Saturday, March 27, 2010

More on the Tutankhamun/ Akhenaten DNA debate

Dylan Bickerstaffe's Exploring Ancient Lands

Thanks to Kate Phizackerly for linking to Dylan Bickerstaff's article. As regular visitors to this blog will know, Kate challenged the identification of the KV55 mummy as Akhenaten. In Kate's words Dylan Bickerstaff has taken a "a less scientific and more accessible approach" than Kate's, and has added a number of observations which add real value to the discussion. It is a really excellent overview of both the context of the DNA research and the current state of knowledge. Here are the introductory paragraphs:

A lot of questions have been raised by the recent announcement by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) of the results of DNA tests on certain of the royal mummies in the collection of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Here I outline both developments leading up to the publication of the results, and the discussions that followed. Those wishing to read more detailed discussions of the background evidence on the royal mummies may do so in my book Identifying the Royal Mummies, references to which are provided in the notes.

The Egyptian SCA had always resisted calls for the DNA testing of mummies,1 until it could be performed in Egypt, and in June 2007 a DNA laboratory was attached to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. As a second laboratory was required to validate the results, another was constructed nearby at Cairo University, opening in June 2009.

The construction of the second lab was partly prompted by the scepticism over the value of DNA tests conducted at the time that one of two female mummies from tomb KV60 was identified as Hatshepsut. The two KV60 females were found laid-out with the left hand on the chest and the right arm straight down by the side – a pose sometimes believed to be associated with queens – and the association with Hatshepsut was made because one of the mummies lay in a coffin base bearing the title and name, ‘Great Royal Nurse, In’, who might be the same In-Sitre, a wet-nurse of Hatshepsut, known from a statue discovered at Deir el Bahari.

For more information about Dylan Bickerstaff see the biography on his website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great thats awsome