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Who is the KV55 mummy?
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Tomb 55
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 1:31 pm 
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I just found this on www.archaeoogy.org. It puts an entirely different slant on most popular beliefs about the remains found in Tomb 55.




Anatomy of a Mummy Volume 55 Number 2, March/April 2002
by Joyce M. Filer

A close study of the mystery skeleton's bones indicates he was male and in his early twenties.

Cairo, January 2000. I am waiting in a private research room at the Egyptian Museum to examine the skeletal remains found in Tomb 55 of the Valley of the Kings. The identity of this mummy has been debated ever since the tomb was discovered in January 1907. The excavator, Theodore M. Davis, invited two doctors visiting the newly opened tomb to examine the mummy, reduced to a skeleton through poor preservation and mishandling upon discovery. One of the physicians was a Dr. Pollock and the other, whose name appears unknown, is described as "a prominent American obstetrician." Davis was obviously pleased to be informed by them that the mummy was "without doubt" that of an elderly female, for he was convinced he had found the tomb of Queen Tiye, the wife of Amenhotep III (r. 1388-1348) and mother of Akhenaten (r. 1350-1333). The machinery for controversy was set in motion when the remains were sent to the anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith for further examination. Smith identified the individual as a male who was at least in his mid-twenties when he died. Despite these conflicting anatomical views, Davis published the tomb and remains as Queen Tiye's in 1910, while Smith published the remains as male in 1912.

An anatomical examination cannot identify the individual, but it can provide information useful in evaluating the theories various scholars have proposed. The human remains from Tomb 55, as presented to me, are those of a young man who had no apparent abnormalities and was no older than his early twenties at death and probably a few years younger. If those wanting to identify the remains with Akhenaten demand an age at death of more than mid-twenties, then this is not the man for them. As an obviously younger individual, some people might like to identify the remains as belonging to the mysterious Smenkhkare. Might they, in fact, belong to neither of them? Whoever he was, the similarity between the Tomb 55 skull and that of Tutankhamun, Akhenaten's son, certainly suggests he was a member of the royal family.

Joyce M. Filer is a curator in the department of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, London.


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Re: Tomb 55
PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2004 12:11 am 
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Osiris II wrote:
I just found this on www.archaeoogy.org. It puts an entirely different slant on most popular beliefs about the remains found in Tomb 55.
Anatomy of a Mummy Volume 55 Number 2, March/April 2002
by Joyce M. Filer (snip)
"The human remains from Tomb 55, as presented to me, are those of a young man who had no apparent abnormalities and was no older than his early twenties at death and probably a few years younger. If those wanting to identify the remains with Akhenaten demand an age at death of more than mid-twenties, then this is not the man for them. As an obviously younger individual, some people might like to identify the remains as belonging to the mysterious Smenkhkare. Might they, in fact, belong to neither of them? Whoever he was, the similarity between the Tomb 55 skull and that of Tutankhamun, Akhenaten's son, certainly suggests he was a member of the royal family."

Joyce M. Filer is a curator in the department of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum, London.


Hi Orisis II, thanks for the article.
Ms Filer is right with question about who the mummy might have been, in so far as what she was given to examine, were the physical remains of the mummy. However, it is the coffin this mummy was found in that tends to infer that the mummy was either Akhenaten, or Smekhkara because it had the royal ureaus added on to it. When the coffin was originally made it was made for the secondary wife of Akhenaten, Kiya and was without the royal symbol of the ureaus. Yet, when discovered it had both the ureaus added on to it and a male body in it. The mere presence of the royal ureaus on the coffin makes it almost certain that whoever the mummy really is it was the remains of a Pharaoh.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:14 pm 
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Ms Filer is right with question about who the mummy might have been, in so far as what she was given to examine, were the physical remains of the mummy. However, it is the coffin this mummy was found in that tends to infer that the mummy was either Akhenaten, or Smekhkara because it had the royal ureaus added on to it. When the coffin was originally made it was made for the secondary wife of Akhenaten, Kiya and was without the royal symbol of the ureaus. Yet, when discovered it had both the ureaus added on to it and a male body in it. The mere presence of the royal ureaus on the coffin makes it almost certain that whoever the mummy really is it was the remains of a Pharaoh.


All that you've said in the above is true, Sekhmet.
But the adaption of the mummy-case with the ureaus does not really help with the identification of the mummy, since both Akhenaten and Smenkhkara were both considered to rule, and therefore both could have been in a mummy-case with an ureaus.
The point made by Ms. Filer in accepting the mummy to be that of Smenkhkara was a combination of the age, and a comparison of the cranial features with Tutahnkamen, showing a close relationship. I really believe they were brothers, along with Akhenaten--sons of Amenhotep III and different mothers.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:13 pm 
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When I was in the museum in Cairo I distinctly remember a golden uraus cobra on the head of the mummy. In my opinion this disproves it being Tuthmosis as he was never crowned king, he was only a priest in the service of Ptah at the time of his death. Bob Brier has aged the mummy as being in its early twenties, making it too old to be Akhenaten (stated from "The Murder of Tutankhamun" by Dr Bob Brier). Many are still unsure as to the precise sex of the mummy, originally it was said to be a man, then a woman and now back to a man again. More tests need to be done before anything happens, we just know so little.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2004 11:08 pm 
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Osiris II wrote:
The point made by Ms. Filer in accepting the mummy to be that of Smenkhkara was a combination of the age, and a comparison of the cranial features with Tutahnkamen, showing a close relationship. I really believe they were brothers, along with Akhenaten--sons of Amenhotep III and different mothers.


