Akhenaton's Mummy

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    THE consternation aroused a few weeks ago by the reported discovery that the mummy of Akhenaton exhibited in the Cairo Museum was not that of the famous monarch, and the suggestion that a substitution had taken place, has now been allayed in some degree by the announcement that it is the identity of the mummy that is in question. Dr. D. E. Derry and Mr. Rex Engelbach, curator of the Egyptian Museum, in a joint lecture at Cairo, as reported in the Times of. Jan. 2, have now put forward the view that the mummy hitherto regarded as that of Akhenaton is really that of Smenkara, a son-in-law of Akhenaton, who used the royal name in his cartouche; hence the confusion. This mummy has presented some elements of doubt from the time of its discovery. It was found in 1907 in the Valley of the Kings, in a tomb supposed to be that of Queen Tiyi. When it was examined by Prof. Elliot Smith, the condition of the bones was such as to suggest that they belonged to a young man who, at the time of his death, was not more than twenty-five years of age. As this seemed difficult to reconcile with the known facts that Akhenaton had reigned for seventeen years and had six daughters, Prof. Elliot Smith suggested that the king might have suffered from a rare affection which would have delayed the consolidation of the bones perhaps for as much as ten years beyond the normal (“The Royal Mummies”, pp. 52-53). Dr. Derry, as a result of experience in the examination of the modern Egyptian youth, now thinks that the mummy may be that of an individual of even less than twenty-five years of age, in view of the early age at which maturity is attained in Egypt. Further, the bulbous head, well known in the representations of Akhenaton and taken by Prof. Elliot Smith in the actual skull to be due to a slight degree of hydrocephalus, is regarded by Dr. Derry as a characteristic of Egyptian royalties.

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    Akhenaton's Mummy. Nature 129, 51 (1932) doi:10.1038/129051b0

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