Khaemweset Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Khaemweset
Age Unknown
Sex Male
Status Son of Ramesses II
Height Unknown
Culture Ancient Egypt
Date(s) Born: 1282 BC, Memphis, Egypt

Died: 1226 BC

Site Unknown
Current Location
Location The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London
Catalog # Unknown
Khaemweset was a son of Ramesses II and Queen Isetnofret. He was born during the reign of his grandfather Pharaoh Seti I. In about the 13th year of the reign of Seti I, crown-prince Ramesses put down a minor revolt in Nubia. Ramesses took his small sons Amunherwenemef and Khaemweset with him on this military campaign. Khaemweset may have been only 4 years old at this time. Khaemweset and his older brother are shown making a charge on the battle field in a chariot. The events were recorded in scenes in the temple at Beit el Wali.[3]

Khaemweset grew up with his brothers during a time of foreign conflict and he is present in scenes from the Battle of Kadesh, the siege of Qode (Naharin), and the siege of Dapur in Syria. In the battle of Kadesh scenes from year 5 of Ramesses II, Khaemweset is shown leading sons of the chiefs of Hatti before the gods. These princes were prisoners of war. In scenes depicting the battle of Qode, Khaemweset is shown both leading prisoners before his father and serving as an attendant of his father. In year 10 of Ramesses II Khaemweset is present during the battle of Dapur.[4] After this initial period where Khaemweset may have had some military training, or at least was present at the battlefield, he became a Sem-Priest of Ptah in Memphis. This appointment occurred in c. Year 16 of Ramesses II's reign. He would have initially been a deputy to the High Priest of Ptah in Memphis named Huy. During his time as Sem-Priest Khaemweset was quite active in rituals, including the burial of several Apis Bulls at the Serapeum. In year 16 of Ramesses the Apis bull died and was buried in the Serapeum. Funerary gifts were presented by the High Priest of Ptah Huy, Khaemweset himself, his brother Prince Ramesses, and the Vizier Paser. The next burial took place in year 30 and at that time the gifts came from the chief of the treasury Suty and the Mayor of Memphis named Huy. After this second burial Khaemweset redesigned the Serapeum. He created an underground gallery where a series of burial chambers allowed for the burial of several Apis Bulls.[3]


Whilst first exploring the Serapeum of Saqqara between 1851 and 1853, French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette was confronted by a huge rock, which could only move by the use of explosives. Once the shattered remnants of the rock were removed an intact coffin and numerous funerary treasures were discovered which contained the mummy of a man. A gold mask covered his face, and amulets gave his name as Prince Khaemweset, son of Ramesses II and builder of the Serapeum. However these remains have now been lost, and Egyptologists believe that this was not the grave of Khaemweset but were the remains of an Apis Bull made into a human form to resemble the Prince.

The Egyptologist Aidan Dodson is quoted writing in his book "Canopic Equipment from the Serapeum of Memphis":

In spite of its appearance, the mummy proved to be a mass of fragrant resin, containing a quantity of disordered bone. Although frequently stated to be the mummy of Khaemweset, on the basis of its possessing his jewelry, the mass of resin containing bony fragments is far more reminiscent of the undoubted Apis of tombs E and G. Its formation into the simulacrum of a human mummy also finds echo in the anthropoid coffin lids that covered the resinous masses within the sarcophagi of Apis VII and IX, there can thus be no doubt that the burial is actually that of the bull, Apis XIV."[7]

The Waseda University expedition found during earlier excavations the remains of a monument, which may have been Khaemweset’s ‘ka-house’. [8]

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