhotep-Heqawaset, which roughly means, “Amun is pleased, Ruler of Thebes.” If you didn’t know, Egyptian pharaohs often had more than one name. Depending on the time period, some kings could have up to five names. So Amenhotep III’s throne name was Nebmaatre or “Lord of Truth of Re.”

He may have been crowned king at a very young age, either 6 or 12. He married a non-royal woman named Tiye very early into his rule. They had at least two sons and four daughters. Their eldest son was named Thutmose and he was the High Priest of Ptah in Memphis before he died suddenly, leaving his younger brother Amenhotep IV to inherit the throne. Amenhotep IV later became known as Akhenaten when he took the throne.

Their daughters were most likely named Sitamun, Henuttaneb, Isis/Iset, and Nebetah. Sitamun and Isis/Iset were elevated to the role of the Royal Wife near the end of Amenhotep III’s rule. Although Amenhotep III married at least 6 foreign princesses to secure alliances with different nations, he was adamant that “no daughter of the King of Egypt is given to anyone.”

Throughout his almost 40 year reign, he had stable international trade and a plentiful supply of gold from the mines and other products. Because of this, the economy was booming. He led exhibitions to Nubia to put down a rebellion in his 5th year, but otherwise, his reign was quite peaceful. He has the most surviving statues of any Egyptian pharaoh with over 250 discovered and identified.

Scarab Commemorating the King’s Marriage to Queen Tiye, ca. 1390–1352 B.C. Egyptian, New Kingdom Glazed steatite; L. 8 cm (3 1/8 in.); W. 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.); H. 2 cm (13/16 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910 (10.130.1643) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/548625

During his rule, Amenhotep III commissioned several commemorative scarabs. These scarabs were quite larger than the typical seal scarabs. They had several lines of text, describing some events from his rule. These were created around the 11th year of his reign and have been found in several archaeological sites in Egypt, the Near East, Syria, and Sudan. Here is a list of the scarabs. The two that detail Queen Tiye, I will talk about Wednesday.

  • Lion Hunt Scarab– He claimed that he killed over 100 lions during the first ten years of his reign.
  • Marriage Scarab– He records the name of his wife Tiye with the name of her parents, to state her non-royal birth.
  • Lake Scarab – He announces the construction of a lake for his wife Tiye.
  • Bull Hunt Scarab – He claimed to kill almost 100 bulls in two days.
  • Gilukhepa – To announce the arrival of a Princess Gilukhepa, his new wife, from Mitanni.

As I talked about in the Malqata post, Amenhotep III built the royal palace to celebrate his three Heb-Sed festivals. Just north of the royal palace, he was building his mortuary temple called Kom el-Hettan. It was built by his architect, scribe, and overseer, Amenhotep, son of Hapu. Amenhotep was such a great architect, that the pharaoh blessed him with his own smaller mortuary temple nearby. At the time of its construction, Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple was the largest ever built by a pharaoh. Unfortunately, it completed razed by Ramses II, who used the materials to make his own temple. Only the two colossal statues, called the Colossi of Memnon, are left at the site.

The Colossi of Memnon at the entrance of the former mortuary temple of Amenhotep III

Unlike kings of the Old Kingdom, who combined their tombs and their mortuary temples into huge pyramid complexes, the New Kingdom king realized that this was bad practice because the tombs were robbed very easily. So they built their mortuary temples on the west bank of Thebes and their tombs up in the wadi behind it.

His Death

In his final years, Amenhotep III may have been very sick. According to the Theban tomb of Kheruef, he is depicted very frail. He may have been suffering from arthritis, became obese, or had painful abscesses in his teeth. Around this time, he requested a statue of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar of Ninevah from his father-in-law Tushratta of Mitanni. This statue could supposedly cure him of his aliments, but this is not clear as the statue may have been sent as a blessing of the marriage of the pharaoh and another Mitanni princess.

The latest regnal year mentioned is year 38, so he may have died in year 38 or 39. He was originally buried in the Valley of the Kings, in tomb KV22 or WV22.

His Tomb

This tomb is halfway into the Western Valley of the Kings, on the left and away from the cliff face. They reason that it is also called WV, is because it is located in this separate Western Valley, with only one other tomb. The tomb was originally found by two of Napoleon’s engineers, Prosper Jollois and Edouard de Villiers du Terrage, in 1799, but was excavated by both Theodore M. Davies in 1905-1914 and Howard Carter in 1915. The Egyptian Archaeological Mission of Waseda University in Japan excavated and restored the tomb in 1989.

