PREMIERE. To what extent have DNA tests supported or superseded existing techniques in identifying royal mummies? This new talk will be given for the first time at The Library, Beetwell Street, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, at 7pm on June 13th 2011.
The recent published findings will be placed in the context of previous work on the royal mummies, and the methods by which identifications were arrived at through DNA will be demonstrated. You will be able to decide for yourself how strong you believe the identifications of various relatives of Tutankhamun really are!
I look forward to seeing you there.
In 1881 Emile Brugsch entered Tomb TT320 and found it to be full of coffins containing the mummies of royalty from the New Kingdom, together with those of a family of semi-royal High Priests of the 21st dynasty. The find included the remains of such famous figures as Ahmose I, Ahmose Nefertari, Amenhotep I, Thutmose III, Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses III.
The records made by Brugsch of the tomb layout and contents were, however, woeful; and in 1998 a team directed by Professor Erhart Graefe reopened the tomb, made preliminary plans (thereby undermining many theories), and began clearance work. I was able to visit the work in progress when it resumed in 2003, and spend a lot of time in the partly-cleared tomb whilst National Geographic filmed us there in 2004. My final visit was during the 2005 season when the Burial Chamber was almost completely cleared. Work concluded in 2006.
I have written quite extensively on the tomb and its contents (see forthcoming Part 1 of Refugees for Eternity, Finding the Pharaohs, about this and the discovery of other royal mummies and caches) and was asked to provide the opening chapter for the official publication edited by Erhart Graefe and Galina Belova, The Royal Cache TT320: a re-examination (Cairo 2010). My chapter is a detailed examination of the evidence for both the discovery of the tomb by native robbers – the Abd er Rassul brothers – and the clearance by the Antiquities service under Emile Brugsch and Ahmed Kamal.
Professor Graefe describes the clearance and finds, Edward Loring writes on the relationship of the 21st dynasty with the tomb, and there are extensive descriptions and illustrations of the finds, with pottery analysis by Ashraf Senoussi. The report was published by the SCA and includes a Preface by Dr. Zahi Hawass with personal reminiscences of entering the tomb, and remarks on the significance of the find with regard to the current studies being undertaken on the royal mummies.
The Royal Mummies of Thebes: Their Journeys and Resting Places.
This is a very large work commenced in 1997 which examines the history of royal burials in Ancient Egypt; their robbery; the creation of cache tombs; the discovery of royal tombs and caches in the modern era; the study and identification of royal mummies. It has been broken into four parts, each of which will be issued on completion.
Part One. Finding the Pharaohs. Nearing completion, due late 2010. The discovery of royal tombs and mummies in the modern era, with particular emphasis on the royal cache tombs.
Part Two. The Rise and Fall of the Theban Royal House and Necropolis. In Progess. From the obscure tombs of heroes, to the grand sepulchres of a decling empire, to the pillaging and ‘recycling’ and creation of caches in a fallen age.
Part Three. Clues from the Caches. In Progess. How and why the caches were created at the end of the New Kingdom.
Part Four. Identifying the Royal Mummies. Now available. Buy here. A thorough evaluation of the methods used to identify Royal Mummies and how good they are. Assessment of the evidence for each individual royal mummy. Detailed contents of mummies, coffins and identifying dockets for TT320 and KV35 royal caches.