Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Keku
Age 21-23 years old(at time of death)
Sex female
Status daughter of Namenekhamun, chief butcher
Height unknown
Culture Egyptian
Date(s) about 2700 years ago
Site Egyptian city of Thebes
Current Location
Location National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands
Catalog #

Keku lived in the later period of the Egyptian civilisation. She lived in Thebes (now Luxor) and was the wealthy daughter of Namenekhamun, chief butcher in the temple complex of the god Amun. She died in her early 20s.


From the east bank of the Nile, where she lived, to the west bank, where Egyptians were buried. Professional mourners would have accompanied her funeral boat across the Nile to the chapel where the "Opening of the Mouth" ceremony would have taken place to allow her spirit to fly out when she reached eternity. The Egyptians did not believe someone's spirit would be "judged" immediately upon death. First a perilous journey through the underworld had to be undertaken, involving boats and ferrymen, gates and gatekeepers, devilish spirits and divine judges. Only with the "Weighing of the Heart" ceremony would Keku learn whether she would be welcomed by Osiris into the afterlife or fed to Ammut, the "Devourer", and her soul cast into eternal darkness.


Her coffin was excavated in the 19th century and taken to the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands, which is lending her to Museum Victoria.

X-rays and cat scans indicate she was aged between 21 and 23.

Computerized tomography and X-ray scans show her heart is intact as well as her brain which is unusual for Egyptian mummies. This could mean that although she had an expensive mummification, it was not the best available.


Disease is the common belief about what caused her death.


Other parts of the coffin are covered with prayers and spells from the Book of the Dead as well as scenes of various gods and goddesses associated with death and the underworld. Someone of Keku's class would have gathered amulets. She would have gathered shabti, the small figures, made of terracotta or faience, which miraculously were to do all Keku's menial jobs in the afterlife. She would have picked the spells she wanted in her inner coffin to ward off evil spirits in the underworld. Keko would prepare for the meeting of Osiris, the chief judge of the underworld to whom she would plead entry into the afterlife.

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