Conservation of the tomb paintings by Waseda University

Davies left virtually no records of his excavations in the tomb. Carter became interested in the tomb after he purchased three bracelet plaques from a dealer in Luxor that had the name of Amenhotep III. By the entrance of the tomb, he found the foot of a shabti of Tiye and found five intact and one robbed foundation deposits. In the tomb, he found the hub of a chariot wheel, a small fragment of a faience bracelet, and fragments of a canopic chest. The Japanese team found one more foundation deposit with the head and bone of a calf, five miniature pottery vessels, and wooden model cradle, and a wooden carving of a symbolic rope knot which was all in a reed basket.

The tomb was quite a large one, with various passages to try and turn away tomb robbers. This unfortunately didn’t work as the tomb was virtually empty when discovered.

The entrance of the tomb leads to a steep flight of stairs, then an inclined corridor, another steep flight of stairs, and another inclined chamber before reaching a well chamber. This chamber is 5.9 meters down into an undecorated chamber. This room especially may have been built to deter tomb robbers, because the corridor to the rest of the tomb was bricked and stuccoed up to make it seem like a dead end.

The first room that you enter is decorated on three walls with a very similar scheme that will follow through the majority of the tomb. The walls were given a coat of blue wash and topped with a kheker frieze on a yellow background. The sky hieroglyph also runs along the tops of the walls, while a border of red and green stripes run underneath the scenes. The scenes all feature Amenhotep III being given an ankh, which is the sign of life, by different gods and goddesses. He is also presided over by the vulture goddess Nekhbet, which if you remember is a prominent figure in the decoration scheme at the royal palace at Malqata. In this room, he is given life by Anubis, the Western Goddess, and Osiris. He is also protected by his father Thutmose IV’s ka and the goddess Hathor. You can see from the images that some of the faces of the king have been removed. These were removed sometime in the 19th century and are currently located in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The corridor to the next room was also bricked up and stuccoed before being destroyed by tomb robbers. It leads into an undecorated pillared hall another steep stairway, corridor, and another stairway. This all descends another 9 meters, leaving the burial chamber about 17 meters below ground. These corridors and stairways are undecorated except for a small graffiti reading, “Year 3, 3rd month of Ankhet (season), day 7.” This may have been placed when Amenhotep III was buried in the chamber, but if so the year wouldn’t refer to his reign but rather his son’s or possibly a co-regency between the father and son.

The antechamber is decorated with almost identical decorations to that in the well chamber, with Amenhotep III receiving life from Hathor, Nut, the Western Goddess, Anubis, and Osiris. This room was again sealed from the burial chamber, so the decoration was destroyed by the tomb robbers.

The Burial chamber was a dual-chamber with a few steps between the two chambers. The upper level had six pillars in two rows and had two side chambers. The lower level had a place where the sarcophagus would have sat and had three side chambers, two of which had another side chamber off of it. The sarcophagus was lost and only fragments of its lid remain. The ceiling of these chambers was at one point painted a dark blue with pale yellow stars, but much of the plaster has fallen off.

The burial chamber

The rest of the chamber is painted with a representation of the Amduat, which was an ancient Egyptian funerary text which tells the story of Ra and how he makes the journey through the afterlife when the sun sets. This text is usually reserved only for pharaohs and was used as a way to help the deceased follow that path of Ra through the afterlife. The text and figures are reproduced in the cursive style that was usually found in papyri records. It begins at the left end of the north wall and proceeds clockwise around the chamber. The pillars are mostly damaged, but they feature a similar scheme with the other rooms, depicting Amenhotep before Hathor, Osiris, the Western Goddess, or Anubis.

All but one of the side chambers are undecorated. Most have a slightly lower floor than the previous chamber. Only chamber Jc was plastered and partially decorated with a kheker frieze over the doorway. These rooms were most likely made to house funerary goods or relatives of the king. It has been speculated that Queen Tiye was buried in this tomb for a short time, but we’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Only the lid of the red granite sarcophagus remains. There is evidence that the king was placed in a series of golden and inlaid anthropoid wooden coffins, with the inner coffin and/or mask made out of solid gold. Debris found in the antechamber indicates that either a mask or one of the coffins had a superb cobra head made out of lapis lazuli with inlaid eyes set in gold. Following the looting of the tomb, the priests of Amon in the 21st dynasty moved multiple mummies from the looted Valley of the King’s tombs to one specific tomb in the valley. This was the tomb of Amenhotep II, KV35.

