Amenophis I was re-bandaged with good vibes | Culture


Amenophis I, the second pharaoh of the brilliant 18th dynasty (1570-1293 BC) of the Egyptian New Kingdom, had a second chance to live forever after his mummy was mistreated and desecrated by cunning and disbelieving rumba thieves. Four centuries after his original burial, perhaps somewhere in the Valley of the Kings although the location of his burial is still unknown, pious priests of the 21st Dynasty of the Third Intermediate Period restored his very battered mummy, decapitated and partially dismembered, and the They made everything possible so that she could continue her dream rocked in the oceans of time. The religious did it with exquisite love and respect, making a loving effort to repair the damage to the embalmed body. It has now been revealed, no less carefully, by unrolling it virtually, layer by layer, a new investigation by means of three-dimensional computed tomography of the famous mummy, one of the famous 22 kings and queens from the collection of the old Egyptian Museum in the square. Tahrir that on April 3 were transferred to the new Museum of Civilization in a golden parade, with the mask of Amenophis I, precisely, as an icon.

The study, which has yielded impressive 3D images and signed, in that order, by the Egyptian radiologist Sahar Saleem, a specialist in paleoradiology and the researcher who discovered the knife wound in the throat of the mummy of Ramses III, and the Egyptologist Zahi Hawass (this time in unusual background), was published on December 28 in Frontiers of medicine And although it does not contain sensational revelations (perhaps that is why Hawass, the old sand fox, leaves the preeminence to his colleague) it does provide some very interesting data on the way in which the body of Amenophis I was treated.

The pharaoh’s mummy is one of the fifty kings, queens, relatives and nobles found in the Deir el-Bahari cache (DB320) in the Theban necropolis in 1881, where they had been relocated by the priests of antiquity to preserve them from the looters who turned the cemeteries of ancient Thebes (today Luxor) into an unsafe place for old and vulnerable bodies. There the mummies remained, painstakingly restored, safe until they were located in 1860 by a new generation of thieves, the Abd el-Rasul family. Fortunately, they did not have time to fully predate them again, and the envoy for the Antiquities Service of the time, Émile Brugsch, was able to rescue them and transfer them to Cairo. Amenophis I, with the other royal mummies, was welcomed in the old museum of Bulaq, then in facilities in Giza and in 1902 he moved to what would be his home for more than a century (which does not have to be that long for a mummy either): the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

The director of Egyptian antiquities at that time, Gaston Maspero, decided, contrary to current scientific custom, not to unwrap the pharaoh’s mummy, not because he feared a curse, but because he found it extraordinarily beautiful: he wears a beautiful mask of cardboard, cardboard (paste made of a mixture of papyrus and linen with plaster and water) surmounted by a cobra and with a wooden plate on top on which the face of the deceased is painted in yellow, with eyebrows and black outline of the eyes, which are made of quartz with obsidian pupils. The entire mummy, placed in a coffin in which the priests had written down the name and detailed the vicissitudes of the (re) embalming, was covered with garlands of flowers (a bit more worn now). Thus, the mummy of Amenophis I (king from 1525 to 1505 BC) is the only mummy of a New Kingdom pharaoh that has remained intact since it was re-wrapped after its sack by priests three thousand years ago.

X-rays in 1937 and 1967

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It is not the first time, however, that modern science has delved into the mummy. In 1937 Duglas Derry examined it with X-rays and in 1967 it was done again, with more precision, by a team from the University of Michigan. What has now been revealed by the modern scanner (with a Swiss software by the way called OsiriX), within the framework of the project to scan all royal mummies, does not provide any notable new discoveries and in the researchers’ report they are seen to balance for present news. The pharaoh’s girdle with gold beads, the charms, the teeth in good condition, the penis circumcised and bandaged independently, the damage to the body caused by the thieves and tried to repair, and even the wasp found in the coffin were things already known. Also this time it has not been possible to find out the cause of death, as there is no evidence of injuries or illnesses. The pharaoh seemed to be in good health, despite the fact that he was definitely dead.

The mummy of Amenophis I.
The mummy of Amenophis I.

Be that as it may, the new analysis, carried out in May 2019 in the scanner placed in a truck in the gardens of the Cairo museum, has allowed us to delve into everything, refine, scrutinize more thoroughly and obtain that image of the delicacy with which the priests they repaired the mummy. In fact, Saleem and Hawass themselves believed that the process of re-bandaging the mummies had some interested reuse and that the priests used the ancient grave goods to bury themselves or their patrons. But the study has shown that the restoration of the dead was done with great mercy, reintegrating elements and adding new ones to dignify the pharaoh and restore his funerary splendor. Jewelery and charms were not spared (in the mummy there are more than 30). Come on, he was treated very well and with very good will, they resold it, and worth the expression, very good vibes.

Amenophis (“Amen is satisfied”, throne name Djeserkera, “holy is the name of Ra”), establishes the study, he measured 1.69 meters and was about 35 years old when he died (previous investigations gave between 40 and 50 the first and 25 the second). The pharaoh resembled his father (although the similarities in the mummies are debatable), Ahmose or Amosis I, founder of the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. He had a discreet nose (nothing to do with that of the Ramésidas), small ears (the right one with an earring), a narrow chin, curly hair (tufts have been seen on the nape and temples) and slightly protruding upper teeth, which which gives him a rabbit air like his descendant Tutankhamun. The teeth were better than those of many living today: with minimal wear, without cavities or periodontitis and with all the pieces, up to the third molars.

The king was gutted and his entrails were removed through a vertical incision on his left side, although his heart was left, next to which an amulet was placed. His brain was also kept: the excess was already popular (?) In the 18th dynasty although it was not done to Tuthmosis II, III and Hatshepsut either. All the mutilations on the body are post-mortem and apparently caused by looters, who left the body in an eccehomo. In fact, the restorers did the rest trying to put the pieces together: the decapitated head was repositioned with resinous bandages to reattach it to the body, a hole in the abdominal wall was covered with bandages and two charms were inserted, as well as two fingers of the left hand that had been detached and who knows why they decided they would be better preserved there, and a wooden splint with nails was placed to fix the disarticulated toes of the right foot. Some of the original bands were kept. All of this was done not just once but twice, the first in the time of the high priest of Amun in Thebes Pinedjem I and the second a decade later by his son (such were the high priests of Amun), Masaherta.

Amenophis I, son of the great queen Ahmose Nefertari, of whom he was co-regent, reigned for a quarter of a century and is not a pharaoh about whom we have much information. He campaigned in Cush (where, according to records, “His Majesty captured that Nubian troglodyte in the midst of his army”) and Libya, and undertook a comprehensive construction plan that includes the Temple of Amun at Karnak. He was not succeeded by his son, but by a military man married to his daughter, Tuthmosis I. Amenophis I was worshiped in Deir el Medina, so it may have had to do with the choice of the Valley of the Kings as the royal necropolis of the dynasty.

As has been said, it is unknown where his grave is (see Searching For The Lost Tombs of Egypt, by Chris Naunton, Thames & Hudson, 2018), although several have been attributed to him, including an uninscribed and ruined one excavated by Howard Carter himself at Dra Abu el Naga (where the pharaohs of the 17th dynasty were buried), to the another side of the Valley of the Kings, and also a small grave in it, KV39, looted, and investigated by Arthur Weigall. Another candidate is the double tomb TT 293 (renamed K93.11 / 12), also at Dra Abu el Naga and excavated by the Germans in 1991. The tomb has also been sought in the cliffs of Deir el-Bahari. Locating his grave is one of Egyptology’s exciting pending endeavors.


elpais.com

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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