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KV55
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Orwell
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: KV55 Reply with quote

I may have missed it going through all the threads, but there does not appear to be a thread set aside for discussions purely of Tomb KV55. I am interested in discussing the 'known' facts of the tomb and also entering into a bit of amateur analysis of what can be established as 'facts'.

I know we've been discussing a few KV55 things already on other threads and don't mind at all going over some of the same things again. Indeed, if we can continue our earlier discusions about the 'mummy' in KV55 here, as a start, I'd be most appreciative. Very Happy

If it is a male in a female position, why? (That is: 'Why' if it can't be established that it was to do with revised Religious Practice?)
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure what kind of details you're looking for, pertaining to KV55. We could write a book on the subject just discussing it. It's an interesting topic, to be sure, so I could begin the discussion by contributing some basic facts:

    • KV55 was discovered in January 1907 by Theodore Davis and his archaeologist, Edward Ayrton.

    • The tomb contained a menagerie of grave goods, some poorly preserved. The largest was a gilded shrine clearly inscribed for Queen Tiye.

    • Also found was the name Akhenaten on two of the four "magic" bricks. Four Canopic jars were found, inscribed for Kiya.

    • The badly defaced coffin also seems to have been originally made for Kiya, but was "remodeled" for a male (the inscriptions were recut).

    • Davis recruited a couple of physicians to examine the badly preserved body inside the coffin; the examination was cursory at best--they just happened to be tourists strolling by the tomb--but one of the physicians concluded the bones were those of an adult female.

    • This delighted Davis, whose pet theory from the start was that the tomb was for Queen Tiye. He published it as such.

    • Davis was proved wrong. The anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith examined the body with greater care and concluded it was that of an adult male. All subsequent examinations of the body have substantiated the identification of adult male.

    • The age at death is another issue. Nearly all who've examined the remains, including the Egyptologist and forensic anthropologist Joyce Filer, believe they belong to a man who died at no more than 25 years of age. Filer herself would argue even younger.

    • This would eliminate identifying the body as that of Akhenaten's, who reigned for 17 years and would've died around his mid-thirties. Many if not most who've examined this issue, in my own experience, believe this to be the body of Smenkhkare. I'm also of this opinion.


I stressed "nearly" earlier because not all agree the man lived as briefly as most of us think. In 1988 two orthodontists from Cairo argued for an age at death in the mid-thirties, but their findings were never widely accepted by colleagues.

Most recently, in the JAMA report published after the genetic and pathological examinations of the mummies of Tut and numerous others from the period (KV55 included), the team which conducted the analyses claimed the body was that of a man indeed older than previously thought. The report, however, did not go into detail and the claim was not really corroborated, so many were not sure what to make of this.

A colleague of mine at the Field Museum recently read or saw somewhere that during the examinations of the KV55 mummy, the team found osteophytes on some of the vertebrae. These bony growths are common in older people, so this is probably what the JAMA report was referring to all along.

However, I did some of my own research and learned osteophytes can indeed occur in younger people, especially those suffering from autoimmune diseases. I personally still favor Joyce Filer's conclusions: the skeletal remains show in sum total a younger person.

Now, you've been wondering about the "female position." I've tried to find a photo of the KV55 mummy in its coffin as it appeared when discovered in 1907, but came up dry. When I thought about it, I couldn't recall ever having even seen such a photo. Perhaps other posters here will be more successful than I.

But that being said, I wouldn't worry too much over such a thing. Yes, the ideal in the New Kingdom was to inter kings with their arms crossed, and we all know how big the Egyptians were into ideal situations--but we also know full well how often the ideal might not reflect reality. If you need an example, you need go no farther than the body of Tutankhamun:



His arms lie along his sides. Tut happens to be a great example because all are in agreement that KV55 dates to Dynasty 18, and now it is a known fact that the mummy in KV55 was in fact the father of Tutankhamun. So even if the KV55 mummy was buried with arms extended or in some other manner not the "ideal" for a king, we have his own son as an example as the same thing.

Other things might have come into play. As I recall, it was common for men of common birth of the same period to have their arms extended along their sides or with the hands over the pubes. In fact, in the following Third Intermediate Period, this would be standard practice. All I'm saying is exceptions are to be expected: the ideal does not always reflect reality.

