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> Mystery of Egypt's greatest queen solved, Gueen Hatshepsut's mummy discovered...

The Great Ving
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Posted: Jun 28 2007, 10:14 AM
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Mystery of Egypt's greatest queen solved
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
The centuries-old search for the mummy of Hatshepsut, the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt, could end today in a Cairo museum.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist, will hold a news conference in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, to announce the discovery of one of the most powerful female monarchs of the ancient world, hailed by some as the most important find since that of King Tutankhamun.

"Queens, especially the great ones like Nefertiti and Cleopatra, capture our imaginations," Mr Hawass said. "But it is perhaps Hatshepsut, who was both king and queen, who is the most fascinating."

Hatshepsut ruled during Egypt's golden age, between 1503 and 1482BC. Today, Mr Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, is expected to announce that her mummy, along with long ringlets of hair, lies in a coffin that has been in the museum for decades.

The mummy was one of two females found in a small tomb believed to be that of Hatshepsut's wet-nurse, Sitre In.

Among the new evidence is a broken tooth. A box that contained the tooth was inscribed with the female pharaoh's name, and a CT scan found that the tooth matched within a fraction of a milli-metre the space of the missing molar in the mummy's mouth. Further DNA tests will be carried out to confirm her identity.

Mr Hawass said: "The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt. Our hope is that this mummy will help shed light on this mystery and on the mysterious nature of her death."

The tomb where her body was found, called KV60, was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor by Howard Carter in 1903. Along with mummified geese and other offerings were the bodies of two elderly women, one in a coffin labelled with the name and title of the Great Royal Nurse, In, and the other, an unknown female, which was lying uncoffined on the floor. The coffin and the mummy it contained were later moved to the Egyptian Museum.

In 1920, Carter found the tomb of Queen Hatshepsut but the two coffins it contained were empty.

Egyptologists have suggested over the years that one of the mummies from KV60 could be that of the queen. One speculated that the mummy on the floor was Hatshepsut, because her arm rested in a position reserved for monarchs.

Mr Hawaas has now found the tooth “fits exactly” into the jaw socket and broken root of the mummy of an obese woman originally found in KV 60. Further CT scans led physicians to conclude that the woman died when she was about 50. She was overweight and had bad teeth. She probably had diabetes and appears to have died of bone cancer, which had spread through her body.

The smaller body, which was mummified in fine linen, had the gap that matched Hatshepsut's tooth. "I think the face is quite royal, and believe that anyone who sees it will have the same reaction," said Mr Hawass.

He believes priests moved Hatshepsut's mummy to KV60, which probably was intended for Sitre In. The mummy could have been moved to the wet-nurse's coffin for security, since her monuments and tomb were demolished by her jealous successor Tuthmosis III.

Hatshepsut was a fascinating figure because the concept of divine kingship in ancient Egypt had its roots in religious myth, which decreed that the king's role could not be fulfilled by a woman.

Hatshepsut had to create a new story of her divine birth in order to win over her people. She had herself depicted in the traditional male garments of the pharaoh - including a false beard.

This post has been edited by Mark J. Harper on Jun 29 2007, 11:44 PM

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The Great Ving
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Posted: Jun 28 2007, 10:39 AM
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Remains of pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut ID’d
Ruler was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard
June 27, 2007
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CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian authorities said Wednesday that a mummy found a century ago has been identified as the remains of pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled over Egypt during the 15th century B.C.

Hatshepsut was known for dressing like a man and wearing a false beard. But when her rule ended, all traces of her mysteriously disappeared, including her mummy.

Discovered in 1903 in the Valley of the Kings, the mummy was left on site until two months ago when it was brought to the Cairo Museum for testing, Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said.

DNA  bone samples taken from the mummy’s pelvic bone and femur are being compared to the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut’s grandmother, Amos Nefreteri, said Egyptian molecular geneticist Yehia Zakaria Gad, who was part of Hawass’ team.

While scientists are still matching those mitochondrial DNA sequences, Gad said Wednesday that preliminary results were “very encouraging.”

Hawass also said that a molar tooth found in a jar with some of the queen’s embalmed organs perfectly matched the mummy.

“We are 100 percent certain” the mummy belongs to Hatshepsut, Hawass told The Associated Press.

Hawass has led the search for Hatshepsut since a year ago, setting up a DNA lab in the basement of the Cairo Museum with an international team of scientists. The study was funded by the Discovery channel, which is to broadcast an exclusive documentary on it in July.

Molecular biologist Scott Woodward, director of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City, was cautious ahead of Wednesday’s announcement.

“It’s a very difficult process to obtain DNA from a mummy,” said Woodward, who has done DNA research on mummies. “To make a claim as to a relationship, you need other individuals from which you have obtained DNA, to make a comparison between the DNA sequences.”

Such DNA material would typically come from parents or grandparents. With female mummies, the most common type of DNA to look for is the mitochondrial DNA that reveals maternal lineage, said Woodward.

