martes, 23 de febrero de 2010

The Search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut Zahi Hawass

[AE-ES] The Search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut by Zahi Hawass

Queridos todos. Os envío un enlace de un interesante artículo sobre la reina Hatshepsut, escrito por Zahi Hawass. Está en inglés pero se entiende bastante bien. Lamento no haber podido traducirlo pero son quince páginas...

Un abrazo,

Mummy M.

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The Search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut Zahi Hawass

Egyptologist and Secretary General of the

Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities

The search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut began in January 2006. We approached

the collection of data from two directions. First, we used a CT scanner which is now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo to take thousands of images of a group of unidentified female mummies which might have belonged to the great queen. We hoped that this information, which we assembled into a database, could be compared with historical and archaeological evidence to produce a tentative identification.

Second, we studied the mummies believed to belong to Hatshepsut’s closest relatives – Ahmose-Nefertari (Fig.1), Thutmose I (Fig.2), Thutmose II (Fig.3), and Thutmose III (Fig.4).

In addition to performing CT-scans of this second group of remains, we began an attempt to apply DNA analaysis to establish the identity of Hatshepsut’s mummy by genetic comparison with those of her family members. A DNA laboratory was set up for the project in the basement of the Cairo Museum with equipment donated by the Discovery Channel as a condition of their production of a documentary film on the search for the lost queen. This laboratory is the first in the world to be dedicated exclusively to research on ancient mummies.

The group of unidentified female mummies which were the subject of the first part of our research are from three tombs: DB320 (Fig.5), KV35 (Fig.6), and KV60 (Fig.7,8). The first two of these tombs were used as caches where the mummies of earlier New Kingdom royalty were hidden by priests during the 21st Dynasty. The priests relocated the royal mummies from their original tombs to protect them, after the Valley of the Kings was plundered by robbers. Earlier we had scanned two mummies from KV35: the so-called “Elder Lady” thought to be the mummy of Queen Tiye, and the “Younger Lady” identified by some as the mummy of Nefertiti. We were able to rule them out as candidates for the mummy of Hatshepsut, for reasons that will be explained in a later discussion which will also include a study of the mummy from KV55, the “Amarna Cache”. For the Hatshepsut project, we scanned Unknown Woman A from DB 320 (Fig.5), which is known as the “screaming mummy” because its mouth gapes open as if frozen in a scream. Many people have suggested that its distorted facial features indicate that the woman suffered a traumatic death. From KV35 came the mummy known as Unknown Woman D (Fig.6), which was moved to the Egyptian Museum by Howard Carter.

It was known that Howard Carter had discovered two mummies in the tomb in the Valley of the Kings known as KV60 in 1903 (Fig.7,8). One of them, a small woman, lay in a coffin inscribed with the second part of the name of Hatshepsut’s wet-nurse, Sitre-In. The second, that of an obese older woman, lay uncoffined on the floor. In 1906, Edward Ayrton recleared the tomb and moved the wet-nurse’s coffin to the Egyptian Museum, along with the mummy it contained. I was able to locate them in storage on the Museum’s third floor. They had never been photographed or mentioned in any scientific publication.

Ayrton left the mummy of the obese woman, KV60-A (Fig.8), in the tomb, where it was re-examined by Donald Ryan in 1989. Almost from the beginning, this mummy seemed the most likely candidate; in fact, in 1966, Elizabeth Thomas had suggested Hatshepsut as a possible identification. KV60 lies directly below KV20, Hatshepsut’s original burial place. We know that the priests of the 21st Dynasty first relocated the royal mummies to tombs near their original resting places before depositing them in the caches. KV60 seemed a likely place to look for the queen’s remains, because of its well-hidden location, and the success of the builders in hiding the tomb’s entrance. In addition, Ryan discovered a number of coffin fragments inside, including one portion of a face with an indentation under the chin into which a false beard could have been fitted, an indication that the remains of a royal burial had lain in the tomb. I had KV60-A (Fig.9) brought to the Museum to be included in the study. Dr. Ashraf Selim, Professor of Radiology at Cairo University, performed CT-scans of all of these mummies with the assistance of Dr. Hany Abdel Rahman, a specialist in the operation of the equipment. They obtained fascinating results. Here, I will detail those findings that pertain to KV60-A.