Are you my Mummy?

Map of KV35. Amenhotep III’s mummy was found in side chamber Jb

The mummy cache in KV35 lay undiscovered until 1898. Although it was the tomb of Amenhotep II, here is a list of the other pharaohs found in this cache:

  • Amenhotep II
  • Thutmose IV
  • Merneptah
  • Seti II
  • Siptah
  • Amenhotep III
  • Ramses IV
  • Ramses V
  • Ramses VI
  • Queen Tiye (originally labeled and the Elder Lady)

  • A prince (either Webensenu, child of Amenhotep II, or Thutmose, son of Amenhotep III)
  • The Younger Lady (mother of Tutankhamun, and daughter of Amenhotep and Tiye)
  • Unknown Lady D (sometimes labeled as Queen Tausret/Twosret)
  • Two skulls and an arm

The mummy of Amenhotep III was found in a side chamber (Jb) with the majority of the other kings. It was located in a makeshift coffin made up of a lid of Sety II and a coffin box of Ramses IV. The identification of the mummy, and many of the mummies found in the cache, are still up for debate.

A label or docket on the shroud of the mummy label the mummy as Amenhotep III. There were also hieratic on bands within the shroud and around the neck of the mummy, but these have yet to be published. The labels on the coffin box and lid identify those pieces with Seti II and Ramses IV. But the label on the lid was edited to add the throne name of Amenhotep III, Nebmaatre. The full text is listed below.

Linen Docket: “Year 12/13 4? prt 6? of Smendes/Pinudjem I: “Yr 12/13 4? prt 6? On this day renewing the burial (?) (whm krs?) of king (nsw) Nebmaatre l.p.h. by the high priest of Amon-Re king of the gods Pinudjem son of the high priest of Amon-Re king of the gods Piankh…(by?)…Wennufer (?)”

The mummy identified as Amenhotep III was badly damaged, either by tomb robbers or the priests who relocated the body. The mummy (now located in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, JE 34560l CG 6107) was unwrapped by G.E. Smith and Dr. Pain on September 13th, 1905. (This practice of course is no longer followed by Egyptologists.) The head of the mummy had been broken off, the back broke, and the entire front wall of the torso was missing. The right leg and thigh had also been detached from each other and the body. The mummy was probably anywhere from 40 to 50 years old when he died. He also had very worn and cavity pitted teeth, which did not necessarily cause his death, which could have left him in severe pain during his final years.

The priests from the 21st dynasty were quite careless in the re-wrapping of the body because bones of two different birds and a big toe, ulna, and radius bone from another person were found wrapped with the body. The birds’ bones may have originally been a food offering in the tomb, but the human bones remain a mystery.

The original embalmers of the body packed the skin with a resinous material, which has led to questioning if this really is the body of Amenhotep III. This technique was popular in the 21st dynasty, so there is the worry that this body was contemporary to the re-burial and not the 18th dynasty. But Smith noted that the 21st dynasty Egyptians packed the bodies with linen, mud, sand, sawdust, or mixtures of fat and soda, but not resin.

While it is not 100% confirmed that this is mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, scholars agree that he is the most likely candidate.

Sources

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

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WV22

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KV35

https://discoveringegypt.com/ancient-egyptian-kings-queens/amenhotep-iii/

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

https://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/pharaons/amenhotep3/e_amenhotep3_01.htm

http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages1/18B.htm#Amenhotep%20III

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amenhotep3t.htm

Photo Credits

Osirisnet.com – Photos and layouts of tomb KV22

Anubis4_2000.tripod.com – Photos of the mummy

Wikimedia commons (Einsamer Schütze) –  Amenhotep III head

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – Commemorative Scarab (10.130.1643)

Wikimedia commons (MusikAnimal) – Colossi of Memnon

https://alchetron.com/KV35 – KV35 map

TourEgypt – Map of KV22

Kenneth Garrett, National Geogrpahic Creative – Color photo of mummy