Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Egyptology stuff.

In case you were interested.

My interest - which actually isn't as obsessive as you would think, from reading this blog - in Egyptology has always centered around the Amarna Period (1300s, BCE, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty). That's when the pharoah Akhenaten told the priests of all the gods of Egypt to bugger off and founded his own monotheist religion (the first one in history, that we know of), and moved his capital to Amarna and got on with business. His wife was Nefertiti, of the famous looks. His (they think) son was Tutankhamon, who, after his father died, restored the 'old religions' of Egypt, earning him the gratitude of the preist class and an unusually rich burial for Howard Carter to dig up in 1922 CE.

That's the theory, anyway. There's a whole hell of a lot we don't know.

After Akhenaten vanished from history (died of natural causes? murder? deposed? run out of town? we dunno), the priests went through and removed his name from every monument. They leveled Amarna and salted the earth. (Three thousand years later, when it was rediscovered, people still avoided living on the land.) No one knows what happened to Nefertiti. No one knows exactly who the next couple pharoahs were, in relation to Akhenaten and Tut.

A whole lot of not knowing going on. It's the mystery of the whole thing that interests me.

Anyway, in 1907 CE, a hack of an Egyptologist named Theodore Davis (as I recall) excavated a tomb in the Valley of the Kings known as KV55. There were several bodies in it, including two (one male and one female) who were almost definitely of royal status. Names had been hacked off sarcophagi and other grave goods, and no one has ever identified the bodies.

However, thanks to new CT scan technology, they recently took another good look at the male body and they think it might be Akhenaten. (Article here.)

I'm still skeptical. I've heard many cases made for the theory that the body is that of Smenkhkare, a mystery male of the royal family at that time. Because, you see, I've always maintained that when Akhenaten died, the priest class was so angry, they torched his body, thereby making sure he'd never go to their version of heaven, and would die a true death, erased from history AND the afterlife.

Mummy ID is really hit-or-miss, regardless of what some Egyptologists claim. (Good article here. Food for thought on how accurate the rest of the stuff we learn in history class is.)

Still don't know. Might not, ever. But it's interesting. This concludes today's babbling.

If anyone else finds this topic interesting, try KMT. Good stuff.


Bells said...

Oh I love Akenaten. He's a dude!Do you know the theory (admittedly, a very out there theory) that Akhenaten was actually Moses? I heard an Egyptologist and have never gotten around to reading more about it. I remember thinking the theory was fascinating at the time - that whole monotheism thing was the link. I'm gonna go look it up.

Julie said...

I think it's far more likely there were some Hebrew slaves in Egypt at the time, who got the idea of monotheism from there. The timing is right.

Bells said...

You might well be right. But I do love the idea that they might be one and the same. I love those stories.

I always giggle over the fact tummies and enlongated arms that they showed in the paintings from that era.

NeedleTart said...

The Baby got to go to the Tut exhibit in Philly yesterday. He didn't buy the catalog. Sheesh!

Amy Lane said...

You've gotten me all excited about seeing that Discovery channel thing on the Hathesaput (sic) finding... besides, it's a story, and I adore stories of any kind...

Roxie said...

Just started reading The Serpent in the Crown by Elizabeth Peters. Entertaining mystery set in the Carver-Carnarvon period. The whole Amelia Peabody series is great fun!