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Hatshepsut found?
Posted: 28 June 2007 02:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6244516.stm

‘Find of century’ for Egyptology

Egyptologists say they have identified the 3,000-year-old mummy of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s most powerful female ruler.

Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass made the official announcement at a packed news conference in Cairo.

It is being billed as the biggest archaeological find in Egypt since the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb.

Archaeologists hope the mummy, which has lain unrecognised for decades, will yield clues about the mystery of her death and subsequent disappearance.

Mr Hawass has set up a DNA lab near the museum with an international team of scientists to verify the identification.

The study was funded by the US television channel Discovery which is to broadcast a documentary on the subject in July.

An important piece of the evidence is said to be that the mummy has a missing tooth, and the gap matches exactly an existing relic, a preserved tooth engraved with Hatshepsut’s name.

Difficult process

Some archaeologists have expressed scepticism about the possibility of using DNA technology to identify the queen.

“It’s a very difficult process to obtain DNA from a mummy,” US molecular biologist Scott Woodward was quoted as saying by AP news agency.

“To make a claim as to a relationship, you need other individuals from which you have obtained DNA, to make a comparison between the DNA sequences.”

DNA is the molecule that contains genetic information in all organisms and can be used to establish family relationships.

Obliterated

In modern times, Hatshepsut’s temple was the location of the 1997 Luxor massacre when Islamic militants gunned down 58 foreign tourists, as well as three Egyptian policemen and a tour guide.

Hatshepsut was an important 18th Dynasty ruler in the 15th Century BC, having usurped her stepson, Thutmosis III.

She was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard, and was more powerful than either of her more famous female successors, Nefertiti and Cleopatra.

Hatshepsut’s funerary temple is one of the most visited monuments around the pharaonic necropolis of the Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt.

But after her death, her name was obliterated from the records in what is believed to have been her stepson’s revenge.

The mummy was found in Tomb KV60, said to be one of the more perplexing tombs in the Valley of the Kings because it contained two unidentified mummies, both of them women.

The tomb was first discovered by Howard Carter in 1903, but it had been ransacked in antiquity and he resealed it. It was re-opened in 1906 and one mummy was removed and identified as Sit-ra, royal nurse of Hatshepsut.

The mummy now said to be of Hatshepsut herself was left behind and did not see the light again until 1990.

Speculation that it is was her was fuelled by the fact the mummy’s left arm was bent in a pose thought to mark royal burials and it wore a wooden face-piece (possibly to fit a false beard).

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Posted: 28 June 2007 02:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I must say, she has certainly changed a lot since I last saw her!

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Posted: 28 June 2007 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I thought that this was incredibly cool when I saw it on (French) telly last night. But then that’s just me tongue wink

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Posted: 28 June 2007 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Accipiter - 28 June 2007 06:36 AM

I must say, she has certainly changed a lot since I last saw her!

I didn’t realise you’d lost her…I thought you’d sent her back to her owner last week.

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Posted: 28 June 2007 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Heh. In the article I read about this, it referred to the mummy as “a fat woman in her 50’s who had rotten teeth and died of bone cancer” LOL

Tooth clinches identification of Egyptian queen


By Jonathan Wright

CAIRO (Reuters) - A single tooth has clinched the identification of an ancient mummy as that of Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt about 3,500 years ago, the country’s chief archaeologist said on Wednesday.

The right mummy turned out to be that of a fat woman in her 50s who had rotten teeth and died of bone cancer, Zahi Hawass told a news conference to announce the identification.
Photo

It was found in 1903 in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, where the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun was buried, and Hawass himself thought until recently that it belonged to the owner of the tomb, Hatshepsut’s wet-nurse by the name of Sitre In.

But the decisive evidence was a molar in a wooden box inscribed with the queen’s name, found in 1881 in a cache of royal mummies collected and hidden away for safekeeping at the Deir al-Bahari temple about 1,000 metres (yards) away.

During the embalming process, it was common to set aside spare body parts and preserve them in such a box.

Orthodontics professor Yehya Zakariya checked all the mummies which might be Hatshepsut’s and found that the tooth was a perfect fit in a gap in the upper jaw of the fat woman.

“The identification of the tooth with the jaw can show this is Hatshepsut,” Hawass said. “A tooth is like a fingerprint.”

“It is 100 percent definitive. It is 1.80 cm (wide) and the dentist took the measurement and studied that part. He found it fit exactly 100 percent with this part,” he told Reuters

Continued

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Posted: 28 June 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Here’s a slightly better photo that that supplied by either of the news articles.

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Posted: 28 June 2007 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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She doesn’t appear ‘fat’ to me or to have been ‘fat’ either.  There’s enough flesh to form lips and therefore the jawline is still enough intact to suggest she was not obese at all. 

At the age of 50+ during that time, I’d also be very surprised if she DID NOT have bad teeth.  She’d have already gone through menopause and most of her calcium would have been destroyed…..........

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Posted: 28 June 2007 01:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Not to mention the bits of grit and broken millstone in the bread. By 50 you really shouldn’t have teeth at all tongue wink

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Posted: 28 June 2007 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Well, I am just thrilled to bits. Really—no sarcasm at all. I hope it’s true—how she managed to come to power and stay there, how she fell from power, are such intriguing mysteries, and I’d love to have them at least partly solved.

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Posted: 28 June 2007 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I keep waiting for someone to mention a curse now that they have found her.  I can’t believe Tut was the only one with a curse on his tomb.

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Posted: 28 June 2007 10:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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gray - 29 June 2007 12:39 AM

I keep waiting for someone to mention a curse now that they have found her.  I can’t believe Tut was the only one with a curse on his tomb.

There is a curse.  It’s just a really, really subtle one.  Along the lines of, “Yea, he who disturbs this tomb shall surely die.  Eventually.  At some time.  By some means.  Probably.”

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