The mummy known as KV60-A (Fig.10) is that of a woman about 159 cm tall, who died around the age of 50. She was obese in life, to the extent that her body had to be eviscerated for embalming through the pelvic floor rather than through the normal abdominal incision. Her brain, like those of the other mummies we examined as part of this study, was not extracted but left inside the skull. The mummy’s teeth were in extremely poor condition, showing varying degrees of rarefaction and resorption around their roots. Most of the teeth contained caries, and some had broken crowns. The right upper 7th tooth was absent, although the root was still embedded in the jaw. The poor condition of the mummy’s mouth, along with its obesity, raises the possibility of diabetes mellitus. The thorax was in good condition, and the heart could be visualized. A soft tissue mass in the pelvis, which arose from the left iliac bone and was eroding both of its surfaces, indicates that the woman suffered from metastatic disease, further evidence of which may be seen in the rarefaction of the bones of the spine. A large perineural cyst was also on the left side of the spine.

The next step was to scan the mummies thought to belong to Hatshepsut’s close relatives, in order to identify physical features common to the members of the family, and to perform DNA analysis to find genetic similarities among them (Fig.11).

We began with the mummy thought to be that of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut’s father. The identification of this mummy has been in question for some time. We know that it was found in DB320, inside a set of two nested coffins. It is widely accepted that these coffins were made during the 18th Dynasty and reused for Pinudjem I, whose inscriptions can be seen in spite of the damage the coffins suffered when the gold which covered their surfaces was removed with an adze. In 1909, Daressy noted the cartouche of Thutmose I on the outer coffin, in the center of the lid. Winlock repeated this observation in 1929, and added that based on measurements of the two coffins he felt that they had been made as a set. Reeves states that both coffins were made for Thutmose I and reused by Pinudjem, but also states that “in their finished state, the original ownership was wholly undetectable.” It is important that we re-examine these coffins.

The presence of the cartouche, along with the style of mummification (which dated the mummy to the 18th Dynasty), led to the suggestion that the mummy was that of thutmose I Thutmose. Maspero felt that the mummy’s facial features were similar to those of Thutmose II and Thutmose III. However (Fig.2,3), its arms are by its sides and not crossed over its chest, the normal position for royal mummies after Amenhotep I. Previous examinations suggested that the mummy was as young as 18 or 19, while Thutmose I is thought, based on inscriptions to have died around the age of 50. Our CT-scans confirmed that the mummy is not that of Thutmose I. We learned that the mummy’s owner had in fact died between the ages of 25 and 35. In addition the scan showed a dense, triangular object, which proved to be a metal arrowhead about 2 cm in length. The arrowhead is embedded in the mummy’s right hemithorax. The surrounding portion of the chest cavity appears denser than on the left-hand side, the probable result of hematoma caused by the arrow wound. A few other small, dense, metallic objects can be seen in the mummy’s torso. We have no historical records indicating that Thutmose I died in battle, yet another indication that this mummy is not that of Hatshepsut’s father.

The identifications of the mummies of Thutmose II (Fig.3), Hatshepsut’s half-brother and husband, and Thutmose III (Fig.4), her nephew and stepson, are more secure. Our CT-scan of Thutmose II (Fig.12) revealed that he stood about 168 cm tall, and died around the age of 40. His teeth were good, but he apparently suffered from an enlarged heart, which may have been the cause of his death. The scan of the mummy of Thutmose III (Fig.13) showed that he lived to the age of about 50. His nasal turbinates were very small, an indication that he suffered from a condition known as atrophic rhinitis.

I thought that we should study the features of KV60-A (Fig.14) in comparison with those of each of the mummies thought to belong to Hatshepsut’s male relatives. The radiologists placed frontal and profile views of the heads of all four mummies side- by side, and measured the following features of each:

