Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pharaoh's throat was cut during royal coup, study shows

Date:
December 17, 2012
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Conspirators murdered Egyptian king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, concludes a new study.

Mumie Ramses III.
Credit: Catalogue Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du Musée du Caire: The Royal Mummies Le Caire : Imprimerie de l'Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1912 Catalogue General Antiquites Egyptiennes du Musee du Caire DT57.C2 vol 59

Conspirators murdered Egyptian king Ramesses III by cutting his throat, concludes a study in the Christmas issue published on the British Medical Journal website.

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 among Egyptologists.

So a team of researchers, led by Dr Albert Zink from the Institute for 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 the authors.

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 procedure.

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 say.

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 harem conspiracy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Z. Hawass, S. Ismail, A. Selim, S. N. Saleem, D. Fathalla, S. Wasef, A. Z. Gad, R. Saad, S. Fares, H. Amer, P. Gostner, Y. Z. Gad, C. M. Pusch, A. R. Zink. Revisiting the harem conspiracy and death of Ramesses III: anthropological, forensic, radiological, and genetic study. BMJ, 2012; 345 (dec14 14): e8268 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e8268

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Pharaoh's throat was cut during royal coup, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217190641.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2012, December 17). Pharaoh's throat was cut during royal coup, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217190641.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Pharaoh's throat was cut during royal coup, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121217190641.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

40,000-Year-Old Mammoth Skeleton Found On Texas Farm

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A mammoth skeleton was discovered in a gravel pit on Wayne McEwen's Texas farm back in May. It's now being donated to a museum. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Pawn Shop Buys Lincoln Signature For $50, Worth $50,000

Newsy (Aug. 25, 2014) — The signature is one of a couple Lincoln autographs that have popped up recently. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Neanderthals Probably Died Out Earlier Than We Thought

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) — A new study is packed with interesting Neanderthal-related findings, including a "definitive answer" to when they went extinct. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:  

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile iPhone Android Web
    Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins