Monday, March 3, 2008
Unknown Man "E"
This is the mummy I hear called Pentaware but better known as "Unknown man E". Many of the last one hundred and twenty-five years most famous Egyptologist's have believed that this could be the body of this Twentieth Dynasty prince who was found guilty in a conspiracy to kill his father the last great pharaoh of the New Kingdom, Ramses III.
Whatever happened to Ramses history is not entirely clear however ancient papyrus' tell us that the plot was discovered and those found guilty would have faced a death by impalement with exceptions of the most senior conspirators who like the prince were allowed to commit suicide.
A thirty-one-hundred-year-old court document says that the prince was allowed to commit suicide and no further harm came to him. I would like to point out in the case of "Unknown man E" that having a ritually unclean sheepskin laid on top, and buried in a coffin without a name or the needed spells for his well being in the afterlife represents further harm.
In reality, we will probably never know who he is unless of course "Unknown man E" turns out to be Senenmut which because both Senenmut's mother Hatnofer and his father Ramose's mummies have been found may make DNA matching possible. The science of DNA may identify him among the occupants of the royal mummies cache where the box of internal organs and a tooth of Senenmut's King Hatshepsut was found in tomb DB320.
As time erodes the inscription so erodes the memory of but a few notables and his could end up being some other just as colorful character from the New Kingdom who's identity is now lost to history. Each kings court would have how many courtiers ?
Over the 500 years of the New Kingdom, I would expect dozens of courtiers to have left their courts in disgrace including perhaps Akhenaten, Smenkhkara, Bey, High Priest Amenhotep and possibly Senenmut.
Just to mention some of the most important.