By Culturekiosque Staff
LONDON, 30 DECEMBER 2012 Conspirators murdered Egyptian
king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, concludes a study in the
Christmas issue published by the British Medical Journal.
Ramesses III the second Pharaoh of the 20th
dynasty is believed to have reigned from 1186 to
1155 BC. The discovery of papyrus trial documents show that in 1155 BC
members of his harem made an attempt on his life as part of a palace coup.
The conspiracy was led by Tiye, one of his two known wives, and her son
Prince Pentawere, over who would inherit the throne, but it is not clear
whether the plot was successful or not.
The fate of Ramesses III has therefore long been the subject of debate
So a team of researchers, led by Dr Albert Zink from the Institute
Mummies and the Iceman of the European Academy of
Bolzano/Bozen in Italy,
undertook detailed anthropological and forensic
analyses on the mummies
of Ramesses III and unknown man E, the
suspected son of the king.
CT scans of Ramesses III revealed a wide and deep wound in the throat
of the mummy, probably caused by a sharp blade
and which could have caused immediate death, say the authors.
A Horus eye amulet was also found inside the wound, most probably
inserted by the ancient Egyptian embalmers during the mummification
process to promote healing, add the authors. The neck was covered by a
collar of thick linen layers.
Analysis of unknown man E revealed an age of 18-20 years, while an
inflated thorax and compressed skinfolds around the neck of the mummy
suggests violent actions that led to death, such as strangulation, write
Furthermore, the body was not mummified in the usual way and was
covered with a "ritually impure" goatskin which the authors say could be
interpreted as evidence for a punishment in the form of a non-royal burial
The authors believe that unknown man E "is a good
candidate for Pentawere." However, they stress that the cause of death
"has to remain a matter of speculation."
Finally, DNA analysis revealed that the mummies share the same parental
lineage, "strongly suggesting that they were father and son," they
The authors conclude that Ramesses III "was murdered during the harem
conspiracy by cutting his throat." They add that the genetic relationship
of unknown man E to Ramesses III, and his unusual mummification process,
including the ritually impure use of a goat skin to cover the body, makes
him a good candidate for Pentaware. Thereby, shedding new light on the
All titles are chosen by the editors as being of
interest to Culturekiosque readers.
The Ancient Egypt Guide
By William J.
Paperback: 418 pages
Interlink Pub Group; 1
edition (April 2012)
Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the
Edited by John H. Taylor
Harvard University Press; First edition (November
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