Saturday, October 22, 2011

Repost: I Give You The Queen

Hatshepsut’s Temple: Deir el-Bahri
A mummy first discovered in 1903 has been identified through the magic of DNA as my favorite Egyptian - Hatshepsut. The mummy is from KV60. Howard Carter (of Tutankhamen fame) discovered the tomb but because it only contained two female mummies and a bunch of broken grave goods, he was not interested.

The tomb was re-opened in 1906 and one mummy removed. That mummy was thought to be a Sit-Ra (royal nurse) to Hatshepsut called In. After that, the tomb was forgotten about until 1990 when the tomb was re-discovered and re-opened. At that point, the other mummy was removed. Here is a pic of the second mummy:

This picture really makes me sad. A part of me really hates seeing any of the bodies removed from their tombs. Just think, in 2000 years that could be you. Yet another reason to be cremated or to have a green burial.

If you are interested in learning about Egyptian tombs, the Theban Mapping Project is a great place to start.

Hatshepsut is my favorite Queen/Pharaoh for many reasons but mostly because she ruled without any major wars. She re-established many trade networks and Egypt became prosperous. Many people thought that her body had been destroyed by her stepson Thutmose III. When he took the throne after her he had her name erased from all records and public buildings. In ancient Egypt the greatest curse a person could use was “may your name be forgotten.”

Hatshepsut was a builder. She built my favorite temple (top). I’ve loved this temple since the first time I saw a picture of it 20-odd years ago. It’s one of the places I really want to see before I die. There are three nice panoramas of the temple here. In the fall of 1997 Verdi’s Aida was performed inside the temple.

Hatshepsut built so much that every major museum has her statuary. The Metropolitan Museum has a room full. Last year they had a special exhibit called: Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh.

Bet they’re smacking their heads right now. If only they’d waited one year they could be right in the middle of all the hype.


A few years ago, Discovery channel showed a documentary on Hatshepsut called Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen. Strangely enough, the picture that they used on the webpage wass from another documentary about the discovery of KV63 in 2006. According to the available preview for that DVD the mummy in that tomb was probably Tutankhamen’s Queen. That would make her Nefertiti’s daughter and no relation at all to Hatshepsut.


Reposts are posts written for previous journals or other places online that no longer exist.

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