|The golden mask of Tjuju, mother of queen Tiye, and grandmother|
of the mummy in KV55, both discovered by Theodore Davis.
|The excavator Theodore Davis, second right, in the Valley of the Kings.|
Davis funded numerous excavations in the Valley of the Kings for well over a decade, until he lost interest in 1914. He passed away soon afterwards, believing that the valley had been exhausted of all finds and tombs. Despite his ham-fisted approach to archaeology and excavations, Davis was responsible for the discovery of some of the most important finds in the history of Egyptology. Carter only remained Chief Inspector until 1904, when he was replaced by James Quibell. It was with the appointment of Arthur Weigall that the method behind the archaeology in the Valley of the Kings changed dramatically. Where previously Davis had been a silent partner in the excavations, Weigall actively encouraged his patron to participate in the digging first hand. Davis, the treasure hunter, relished this opportunity that was presented to him. This change was to affect the way in which excavations were carried out and resulted in some of the most tragic, mindless destruction to the archaeological record anywhere. The methods employed under Davis were described as being “spoilt by Davis’ interference – generally ignorant experience of the nature of things and of the workmen. [Davis] is old and stupid at times through his stubborn arrogance. [What] pleases him most is to give in to him and let the work suffer.”
Her mummy was believed by Theodore Davis
to heve been found in Tomb KV55.
|The entrance to the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.|
The tomb itself was located in the centre of the Valley, not far from the tomb of Rameses IX. Its entrance had been covered by chippings from the quarrying of the Ramaesid tomb. Having uncovered the opening entrance, a flight of steps was discovered which led downwards to the tomb. The internal doorway had been well cut, with a figure standing by it. It contained a cemented door blocking covered in plaster. Unfortunately, no photographs were taken or have survived of the doorway and plastering over it. Contemporary descriptions state that it was stamped with the Necropolis seal, similar to those found sealing the tomb of Tutankhamun discovered some fifteen years later. The seal showed a jackal over nine bound captives. A fragment of the original wall blocking was later found inside the tomb. The seal of Tutankhamun was reported as to have been found on the wall, however this cannot be corroborated, so should probably be dismissed as a misunderstanding or misinterpretation by its excavator, Arthur Weigall. Later descriptions, both in Davis’ report on the excavation and elsewhere, state that the blocking had been partially dismantled in antiquity and were later closed off with a loosely built wall. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the tomb was used as a darkroom during the excavation of that of Tutankhamun, a tomb that the late Davis believed he had already located.
|The Tomb entrance at the end of the stairway.|
|The entrance corridor leading into the main chamber. The wooden|
planks were placed to grant visitors access to the tomb.
The inscriptions on the shrine proclaimed that it had been prepared for the burial of Queen Tiye by her son, the infamous heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten. This led Davis to announce that he had located the tomb of Tiye herself, a grand 18th dynasty queen and daughter of the noble couple, Yuya and Tjuju, who’s tomb Davis had uncovered two years previous. Without question, the finds made in the tomb of Yuya and Tjuju were significantly more grand and largely intact in contrast to those of KV55. Nonetheless, Davis, intent on finding a tomb with a royal occupant, was now proclaiming to have found just that. With the exception of Davis, few belived the tomb to be that of Tiye. Soon after the discovery of the body, there were disputes as to the gender of the mummy. Despite these disagreements, Davis was to publish a report (complete with inconsistencies, omissions, and inaccuracies) of the tomb’s excavation under the title of “The Tomb of Queen Tiyi [sic]” in 1910.
|A drawing made by Smith, showing the now lost detail of the damaged gold shrine.|
Based upon the drawing made by H.L. Smith, the image on the shrine would appear to have followed a similar style to other Armanan artwork. Had the shrine have survived, it would probably have been amongst the finest surviving works of art from that particular period. Akhenaten (whose likeness has been crudely hacked out, together with his cartouches and replaced with the name and titles of his father) and his mother, Tiye, are depicted worshipping and making offerings to Aten, the solar disc. Based upon the drawing and an approximate guess as to the dimensions of the panels, the shrine seems to bear striking similarities to the one later found in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
|Two planks of gilded wood, all that survives of the golden shrine.|
|A close up of the badly damaged coffin, taken in situ|
in Tomb 55, at time of discovery in 1907.
Edward Ayrton wrote that the coffin itself had rested upon a lion-headed wooden bier, apparantly similar in nature to that which was later found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and which had, owing the flooding from the water, collapsed, and displaced objects that were on the body. Modern scholarship suggests that this hypothesis is dubious; a recent article by Martha R. Bell has suggested that the damage to the coffin had not occured due to a collapsing bier beneath the coffin, but to the ceiling collapsing above the coffin. Bell's theory suggests that a section of the ceiling had fallen unto the coffin, breaking it into three pieces. Beneath the bier were various clay seal impressions. Davis himself saw little import in reproducing the likeness of these seals in his report. Fortunately a photograph has survived of these four seals. The seals are an unusual mix, one showing Amenhotep III’s prenomen and another showing Tutankhamun as a sphinx trampling a captive.
