Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who's Buried in KV40?

The recent excavation of Valley of kings tomb KV40 by archaeologists from Basel University and the subsequent reporting of the excavation have left me perplexed by exaggerated reports. In some cases it is being reported that as many as five dozen royal mummies have been found, a sensational find indeed even if the truth appears much less grand.

The mummies are first of all very fragmented including a number among them from a priestly clan of later period. The "royals" include children, perhaps a dozen have been mentioned in inscriptions also some foreign women are mentioned who may or may not be royal .

Indications are about thirty people are mentioned, that does not mean that all the named people are present in the tomb including the mention of two previously unknown princess. The possibility may be that those royals mentioned were removed during the recycling of the Valley of kings at the end of the New Kingdom and that any human remains found may in part or as a whole be the remains of the priestly clan who took over the tomb after its royal use.

Nowhere in the article from Basel University that I have translated and read does it say that five dozen royal mummies have been found. Instead the archaeologists are reporting the presence of the fragmentary remains of 50 people in the tomb including the head pictured which is more likely to be the head of a late period priest.

I look forward to reading more about this find though very little of this excavation likely will find its way to the displays in the Cairo Museum.

University of Basel 

Photo: Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology

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