And one last thing. I personally believe the KV55 body is that of Smenkhkare. Most people I know are in agreement. But others still believe it is that of Akhenaten. Whoever this person was, it seems quite obvious KV55 was a secondary burial: much of its contents comes from the reign and family of Akhenaten. So most likely all of this stuff was relocated from Amarna to Thebes, for reburial, following the collapse of Akhenaten's hegemony over Egypt. Who knows what happened in the move? How much might have been damaged in transit? Was the body dropped or mishandled in a rush to rebury it? Did it need to be rewrapped? There are many variables to consider, and too much we cannot know.

But it makes for a damn fine mystery.

I hope this is of some help, Orwell. And I apologize for the length of my post. I know I've been absent from ED for a long time, but other posters who know me here will verify that I am an unrepentant windbag. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i can only remember a photo of the coffin in the rubble. i don't think there are photo's of the mummy from 1907.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you need an example, you need go no farther than the body of Tutankhamun:

His arms lie along his sides. Tut happens to be a great example because all are in agreement that KV55 dates to Dynasty 18, and now it is a known fact that the mummy in KV55 was in fact the father of Tutankhamun. So even if the KV55 mummy was buried with arms extended or in some other manner not the "ideal" for a king, we have his own son as an example as the same thing.


Actually, this isn't the original pose of Tut's mummy, as the lower arms seem to have been detached at one point (perhaps to remove the bracelets on it?) but not put back in the proper position for the CT-scans (as not to obscure parts of his anatomy?).

The original pose can be seen in Burton's photos and Carter's sketches:




A minor mistake in kmt_sesh's otherwise excellent post.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Vangu. Be as as a windbag as you like, my friensd. Knows one to know one. Very Happy

I have read some stuff KV55. What I thought of doing on this thread was tackling a bit at a time. Because we had had a bit of a discussion already on the positioning of the mummy's arms, I thought I might start there.

(1) So was the position of the body that of a 'female' mummy or not? Idea

Your post threw up something particularly interesting, so at the risk of making our posts a bit too wordy ( Laughing):

(2) You said: "I stressed "nearly" earlier because not all agree the man lived as briefly as most of us think. In 1988 two orthodontists from Cairo argued for an age at death in the mid-thirties, but their findings were never widely accepted by colleagues." Why wwere thises guys views discredited? Have later orthodonitists read the situation differently?
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Btw I don't think a photo was taken in situ of the mummy, kyle. I think it was one of many the many whoopsies made by the archeologists.

Guys, I was wondering what the escavators said as way of description. I am trying to find a way of downloading the book The Tomb of Queen Tiyi (which Lutz put me on to) but how it comes up on my computer I find hard to read (concentrate on) for some reason. I must try when I'm not tired at the end of the day maybe.

I must say the posts here are easy to read - even if some are longer than others... Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
... I could begin the discussion by contributing some basic facts:

• The tomb contained a menagerie of grave goods, some poorly preserved. The largest was a gilded shrine clearly inscribed for Queen Tiye. ...

KV 55 contained, exactly taken, only remains of two tomb equipments, from queen Teje and from here son king Akhenaten.

kmt_sesh wrote:
... • Also found was the name Akhenaten on two of the four "magic" bricks. Four Canopic jars were found, inscribed for Kiya. ...

All four magic bricks can be assigned to Akhenaten (Grimm/Schoske : Das Geheimnis des goldenen Sarges, 2001, p. 55). The inscriptions on the canopics were deleted. Thus we can probably exclude they were ever a component of a funeral of Kija. The covers in form of a womans head originally carried the Uräus. There is no image of Kija known on which she is depicted with Uräus.

kmt_sesh wrote:
... • The badly defaced coffin also seems to have been originally made for Kiya, but was "remodeled" for a male (the inscriptions were recut). ...

Again (and again): The assumptions the coffin from KV 55 was originally made for a women and reworked for a king could disproved by his investigation in Munich. See Grimm / Schoske : Das Geheimnis des goldenen Sarges - Echnaton und das Ende der Amarnazeit (2001). From the inscriptions, in the literature designated A - F, was only the inscription F on the base plate changed, at least two times. A - G (the inscription volumes on coffin cover and lower part with the deleted cartouches) are to be addressed as original.

kmt_sesh wrote:
... • The age at death is another issue. Nearly all who've examined the remains, including the Egyptologist and forensic anthropologist Joyce Filer, believe they belong to a man who died at no more than 25 years of age. Filer herself would argue even younger. ...