|A likeness of one of the clay seals.|
|The damaged coffin lid, showing the torn-off face, and the excised cartouches.|
At the foot of the coffin is inscribed an Atenist prayer, and though the text itself refers to a man, Murnane has observed that there are sufficient and significant grammatical errors on the coffin to demonstrate the fact that designated occupant was intended to be a woman. Aiden Dodson has proposed that the coffin could be seen as a companion piece to the second coffin used in the burial of Tutankhamun, whose physogeny of the facial features are very different from the other likenesses of the king. Furthermore, the lower half of the coffinettes of Tutankhamun bear the slightly recessed cartouches which once named a very different individual, and these mirror the style and design on the coffin lid in KV55. In addition, the wings that protect the body in a different style to those which protect a male pharaoh, again lending credence to that the (designated) occupant was indeed once a woman.
|The gold foil at the foot of the coffin, showing excised cartouches.|
Drawing upon the observations of the tomb’s occupant made by Davis, and upon the photographs taken it appears that the mummy still retained some of its facial characteristics and features, with contemporary descriptions describing it as possessing "leathery lips" and of "teeth that turned to dust" at the touch. None of the excavation team considered that the remains of sufficient import to take a photograph or make a drawing recording the mummy's appearance, before it “turned to crumbled ashes... [where] nothing remained except a pile of dust and a few disconnected bones.” The skull of the mummy appears to have been struck a blow by a rock, presumably as a further act of desecration in antiquity. A gold pectoral, in the shape of a vulture, had been crudely bent around the head, described by Davis as being a “crown”. The placement of the pectoral on the head is nonetheless an extraordinary act, whoever placed it there. Edward Ayrton recorded that the tail of the vulture hung over the forehead of the mummy. This placement of the pectoral could be unintentional, having moved when the bier collapsed. Some scholars have suggested that placement was as a subversive gesture to the dead occupant, as a mock crown. The corpse only had a few additional items of jewellery remaining, and these were scant in number. A gold cartouche was found with part of the early name of the Aten, together with pieces of foil with the same cartouche. Smith also recovered a broad collar on the chest of the mummy.
|The damaged skull of the occupant of the tomb.|
The fragile remains of the body, wrapped in fine linen, was covered with gold lining sheets which may have come loose from the coffin lid. It was not only in a highly decayed state, but adopting a most extraordinary pose. The left arm was found folded across the chest, a position which was adopted by female mummies, which might well have lead to some of the confusion of the gender of the mummy. This pose probably reinforced Davis’ belief that he had located the remains of an 18th dynasty queen. Both arms were adorned with simple gold foil bracelets. The positioning of the arms has lead to all sorts of theories. Some have attributed this pose in connection to an attribtution of the body being that of Smenkhkare, and suggesting a homosexual relationship between Akhenaten and Smenkhkare as his consort, adopting the role of "Great Royal Wife."
Inconsistencies exist in all the reports as to the nature of these gold “sheets”, or “plates” according to Ayton. Both Davis and Weigell (refering to them as "plates") claimed the body was covered in these sheets, and G.L. Smith reports that a dozen of these sheets were found, placed systematically from side to side. Some later writers believe that these sheets were not separate protection for the body but infact lining from the coffin itself. One of the sheets apparently bore traces of the name of Akhenaten, and another was inscribed “beloved of Waenre" [ie Akhenaten] suggesting the possible presence of Smenkhkare.
|Photographic record of one of the gold sheets.|
|The necklace found with the body in the coffin.|
|The remains of the "Elder Lady", believed by many to be queen Tiye, together|
with an unnamed prince and the "Younger Lady", mother of Tutankhamun.
DNA testing of various mummies in the Valley has thrown up a significant problem in identifying the remains of KV55 as those Akhenaten. The carrying out of the analysis of various remains has suggested that one of the (remains of) two mummies found in KV21 appears to be that of Ankhesenamun and the other being possibly her sister, owing to collelation between the DNA found in the remains and those of the mummified foetuses in Tutankhamun's tomb. However, the testing made to the remains of the lady (KV21A) suggested as being those of Ankhesenamun have demonstrated that she is not the daughter of the mummy in KV55. No other queen has ever been associated with Tutankhamun nor his reign; hence the identification of KV21A as being Ankhesenamun, the third eldest daughter of Akhenaten. The body shows signs of having suffered from mild club foot, echoing the disability which it is believed that Tutankhamun suffered from. This theory has arisen owing to the presence of numerous canes in the young king's tomb.
|The "Vulture pectoral", initially believed to have been a crown by Davis.|
|Canopic jar, with the head bearing the likeness of Kiya|
|The recess or niche, showing one of the canopic jars, as discovered in 1907.|
|The magic brick, bearing the name of Akhenaten|
|The ostracon chip, possibly showing a plan of the burial chamber.|
|A close-up of the damage to the face on the coffin lid.|
|The damaged remains of the "mask of Tiye" in Berlin.|
|The seat of princess Sitamun, one of Davis' most dramatic finds|
throughout his excavations of the Valley of the Kings.
|The gold and enamel element marked with number "16" in the Leiden museum.|