:) Hi again Osiris II, to be honest i have almost always considered the mummy to be that of Akhenaten. i have waited a long time for Dr. Giles :)
Since xraying of mummies tends to give them, an age slightly younger than what is expected... a mummy that xrays indicate is in it's early 20's can actually be in its mid twenty's pushig maybe even the late 20's. Considering that Ramesses II was fathering children by the time he was 16 it is still within the possibility of the mummy being Akhenaten with a long coregencey with his father thrown in the equation.

The big problem i have with it being Smekhkara is why would he provoke such a sorry burial? Again being honest i have always considered the boy from the off chamber in Amenhotep II's tomb to be Smekhkara. That is until i saw a good picture of him last year. It can't be him, one he has the side lock of youth, as a married man Smekhkara wouldn't have had that. Second his arms are at his sides as a Crowned Pharaoh even of a short period he would have had his arms crossed. So, i am not sure to be honest who KV55 male is. i try and try to reason out in my head why Smekhkara would have been treated in such a manner... i am without a clue? But mans inhumanity to man is even older than this mummy so perhaps there is no reason other than he didn't maintain his throne if it is Smehkhara.

i do believe that Tutankhamun is most likely the son of Nefertiti and Akhenaten, because i do believe that Smehkhara was their son.

Hope you have a nice day :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:58 am 
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I think it could be Akhenaten, but if he was thought to be a heretic, I dont think they would have just not given him a kingly burial, they would've harmed the body and tomb probably too, do you think?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:23 am 
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PharoahKel wrote:
I think it could be Akhenaten, but if he was thought to be a heretic, I dont think they would have just not given him a kingly burial, they would've harmed the body and tomb probably too, do you think?


I agree with you PharoahKel 100%


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 10:50 am 
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In stating that it was a too humble a burial to be that of Smenkhkara, one must remember it was not an original burial, but a re-burial of different objects from different people. The burial included Tiye's shrine, Akhenaten's "magic bricks", an adapted coffin, probably of Kiya. Canoptic jars were found--were they ever identified as to owner of the contents? I remember reading that they were probably originially Kiya's, but I can't remember if the contents were assumed to be hers or someone else's. The different items probably were taken from violated burials, most likely in Amarna, and re-buried in the VOK.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:26 pm 
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I just found a very detailed discription of the finding of the tomb--most of my questions above have been answered.
I had no idea such a wealth of different objects were found! Check it out at http://members.tripod.com/~b205/kv55_1.html


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 4:29 am 
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Link didnt work :(


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2004 6:51 am 
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Sorry, Pharoahkel! It will get you there--eventually--but it's very convoluted. After the link has come up, at the top of the section there are two boxes. One already has Tripod in it--type Tomb 55 in the opther one and click on "search". It will bring up several sites. Click on Tomb55-1 (Tripod) and you will be on the Tomb 55 page.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:28 pm 
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:? Wasn't Tuts Coffin believed to have been made for Smekhare. And Smekhare died before Tutankhamun so how did this happen? Did they move his mummy to Kiya's coffin but why would they do that? :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:46 pm 
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Osiris II wrote:
In stating that it was a too humble a burial to be that of Smenkhkara, one must remember it was not an original burial, but a re-burial of different objects from different people. The burial included Tiye's shrine, Akhenaten's "magic bricks", an adapted coffin, probably of Kiya. Canoptic jars were found--were they ever identified as to owner of the contents? I remember reading that they were probably originially Kiya's, but I can't remember if the contents were assumed to be hers or someone else's. The different items probably were taken from violated burials, most likely in Amarna, and re-buried in the VOK.


You are 100% right Orisis II, except when you infer it was said to be a humble burial. i said it was, a sorry burial for a once reigning Pharaoh. Sorry is different from humble. What you describe is more sorry than humble in my humble :wink: opinion. To be taken from your own coffins and be placed in a woman's (who wasn't even likely to be your mother) retooled coffin to me would be an extremely offensive insult. To have perhaps one's grandmother's or mother's shine maybe not so insulting, but it would not be the one i was expecting to be buried with. To have one's father's or brother's magic bricks... would they even work for me? Sorry, sorry, sorry and i can't reason a decent reason for such a sorry burial, if the body was Smenkhkara's.

But, if the body was Akhenaten's i can... Kiya would have given her life for AKhenaten if we believe her love poem to him, so what would a coffin mean? Tiy would have given most anything for her son, certainly a shine she didn't need if she was going to be sharing her husband's after all. The magic bricks most certainly would work if the body was Akhenaten's. And there were many reasons i can think of as to why Akhenaten would have qualified for such a sorry burial.


Last edited by Sekhmet on Sun Jul 11, 2004 1:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:51 pm 
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Ankhesenamun3 wrote:
:? Wasn't Tuts Coffin believed to have been made for Smekhare. And Smekhare died before Tutankhamun so how did this happen? Did they move his mummy to Kiya's coffin but why would they do that? :roll:


You're right, Pharaoh Tutankhamen's 2nd coffin is believed to have made for Smenkhkara. And he did die before Tutankhamun. And you have asked another million dollar question :):) Keep it up Ankhesenamun3, to few folks ask hard questions about this royal family!

But to be honest i can hear the experts already. "Well Tutankhamun's advisors could see no reason to let Smenkhkara keep all that wealth, when Tutankhamun might have need for it." My answer to that is right! :roll:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:22 pm 
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:arrow: Ancient Egypt can be so confusing!


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