Who was Amenhotep I?
In the era of the New Kingdom, that is, during the heyday of the ancient Egyptian statehood, the second pharaoh of the 18th dynasty was Amenhotep I, who ruled the country around 1526-1506 BC.
The time of his reign is poorly documented, but historians believe that the pharaoh actively worked to consolidate the numerous lands conquered under his father Ahmose I.
Amenhotep I restored temples throughout Upper Egypt, and also revolutionized funeral architecture, dividing the funeral temple and tomb. to make it harder to plunder.
The mummy of Amenhotep I was discovered in 1881 during excavations of the archaeological complex of funeral temples and tombs of Deir el-Bahari, located near Luxor (in ancient times, the city of Thebes was located here).
However, his tomb was originally located in a different place, but historians and archaeologists still do not know it. Apparently, the Theban priests transferred the pharaoh’s mummy to Deir el-Bahari during the reign of the XXI dynasty, saving it from robbers.
Studying the mummy of Amenhotep I
Sahar Saleem of the University of Cairo and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass of Antiquities of Egypt examined the mummy of Pharaoh Amenhotep I using computed tomography to get an idea of its appearance, health, and causes of death.
Egyptologists noted that the mummy was tightly bandaged from head to toe and covered with red, yellow, and blue flower garlands. On the head was a mask with a face painted in pale yellow, and the contours of the eyes and eyebrows in black. The pupils were made from obsidian. In addition, on the forehead was a painted cobra inlaid with stones.
Computed tomography showed that the mummy of Amenhotep I had an oval face with sunken eyes and cheeks. The nose is small, narrow, and flattened. The pharaoh’s upper teeth protruded slightly, the chin was narrow, and the ears were small.
Several strands of curly hair have been preserved on the back of the head and on the sides of the head. Egyptologists noted that the mummy is in good condition, although they found numerous post-mortem injuries, such as a fracture in the cervical spine, leading to decapitation, or damage to the bones of the hands.
In the area of the mummy’s abdomen, scientists discovered a lesion measuring 120 × 180 millimeters, inside which were two fingers of the left hand. In addition, the pubic bone was fractured. Scientists have estimated the age of Amenhotep I at the time of his death at 35 years old.
He had a complete set of teeth, including all third molars, and they showed no signs of caries or other serious dental diseases. They found evidence of circumcision on the penis. The length of the pharaoh’s skeleton was 161.5 centimeters, that is, during his lifetime he was about seven centimeters taller. Scientists did not find any signs of diseases on the bones and joints, as well as the causes of death.
The researchers noted that all internal organs, with the exception of the heart, of Amenhotep I were removed through an incision in the left side, and the resulting cavities were filled with flax. The dried brain was inside the skull and was not embalmed.
Egyptologists noticed traces of resin on the mummy’s eyeballs, and in each nostril, there was a small plug of resin-treated linen. In addition, scientists found a total of 30 amulets and jewelry in the wrapped mummy.
The mummy has been re-bandaged
Egyptologists said the mummy showed abundant evidence of damage recovery. So, a linen bandage, treated with resin, fixed the severed head in the neck. In addition, linen tape covered the abdominal injury.
Bandages also held the severed left arm near the body, and the crushed bones of the right leg were placed on a wooden board before re-manipulation.
These actions with the mummy were carried out by the Theban priests of the XXI dynasty, correcting the damage caused by the robbers of the tombs. After that, the remains of Amenhotep I were reburied in Deir el-Bahari.
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• Brown, M. (2021, December 28). Egyptian pharaoh’s mummified body gives up its secrets after 3,500 years. The Guardian.
• Jarus, O. (2021, December 28). Mummy of famous Egyptian pharaoh digitally unwrapped for first time in 3,000 years. LiveScience.
• Lewis, A. (2021, December 29). ‘digitally unwrapped’: Scans reveal details of mummy of king amenhotep. The Sydney Morning Herald.
• Saleem, S. N., & Hawass, Z. Digital unwrapping of the mummy of king amenhotep I (1525–1504 BC) using CT. Frontiers.
• Wilkins, A. (2021, December 29). The mummy of Egyptian pharaoh amenhotep I has been digitally unwrapped. New Scientist.
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