Already Smith had to grant however : "..., without excluding the possibility that he may have been several years older." (Davis : Tomb of Queen Tiyi, 1910, p. XXIV).

kmt_sesh wrote:
... • This would eliminate identifying the body as that of Akhenaten's, who reigned for 17 years and would've died around his mid-thirties. ...

Why would it eliminate him? Where is the age of death for Akhenaten documented to the point?

Greetings, Lutz.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orwell wrote:


(2) You said: "I stressed "nearly" earlier because not all agree the man lived as briefly as most of us think. In 1988 two orthodontists from Cairo argued for an age at death in the mid-thirties, but their findings were never widely accepted by colleagues." Why wwere thises guys views discredited? Have later orthodonitists read the situation differently?


These two guys were Wente and Harris, if I remember correctly two American orthodontists . Joyce Tyldesley writes in her latest book:
"In stark contrast (to Joyce Filer) , Wente and Harris, basing their analysis primarily on the head and teeth, agree with Smith, suggesting an age of between thirty and thirty-five."

I don`t know why their opinion was not generally accepted, perhaps because they argued solely from the examination of the head, leaving aside evidence from the rest of the body.

Interestingly ( and even somewhat paradoxly) Filer lowers her general estimate of mid-twenties even further on the grounds of the state of the teeth. As Tyldesley qoutes her:
"(.... )somebody perhaps no more than mid-twenties; certainly, by the teeth, I would go even younger than that."

Quite by chance I have come across a book written by Elliot Smith in 1923 on the discovery on Tutankhmun`s tomb. In it he discusses the age issue of KV55 as follows:
"When in 1907 the bones were found that had once formed part of the mummy wrongly assumed to be the famous Queen Tiy, I discovered that they were the remains of a young man`s skeleto, for which, if it had been normal, it was difficult to admit an age of more than twenty-six years, if indeed as much."

The caveat "if it had been normal" refers to Smith`s assumption that KV55 had a slight hydrocephalus due to the unusual skull shape (which nevertheless occurs quite often throughout the dynasty), and the assumption which was solely based on the artistic representations of Akhenaten and family that he suffered from "Dystocia adiposo-genitalis" aka Froechlich syndrome. Both conditions have since been ruled out (the skull shape being recognized as a non-pathological family trait and the Froehlich syndrome dismissed on the grounds of Akhenaten`s apparent fertility and the lack of evidence for such a disease in the remains), what would leave Smith`s estimate standing at mid-twenties at the most.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Orwell"
(1) So was the position of the body that of a 'female' mummy or not? [/quote]

The arms seem to have been arranged with one by the side and one over the chest but statuary indicates this was NOT solely a female position as there are more than a few depictions of kings holding both the crook and flail in one hand - the statue of 'Smenkhkara' is a good example of this but there is also one of Ramesses II about whose sex there is no question at all.

Arm position seems to have varied unpredictably, possibly depending on the embalming workshop used.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz, Akhenaten was a father at the time of his accession meaning he was at minimum at LEAST twelve or thirteen and probably somewhat older. The lowest possible age is twenty-nine or thirty. Between thirty-two and thirty-seven is much more likely.

The canopic jars were certainly adapted for male kingly use. Kiya is the general choice as original owner due to traces of her titulary still visible. The coffin was certainly made for somebody 'Beloved' of Akhenaten not Akhenaten himself.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vangu Vegro wrote:

Actually, this isn't the original pose of Tut's mummy, as the lower arms seem to have been detached at one point (perhaps to remove the bracelets on it?) but not put back in the proper position for the CT-scans (as not to obscure parts of his anatomy?).

The original pose can be seen in Burton's photos and Carter's sketches:

<<Images>>

A minor mistake in kmt_sesh's otherwise excellent post.


Actually, Vangu Vegro, a rather stupid mistake on my part, and I should have known better. As many times as I've seen Burton's excellent photos, for some reason I always think of the CT scan images of Tut's body.

Yes, in the "autopsy" of Tut in 1925, the body came out of the coffin in pieces. How he's posed today is not how he was found, so I thank you for pointing that out. I shall be more careful in the future. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orwell wrote:
Thanks Vangu. Be as as a windbag as you like, my friensd. Knows one to know one. Very Happy

I have read some stuff KV55. What I thought of doing on this thread was tackling a bit at a time. Because we had had a bit of a discussion already on the positioning of the mummy's arms, I thought I might start there.