1. Zygomatic bone

2. Zygomaticofrontal bony ridge

3. Cheek bones

4. Mandibular ramus

5. Mandibular angle

6. Chin

7. Nasal bridge

8. Overbite

9. Forehead

Comparison of the measurements revealed that the mummies of Thutmose II and Thutmose III bore a striking resemblance to one another, sharing a mild overbite (a noted Thutmosid family characteristic), a prominent zygomaticofrontal ridge, narrow cheekbones, thin mandibular rami, obtuse mandibular angles, shallow nasal bridges, and narrow foreheads. The mummy previously identified as Thutmosis I differed considerably from the other two male mummies, having no overbite; wide cheekbones, forehead, and chin; a smooth zygomaticofrontal ridge; broad mandibular ramus; and a more vertical mandibular angle. Interestingly, the mummy thought to be Thutmose I differs from those of Thutmose II and Thutmose III in many features, like the teeth, cheekbones, jaw, and forehead. KV60-A was similar to the mummy of “Thutmose I” in some features, but in others she resembled those of Thutmose II and Thutmose III much more closely. Like the father and stepson of Hatshepsut, KV60-A had a mild overbite and prominent zygomaticofrontal ridge. Her cheekbones, chin, and forehead, however, were wider by comparison, and her nasal bridge was wider than that of any of the three male mummies. It is very difficult on the basis of this side-by-side comparison of the four faces confidently to confirm or rule out family relationships between KV60-A and the male mummies.

While we were performing the CT-scans of the mummies, I thought it would be interesting to place some of the objects associated with Hatshepsut on the machine to see if anything, not visible to the naked eye, might appear. I started with an alabaster vessel of uncertain provenance, inscribed for the queen. It is empty, and nothing of interest appeared on the scan. One evening, I told my assistant to bring a wooden box in the Museum’s collection (Fig.15). This box is inscribed with the throne and birth names of Hatshepsut. Found in DB320, it contains a bundle lying freely within. It had been thought for some time that this bundle might contain the queen’s embalmed liver. The CT-scan (Fig.16) showed the bundle as a smooth, oval-shaped object. In the absence of comparable scans of known embalmed viscera, and without some previous idea of what the bundle might have contained, it would have been quite difficult to identify these structures. The radiologists agreed, however, that they can plausibly be interpreted as an embalmed liver and perhaps an intestine.

The scan also revealed a big surprise embedded in the resin which surrounded the bundle: a small, dense object which, when examined more closely, proved to be a single molar tooth. Smaller dense fragments in the resin could be the root missing from the tooth. We brought in a dentist, Dr. Galal El-Behri from Cairo University, who studied the tooth in detail. The thing that made it so intriguing was that KV60-A was, as mentioned previously, missing a molar (Fig.17), the 7th upper right tooth. The shape and size of the tooth from the box corresponded with the socket in the mummy’s jaw. Moreover, the density of the loose tooth corresponded with the density of the remaining molars. It seemed that the missing tooth from KV60-A found its way into the box located in DB320. In the area of the missing molar in the mummy’s mouth, there are visible signs of inflammation due to an abscess which could be seen in both the soft tissue around the tooth and in the upper maxillary bone. The presence of this inflammation shows that the tooth was extracted before death. Considering that the person was suffering from progressive neoplasia in a progressed stage, an abscess of this type in the absence of antibiotics could easily have been the cause of death. I believe that the priests of the 21st or 22nd Dynasty moved the box from KV60 to DB320, and that they intended to move the mummies of the queen and her nurse as well. For reasons we do not know, however, they never made the transfer. Now we do have evidence that KV60-A is the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut.

We can conclude, regarding her health, that:

1. She suffered from arthritis of the spinal column, which would have caused back pain.

2. She suffered from osteoporosis.

3. She had a slipped disk between the lumbar and sacral spines, and suffered from painful compression of the nerves which extended to her lower body.

4. Since she was obese, with inflammatory processes in the mouth, she may have suffered from diabetes.

5. The fact that she was ill from a malignant tumor is very important. It was a tumor of a couple of centimeters in the left part of her hip, with a vast area of destroyed bone, compromising the tissues and muscles surrounding the left gluteal region.

When the Discovery Channel approached me to produce a documentary about my search for Hatshepsut, I asked them in return to build a DNA lab in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. I had always been opposed to DNA-testing, because there was no facility dedicated entirely to ancient mummies, and the work performed in labs, which handled other types of research had been shown to have an error rate of up to 40%. I was concerned that if DNA studies were performed in one of those existing labs, it would open the mummies up to the speculation of amateurs, who because of their wealth would be able to promote their strange theories. Now, however, we have a DNA laboratory in the Egyptian Museum itself. We can say that a dedicated scientific facility exists where the study of Egyptian mummies can be controlled by scholars, with the necessary background, to interpret the results of DNA analysis. We are in the process of building a second lab, which will allow us to replicate our results for even greater certainty.

