Saturday, 26 September 2009

New theory on Tutankamun's parents but will Zahi back it?

Heads up from one of my readers who attended a recent lecture. Apparently for the last 6 months, Zahi Hawass has been scanning and taking DNA from mummies. And he is going to make a big announcement this month about Tutankhamen's parents.

The lecturer in question gave an interesting theory on who he believes to be Tutankhamen's parents. - Amenhotep III and Queen Sitamun. Claiming that Akhenaton was actually his brother! It was all based on a co-regency theory, and it also backs up the inscriptions that were from Tutankhamen-claiming that Amenhotep was his father.

Anyone got any more details or any comments!!!!! (Stands back and puts on flame proof suit)


Lady Neferankh said...

Hmm, I don't know, I always just thought the time frame made it unlikely that he was Amonhotep III's son, and I have read that inscriptions referring to him a "father" could also mean a respected direct male ancestor. Then there's the fact that if Tutankhamon were indeed the son of Sitamon, or some other prominent royal woman, wouldn't there have been some mention of this in the artifacts of his tomb, in monuments (despite the brevity of his reign), or in other artifacts recovered at Thebes or Amarna?

Given the fact that many pharaohs would do something to commemorate and honor their mothers, even those who had only been non-royal secondary wives, I think it would be even more more likely in the case of an Egyptian princess. Especially given that after moving the court back to Thebes, there was an effort to stress Tutankhamon's "traditional" ties. But as it is, all I have read claims that by Akhenaten's reign, Sitamon seems to pretty much drop out of sight. For this and other factors, the scenario just doesn't seem likely.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty interested in hearing what the big announcement will be!

tim said...

Hi Jane

I am one of those who believe in a fairly long co regency between Amenhotep III and his heretic son Akhenaten so that Amenhotep's year 37 may be the same as Akhenaten's year 12.

Should this be accurate than Amenhotep III may well have fathered Tutankhamen during the last two years of his life. The remaining 5-6 years of Akhenaten's reign and the short reign of 1-3 years of Smenkara would leave Tutankhamen at about the right age the boy king took the throne at about 9.

Having said that however the Kv55 skeletons identity has yet to be 100% verified it could be either Akhenaten or Smenkara and the remains identified as Amenhotep III is at least an anomaly of mummification of that period and some doubt it to be that king but may actually be the heretic king Akhenaten identified as his father for the protection of his remains.

Searching for the candidates to be King Tutankhamen's mother queens of the age like Sitamun, Iset, Nefertiti and Kiya being all potential to be Tutankamen's mother. I for one would be impressed if even one of these queens is to be found in the handful of appropriate surviving female mummies from the royal collection.

I would no doubt be in need of more evidence in order to form relational DNA conclusions especially since the mummies who left their DNA probably do not exist anymore. No the best factor of identification most likely lies among some to be discovered inscription " she who has borne the mighty bull Tutankhamen".

Kate Phizackerley said...

Being forever remembered was important to the Ancient Egyptians. Using DNA to restore memory of Tutankhamun's parents is probably about the most respectful thing Egyptology has done for the past century.

Every theory I've read assumes without questioning it, and that's always dangerous and sloppy scholarship. Akhenaten changed so many things, why couldn't that also have included the traditions of male succession? I'm not saying he did, but he could have done and we wouldn't know. Tutankhamun waa also the last king to come to the throne on the basis of Amarnan succession practices. For instance legitimacy could have been established solely by marrying one of the royal women. Merely marrying Ankhesenpaaten could have been all it took.

The lecture could be right but if so he's lucky because there's a big assumption in his logic.


M7 said...

very interesting idea. Tutankhamon said he was "son of Amonhotep3" on his monument, and "son of a king." Sitamun as wife/daughter of A3 and mother of Tut, (both are siblings genetically) is different than Smenkhkare and Meritaton (also siblings). The ages of the mummies vary; some claim kv55 is Smenkhkara, or a young A3.