(1) So was the position of the body that of a 'female' mummy or not? Idea

Your post threw up something particularly interesting, so at the risk of making our posts a bit too wordy ( Laughing):

(2) You said: "I stressed "nearly" earlier because not all agree the man lived as briefly as most of us think. In 1988 two orthodontists from Cairo argued for an age at death in the mid-thirties, but their findings were never widely accepted by colleagues." Why wwere thises guys views discredited? Have later orthodonitists read the situation differently?


Greetings, Orwell. I believe the opinion of the two orthodontists was not widely accepted because teeth alone are not generally enough to round out a reliable age at death. Teeth are certainly an indicator, yes, but not the sum total.

A case in point: wisdom teeth generally erupt in one's later teen years. Therefore, in the X-rays or CT scans of a skull which show the deceased's wisdom teeth still embedded in the jaw, one might state that this individual was probably a teenager when he died. However, it certainly isn't unheard of for the wisdom teeth not to erupt at all. I know two different people for whom this is the case, and they're both middle aged.

So, there you go. One needs more evidence to establish a reliable age at death. (I'm not saying the two orthodontists were commenting on wisdom teeth because frankly I don't know the extent of their conclusions, but it serves as an example.) Examiners like Filer reviewed evidence gleaned from the entire body and arrived at conclusions based on better indicators such as fusion of growth plates.

You asked: "So was the position of the body that of a 'female' mummy or not?"

I should've clarified this from the start, but what exactly do you mean by "female" mummy in the body positioning? What information have you come across about this?

A final note of clarification: It wasn't Vangu who's the windbag. It's me! LOL Vangu was kind enough (not to mention sharp) to point out my own error in the positioning of Tut's body. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lutz wrote:
...

kmt_sesh wrote:
... • This would eliminate identifying the body as that of Akhenaten's, who reigned for 17 years and would've died around his mid-thirties. ...

Why would it eliminate him? Where is the age of death for Akhenaten documented to the point?

Greetings, Lutz.


I think you know this better than I, Lutz, but given factors associated with Akhenaten's reign length, I myself am not familiar with research stating Akhenaten died at age 25 or younger. The majority opinion on the body in KV55 is that this individual was no older than mid-twenties, and in fact may have been younger than that, and I haven't seen sufficient evidence to contradict that (in my own opinion).
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meretseger wrote:
Lutz, Akhenaten was a father at the time of his accession ...

I would like to see the proofs for that statement.

Meretseger wrote:
... The lowest possible age is twenty-nine or thirty. ...

Which would by the way quite fit with Smith (1910 in Davis report, see my quotation).

Meretseger wrote:
... The canopic jars were certainly adapted for male kingly use. Kiya is the general choice as original owner due to traces of her titulary still visible. ...

The canopic vases were originally manufactured without question for Kija. Thus it is however not said they were also used for a funeral of Kija. Me personal the thought is absurdly that the entrails of Kija were removed and entrails of a king were entered after that. Differently it looks with its covers. The Uräus at the forehead is broken off, however its body is received as relief in original on the wig. No referring to additional treatment.

Meretseger wrote:
... The coffin was certainly made for somebody 'Beloved' of Akhenaten not Akhenaten himself.

No, it was without any doubt originally manufactured for Akhenaten. Completely clearly the inscription volumes on cover and lower part (A - G), in the original and invariably, prove this.

Lutz
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meretseger wrote:
Orwell wrote:

(1) So was the position of the body that of a 'female' mummy or not?


The arms seem to have been arranged with one by the side and one over the chest but statuary indicates this was NOT solely a female position as there are more than a few depictions of kings holding both the crook and flail in one hand - the statue of 'Smenkhkara' is a good example of this but there is also one of Ramesses II about whose sex there is no question at all. ...

Therefore it would be probably more correct to speak from two different royal poses. The kings of the 18th - 19th Dynasty are so far us admits were buried with crossed arms on chest or belly. The so-called "lilly position" (the name comes from the cepter of the queen) seems starting for queens (and princesses?) from center / toward end of the 18th Dynasty up. See for that, for example, Dylan Bickerstaffe : Identifying the Royal Mumies - Part 4. - Bristol : Canopus Press, 2009. - page 26.

Meretseger wrote:
... Arm position seems to have varied unpredictably, possibly depending on the embalming workshop used.

As in other place already marked, extremely improbable.

Lutz
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