|Unknown Man E |
|Name(s)||Unknown Man E|
|Age||estimated around 23-24 years of age|
|Date(s)||c. 1518-1504 B.C.|
|Site||Cairo Museum CG61098|
|Location||Egyptian Museum, Cairo|
Found in a royal burial cache near Deir el-Bahri in 1881, five years later, Gaston Maspero, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, was unwrapping the mummies of kings and queens found in the cache. Inside a plain, undecorated coffin that offered no clues as to identity, Maspero found a mummy wrapped in a sheepskin a young man, hands and feet bound with linen strips. The man had not been subjected to traditional mummification.
Speculation about who the unknown man in a royal cache might be was rife. One theory was that a Hittite prince sent to Egypt to marry the widow of Tutankhamun was murdered on the border of Egypt, and it has been suggested that Unknown Man E is that prince, and as a foreigner, was buried in a sheepskin.
Another theory is that Unknown Man E was an important person who died abroad, with no mummification technology available. Local priests did what they could to preserve the body and shipped it home.
The most dramatic speculation by far, however, is that the unknown man was Prince Pentewere, the son of Ramesses III and he was involved in a conspiracy against his father. The conspirators, including Queen Tiy and Pentewere, were caught and either executed or allowed to commit suicide. While circumstantial evidence may add some lustre to this theory, there is still no conclusive proof for any speculation, nor is it particularly reasonable to assume a condemned regicide would be entombed among kings.
The deceased had apparently already dried dried out naturally and twisted and stiffened before mummification treatment could begin. In such circumstances no internal organs were removed,and embalming consisted of applying a natron paste to his skin to assist in further desiccation. The limbs had to be bound with linen strips to fit him into his coffin, not an uncommon practice. Burial in a sheepskin was a common practice with Asiatics in the Levant (Turkey, Syria, etc).
Recent (2018) DNA analysis from the mummy has been linked to King Ramses III, however, it's impossible at this stage to confirm one way or the other, if he could be Prince Pentaware, there's no guarantee that the so called Screaming Mummy wasn't actually Pentaware's brother, legitimate or otherwise.
Sheep skin was used as a shroud which beneath was a layer of natron that was applied to a second layer of bandages. This natron absorbed fat from his body which caused a strong odor. The natron was covered in an adhesive substance which could only be removed with a saw.
His internal organs were not removed after his death therefore slowly shrinking under the dehydrating effect of the chemicals and consequently constricted the abdominal area. There was also evidence he had no food in his digestive system.
Although undecorated, his was a cedar wood coffin, one of the best found in the tomb. His coffin would tend to suggest the 18th dynasty.