First Published: 2007-06-26

Mummy of Hatshepsut identified

Discovery Channel says finding Hatshepsut mummy one of most important finds in history of Egypt.


Middle East Online

By Alain Navarro - CAIRO

Hatshepsut; powerful female monarch of the ancient world

The centuries-old search for the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman to have reigned as a pharaoh in Egypt, may finally have ended.

According to US-based Discovery Channel, Egypt's antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass will announce at a media conference in Cairo on Wednesday "the most important find in Egypt's Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun" in 1922.

In 1903, archaeologist Howard Carter -- who went on to become famous for his discovery of Tutankhamun-- had discovered two sarcophogi in a tomb known as KV60 in the Theban necropolis, the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

One apparently contained the mummy of Hatshepsut's wet nurse Sitre-In and the other of an unknown female.

Later in 1920, he found the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut but the two sarcophogi it contained were empty.

Discovery Channel, which is to air a documentary about the find, said Hawass was able to narrow the search for Hatshepsut down to the two mummies discovered by Carter in 1903.

He used CT scans to produce detailed 3D images and link distinct physical traits of one of the mummies to that of her ancestors.

Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, declined to comment, but Discovery quoted him as confirming the breakthrough.

"The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt," the channel quoted him as saying.

"Our hope is that this mummy will help shed light on this mystery and on the mysterious nature of her death."

Discovery said a team of archaeologists would now carry out DNA testing on the 3,000 year-old mummy to confirm her identity.

Hatshepsut, daughter of Pharaoh Tuthmosis I who ruled from 1504-1484 BC, was one of the most powerful female monarchs of the ancient world.

After the death of her husband-brother Tuthmosis II, she reigned as regent for his son by a concubine, Tuthmosis III.

But Hatshepsut soon declared herself as pharaoh, donning royal headdress and a false beard.

Soon after her death, her monuments and tomb were demolished by her jealous successor Tuthmosis III and her mummy was thought to be lost forever.


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