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Egyptian queen’s mummy ID’d based on tooth 

June 28, 2007
Staff and wire reports

Egyp­tol­o­gists be­lieve they have iden­ti­fied the mum­my of Hat­shep­sut, the most fa­mous queen to rule an­cient Egypt, found in a hum­ble tomb in Egypt’s Val­ley of the Kings.

Egypt’s chief ar­chae­o­lo­gist, Zahi Hawass, held a news con­fer­ence in Cai­ro on Wednes­day to announce the find.

An un­i­den­ti­fi fe­male mum­my from tomb KV60, lat­er iden­ti­fied as Hat­shep­sut. ( Im­age cour­te­sy Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel)


Ar­chae­o­lo­gists said the mum­my was one of two fe­males found in 1903 in a small tomb be­lieved to be that of Hat­shep­sut’s wet-nurse, Sitre In.

Sev­er­al Egyp­tol­o­gists have spec­u­lat­ed over the years that one of the mum­mies was that of the queen, who ruled from be­tween 1503 and 1482 BC—at the height of an­cient Egypt’s pow­er.

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

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. He found that the tooth was a per­fect fit in a gap in the up­per jaw of one of the two fe­males, a fat wom­an be­lieved to have suf­fered from can­cer and dia­be­tes. “The iden­ti­fi­cation of the tooth with the jaw can show this is Hat­shep­sut,” Hawass said. “A tooth is like a fin­ger­print.”

Egyptolo­gist Eliz­a­beth Thom­as spec­u­lat­ed many years ago that one of the mum­mies was Hat­shep­sut’s be­cause the po­si­tion­ing of the right arm over the wom­an’s chest sug­gested roy­al­ty. It was sup­posed that the mum­my might have been hid­den in the tomb for safe­keep­ing be­cause her step­son and suc­ces­sor, Tuth­mo­sis III, tried to ob­lit­er­ate her mem­o­ry.

More powerful than Cleopatra or Nefertiti, Hat­shep­sut stole the throne from her young step­son, dressed her­self as a man and in an un­prece­dented move de­clared her­self pha­raoh. Though her reign was pros­perous, her leg­acy was sys­tem­atically erased: rec­ords were des­troyed, mo­nu­ments razed and her corpse re­moved from her tomb. Her death is shrouded in mystery.

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Egyptologists believe they have identified the mummy of Hatshepsut, the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt, found in a humble tomb in the Valley of the Kings, an archaeo logist said on Monday.