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Is this the skull of Smenkhkare or Akhenaten?
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Montuhotep88
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylejustin wrote:
you have a fantastic point on the kv 55 remains.

if we wanted to determine if amenhotep III's mummy was related, why not do blood testing? or just run the dna? you don't need mitochondrial dna to see if people are related in the male line.


DNA testing is still pretty problematic when it comes to mummies, although the science is advancing to the point where even Dr. Hawass shows signs of bending. (To be fair, if he'd have acquiesced to every request for mummy samples that he's gotten, I'm not sure how much of the mummies would actually be left... it's minimally invasive testing, to be sure, but it still requires a finite amount of substance to be removed.) The acid breaks down over time and is particularly hard to get from bone, which is basically all that's left of the KV55 "mummy."

I'm optimistic that the knowledge will advance to the point where this question may be resolved, but I frankly doubt it will be in the next ten years. (And if you'll pardon a flip remark, ten years is less than the amount of a dating error when it comes to mummies, even New Kingdom ones...)
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neseret
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylejustin wrote:
you have a fantastic point on the kv 55 remains.

if we wanted to determine if amenhotep III's mummy was related, why not do blood testing? or just run the dna? you don't need mitochondrial dna to see if people are related in the male line.


Y-DNA testing, which shows the direct relation of males to males, is often difficult on mummy remains due to contamination of the remains. Further, in the case of the "Amenhotep III" mummy, one can test relatedness to say, Tutankhamun, but this would not tell us much about the actual identity of the mummy being Amenhotep III. Wink

We already know that the Thutmosid mummies (of which the "Amenhotep III" mummy is probably one) are interrelated, and this is just about all Y-DNA testing would show us as well. But Y-DNA testing would not prove whether the remains were those of Akhenaten or actually Amehotep III. It is also difficult to know who we would test these remains against beyond Tutankhamun. For example, in the Thutmosid line, we do not have the following kings:

Thutmose I (the purported mummy of this king was show earlier in 2008 to be a young male, with an arrow embedded deep in his chest. There's been a speculation (mainly by Zahi Hawass, as I recall), that a mummy found outside the tomb of Seti II may be Thutmose I, but to date, I have seen no confirmation of this speculation).

Thutmose III and III. I'll repeat the comments of Edward Wente and James Harris as they saw the problem:

This possibility sent me to reevaluate the dockets supposedly identifying the mummy of Thutmose II. On the mummy the orthography of the king's name was not without ambiguity, while on the coffin the scribe had originally written the prenomen of Thutmose I and then altered it to Thutmose II's. Since the mummy identified as Thutmose II was older at death than the Seti II one, and from historical considerations we believe that Thutmose I died at an older age than Thutmose II, the end result of this part of our inquiry was to suggest that the Thutmose II mummy really belonged to Thutmose I and the Seti II mummy to Thutmose II, while Thutmose III has possibly been correctly identified. I say "possibly" because the shroud of Thutmose III, which has been used to identify the mummy, was discovered not wrapped around the body but simply folded on top of the mummy, which itself bore no clear identification.

Amenhotep II (Again, referring to the identity problem, as noted by Wente and Harris:

The mummy that caused me the most consternation is that considered to be Amenhotep II's. Jim's conclusion was that his craniofacial morphology does not suit his being the son of Thutmose III and father of Thutmose IV, both of which Amenhotep II should be on the basis of textual evidence. Jim and I had long debates over this mummy whose identification as Amenhotep II had always seemed fairly certain; because although it had been rewrapped and placed in a replacement cartonnage coffin, this coffin was found lying within the original quartzite sarcophagus of Amenhotep II in his own tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and the restorers had inscribed Amenhotep II's prenomen on the mummy's shroud according to Loret's report of his discovery of the tomb of Amenhotep II.

After this, I think you can see the overall problem to this question: while related, which mummy is which?

We seem to have a lot of Thutmosid royal remains, but not really a clue who we're talking about, and yet, Y-DNA testing would probably say (if we could acquire enough uncontaminated DNA to do such testing) that ALL are related (This was, BTW, the same conclusion which Scott Woodward speculated, but was not able to prove).

And this speculation would be correct, but that would not tell us who was who in refererence to the mummies. After all, the genealogy the Thutmosid kings give of themselves says they are all related, but knowing who was related to whom, and in which sequence, usually requires the mtDNA testing and access to royal female remains, of which there is a decided lack.

This is why Wente suggested the following possible three identifying scenarios:

SEQUENCE OF KINGS ROYAL MUMMIES

DYNASTY 18 SCHEME 1 SCHEME 2 SCHEME 3

Thutmose I = Thutmose II OR Thutmose II OR Thutmose II
Thutmose II = Seti II OR Seti II OR Seti II
Thutmose III = Thutmose III OR Thutmose III OR ? Thutmose III
Amenhotep II = --- OR --- OR ? Thutmose III
Thutmose IV = Amenhotep II OR Amenhotep II OR Thutmose IV
Amenhotep III = hutmose IV OR Thutmose IV OR Amenhotep II
Akhenaten = KV 55 OR --- OR Amenhotep III
Smenkhkare = --- OR KV 55 OR KV 55
Tutankhamun = Tutankhamun Tutankhamun Tutankhamun
Aye = Amenhotep III OR Amenhotep III OR ---

As you can see, especially since the Thutmose I issue now seems somewhat disproven as to being Thutmose II, the only king which we can really be sure who he is supposed to be is Tutankhamun, and perhaps (though not completely certain) Thutmose III.

So, it's not as simple as one might think: as far as I can tell, DNA has not thus far opened any new doors on the identity of the royal mummies. The orginal confusion came about due to the Deir Bahri 320 cache find itself, showing that some of the royal dockets on the mummies were wrong, and even worse, some were reburied in other king's coffins by priests during the reburial in DB 320.

Until DNA testing can be perfected for ancient remains, which is an imperfect art at best at the moment, we will continue (IMO) to have problems identifying these mummies.

To highlight the problems I mention, consider the fact that, after much hyped claims of 2007, we have yet to prove the body claimed to by that of Hatshepsut actually is, by DNA testing. This article highlights the various problems in DNA testing of Egyptian mummies.

HTH.
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Katherine Griffis-Greenberg

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Oriental Institute
Oriental Studies
Doctoral Programme [Egyptology]
Oxford University
Oxford, United Kingdom
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Kiya
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Lutz. Wink
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