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Akhenaten
Human Mummy
Akhenaten
Biographical Information
Name(s) Akhenaten, Akhenaton, Amenhotep IV
Age late thirties
Sex Male
Status Pharaoh
Height Unknown
Source
Culture Eighteenth dynasty
Date(s) c. death 1336 BC or 1334 BC
Site unknown
Current Location
Location
Catalog #
He was born Amenhotep, and was probably the younger son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. In 1352 BC, Akhenaten, a teenager at the time, ascended the throne and was crowned at Karnak, succeeding his father under the name Amenhotep IV, the tenth King of the 18th Dynasty. The beginning of his reign marked no great change from his predecessors. By the fifth or sixth year of his reign, however, he changed his name to Akhenaten and began a policy of sweeping reforms that sent the Egyptian empire into turmoil. He is best known, however, for his religious reforms, replacing the traditional polytheism of Egypt with a monotheism centered on Aten, the god of the solar disc. Since most of his reforms were introduced with force, and disturbed the balance of power and influence, they were met with strong resistance. He seemed particularly interested in suppressing the worship of Amen in Thebes and moved the capital to a location now known as Tel el-Amarna.

All of his changes to established lifeways were possibly no more than a move to lessen the political power of the priesthood. The Pharaoh, not the priests, became the sole link between the people and the god Aten which effectively put an end to the power of many temples. It is generally accepted that Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti had six daughters; Meritaten, Meketaten, Ankhenspaaten, Neferneferuaten, Neferneferure and Setepenre, as no son was ever shown in the many reliefs depicting the family.

Akhenaten died about 1334 BC, probably in the 16th or 17th year of his reign, putting him in his thirties at the time of his death. He was buried at his new capital, Amarna initially but it is almost certain that his body did not remain at there. It has been suggested that he was reburied in the notoriously mysterious tomb KV55 in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes, though other possibilities are just as likely.

His remains have never been positively identified.

After Akhenaten's death, the temples of Aten and many of his buildings and monuments were demolished, Egypt returned to polytheism and the capitol to Thebes.


Studies

Most think that KV55 was in fact used for the reburial of a mummy and funerary equipment that had originally been interred in a royal tomb or tombs at El-Amarna. Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine which of the many names found on the objects in the tomb belonged to the skeletal remains found in the gilded wooden coffin.

The linguist Sir Alan Gardiner argued that the titles showed that the coffin had been made for Akhenaten. Other scholars, however, have noted that the inscriptions were altered at some point, and it has been suggested that the coffin’s occupant might not be its original owner. Most agree that it is a male.

Pathology

The bones belong to a male, with an elongated skull. This trait is found in artistic representations of Akhenaten and his family, and can also be seen in the mummy of Tutankhamun, who may have been Akhenaten’s son. In addition, the KV55 mummy shares a blood type with Tut; studies have indicated that the remains from the Amarna Cache belonged to an individual closely related to Tutankhamun.

Most previous forensic studies have concluded that the skeleton belonged to a man who died in his early 20s, or at the latest about 35. Historical sources indicate that Akhenaten must have been well over 30 at his death. The majority of Egyptologists, therefore, are inclined to believe that the KV55 mummy is that of Smenkhkare, likely father, son, or brother to Tutankhamun. Smenkhkare ruled 1338-1336 BC. .


External Links

http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk/cairo%20museum/cm,%20burials/pages/egpytian_museum_cairo_2066.htm


https://www.guardians.net/hawass/articles/Mystery%20of%20the%20Mummy%20from%20KV55.htm


References

Weigall, A. (1922). The mummy of Akhenaton. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 8(3/4), 193-200.

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