The lab staff, led by Dr. Yehia Zakaria Gad of the Egyptian National Research Center, received extensive training in the use of the Applied Biosystems 3130 Genetic Analyzer donated by the Discovery Channel. Applied Biosystems applications specialists Elias Arnaout, Dr. Pieter Van Oers, and Dr. Nicola Oldenroyd, as well as Dr. Angelique Corthals, instructed the lab staff in the use of the equipment and assay kits needed to perform DNA analysis of the mummies. One of these kits, the Minifiler, is a state-of-theart kit developed specifically for the analysis of highly degraded samples.

Previous sampling of mummies for DNA analysis was highly invasive. The team found nine 3 mm drill-holes in the mummy of “Thutmose I” left by investigators from Brigham Young University. Our study relied on a much less invasive sampling procedure, which used a narrow bone-biopsy needle to retrieve multiple samples from the same puncture hole. Samples were taken from the mummies of Hatshepsut and her wet-nurse, and from the mummies of “Thutmose I” and Ahmose-Nefertari (Fig.1), the matriarch of the Thutmosid family. In spite of the well-recognized difficulty of working with highly degraded ancient DNA, the team was able to retrieve and amplify mitochondrial DNA from the mummies of Hatshepsut and Ahmose-Nefertari, which were sufficiently complete to allow the initial conclusion that they showed some genetic similarity. A great deal of work remains to be done in the area of DNA analysis, including further efforts to amplify the fragile nuclear DNA sequences that may inform us more about the relationships between Hashepsut and her male relatives.

The results of the search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut can be summarized as follows:

· The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut was identified as KV60-A (Fig.8) by the tooth found in the box bearing the queen’s names. The tooth, and the root attached to it, perfectly fit a socket and root in the mouth of KV60-A. The match is supported by the comparison of mitochondrial DNA with the mummy of Ahmose-Nefertari.

· The Queen was not murdered, and we can completely disregard the theory that Thutmose III destroyed her monuments upon his accession. The theory that the destruction took place at the end his reign and the beginning of the reign of his son, Amenhotep II,seems even more plausible than before, now that we know that the queen’s mummy was not damaged, but left in good condition. Hatshepsut’s Red Chapel at Karnak shows the queen performing the heb-sed race, along with her coronation and participation in offerings to Amun at the Opet festival and the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. She is shown in many of these scenes together with Thutmose III. The chapel probably begun during her reign and finished during that of her stepson. The defacement of her image and cartouches in the chapel was never completed, further evidence that the destruction of her memory carried out at the end of Thutmose III’s reign was not an indication of vengeful rage.

· We are now sure that the mummy in the Egyptian Museum thought to be that of Thutmose I is not, in fact, the mummy of the King.

1. The position of the arms beside the body is not that of a royal mummy.

2. The mummy’s facial features do not match those of the Thutmosid family.

3. We found an arrowhead in the chest of the mummy, which shows that this man was killed in battle.

4. The mummy’s owner died around the age of 30.

5. The mummy was discovered inside the two coffins which, as we discussed previdusly may or may not have belonged to Thutmose I.

The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut will be moved with that of her wet-nurse to the Royal Mummies Room in the Egyptian Museum, with the information of our investigation displayed next to them. I believe that the CT-scan machine and the DNA laboratory will open up a new era in the study and identification of Egyptian mummies.

Fig. 1: The mummy of Queen Ahmose-Nefertari.

Fig. 2: The mummy of King Thutmose I

Fig. 3: The mummy of King Thutmose II.

Fig. 4: The mummy of King Thutmose III.

Fig. 5: The so-called “Screaming Mummy”

Fig. 6: “Unknown Woman D” from KV 35.

Fig. 7: The mummy of Hatshepsut’s wet-nurse.

Fig. 8: The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut.

Fig. 9: The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut in KV 60.

Fig. 10: CT-scanning Queen Hatshepsut’s mummy.

Fig. 11: Examining Hatshepsut’s mummy before taking DNA samples.

Fig. 12: 3D photo of Thutmose II skull, as shown by the CT- scan machine.

Fig. 13: Thutmose III.

Fig.14: Hatshepsut.

Fig. 15: The wooden box of Queen Hatshepsut.

Fig. 16: CT images of the wooden box (bottom right) and the molar found inside.

Fig. 17: The jaws of Queen Hatshepsut’s mummy, with the missing molar indicated.

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