April 11, 2012

The Mystery of Tuthmosis I's Death and Burial

The Mystery of Tuthmosis I's Burial
Tuthmosis I appears to have been buried in two tombs in the Valley of the Kings: first in KV 20 and then in KV 38. KV 20 was cleared by Howard Carter in 1903, and seemed to be a double tomb intended not only for Tuthmosis but also for his daughter Hatshepsut (who was to rule in her own right). It contained two yellow quartzite sarcophagi, one inscribed for Tuthmosis I and the other for Hatshepsut as pharaoh, as well as her canopic chest.

Stela of Thutmose I in the Cairo Museum
When KV 38 was found in 1899 by Victor Loret, it also contained a sarcophagus for the king. Two explanations have been put forward. One theory is that Hatshepsut transferred her father's body from KV 38 to her own tomb, KV 20, since KV 38 has traditionally been thought to be the earliest royal tomb located in the Valley. However, the plan of KV 38 is more like tombs later in the dynasty. An alternative view is, therefore, that Tuthmosis III (who had been usurped by his stepmother Hatshepsut) removed his grandfather’s body from the tomb of his hated stepmother and built a new tomb for it, i.e. KV 38. Ineni, Tuthmosis I’s architect, tells how he had a secret tomb cut in the Valley of the Kings for his master, ‘no one seeing, no one hearing’, but which of the two tombs it was, KV 20 or 38, is uncertain. Irrespective of where he first rested, Tuthmosis I’s mummy was found amongst the royal bodies in the 1881 find.

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