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This recent, undated photo released Wednesday June 27, 2007 by Discovery Channel shows an X ray image of the mummy of Pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut at the Egyptian museum in Cairo, Egypt.
Original Image


“What possible other mummies are out there, they would have to be related to Hatshepsut ...” Woodward said. “It’s a difficult process but the recovery of DNA from 18th Dynasty mummies is certainly possible.”

Molecular biologist Paul Evans of the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, said the discovery could indeed be remarkable.

“Hatshepsut is an individual who has a unique place in Egypt’s history. To have her identified is on the same magnitude as King Tut’s discovery,” Evans told The Associated Press by phone from Utah.

Hatshepsut is believed to have stolen the throne from her young stepson, Thutmose III. Her rule of about 21 years was the longest among ancient Egyptian queens, ending in 1453 B.C.

Hatshepsut’s funerary temple is located in ancient Thebes, on the west bank of the Nile in today’s Luxor, a multi-collonaded sandstone temple built to serve as tribute to her power. Surrounding it are the Valley of Kings and the Valley of the Queens, the burial places of Egypt’s pharaohs and their wives.

But after Hatshepsut’s death, her name was obliterated from the records in what is believed to have been her stepson’s revenge.

She was one of the most prolific builder pharaohs of ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt. Almost every major museum in the world today has a collection of Hatshepsut statuary.

British archaeologist Howard Carter worked on excavating Hatshepsut’s tomb before discovering the tomb of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, whose treasure of gold has become a symbol of ancient Egypt’s splendor.

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm that picture of her face is quite remarkable...

I just had to enlarge it a bit...

user posted image

Original Image

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Truth Seeker
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Posted: Dec 27 2007, 08:22 PM
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Is she or isn't she?
Mummy lab working to ID the pharaoh queen. Scientists are still analyzing DNA from mummy thought to be Queen Hatshepsut. Egypt's antiquities chief lead the quest to find Hatshepsut and build a DNA lab. Most of the initial evidence did not come from DNA testing but from CT scans. Hatshepsut's DNA being compared to mummy of Hatshepsut's grandmother.
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Months after Egypt boldly announced that archaeologists had identified a mummy as the most powerful queen of her time, scientists in a museum basement are still analyzing DNA from the bald, 3,500-year-old corpse to try to back up the claim aired on TV.

Progress is slow. So far, results indicate the linen-wrapped mummy is most likely, but not conclusively, the female pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled for 20 years in the 15th century B.C.

Running its own ancient-DNA lab is a major step forward for Egypt, which for decades has seen foreigners take most of the credit for major discoveries here.

It's time Egyptian scientists took charge, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief who spearheaded the quest to find Hatshepsut and build the lab. "Egyptology, for the last 200 years, it has been led by foreigners."

But the Hatshepsut discovery also highlights the struggle to back up recent spectacular findings in Egypt, including the unearthing of ancient tombs and mummies, investigations into how King Tut died, and even the discovery in the Siwa oasis of possibly the world's oldest human footprint.

So far, the science shown in the Discovery Channel's "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen" has not been published in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal -- the gold standard of scientific research worldwide.

And some scientists, even ones working on the project, have raised concerns.

"I think the people at the Discovery Channel went way too much 'CSI,"' said biological anthropologist Angelique Corthals, referring to television's "Crime Scene Investigation" series.

"They think you can pick up evidence at 2 p.m. and by 6 p.m. you get results," added Corthals, a scholar at England's University of Manchester who has been helping Egypt establish the DNA lab.

In June Egypt announced that Hatshepsut's mummy had been found, and about a month later the Discovery Channel aired the documentary -- showcasing scientific breakthroughs including CT scans and DNA testing. The mummy is now on display in a glass case in the Egyptian Museum's royal mummy room.

Hawass, other Egyptian officials and the Discovery Channel all stand by their findings, even though the DNA testing is incomplete.

"So far there is some agreement and no discrepancies. The results are quite encouraging," said Yehia Zakaria Gad, a molecular geneticist who heads the ancient-DNA lab at the Egyptian Museum.

Most of evidence that led Hawass to declare the mummy to be Hatshepsut did not come from DNA but from CT scans. Those scans showed that a tooth found in a relic box displaying the pharaoh's insignia matched a gap in the mummy's jaw.

CT scans also showed facial similarities between the mummy and already identified mummies of Hatshepsut's royal relatives, as well as evidence of a skin disease that the queen may have shared with some of them.

"The reason why we went with such a strong claim was because the CT scan was conclusive and the fact that the missing tooth provided the missing clue. ... I don't think that the DNA testing will indicate otherwise," said Peter Lovering, Discovery's senior programming executive.

Now, scientists at the Egyptian Museum lab are comparing Hatshepsut's DNA sequences to the previously identified mummy of Hatshepsut's grandmother -- the first such attempt in Egypt at using this scientific analysis to verify a mummy's identity. DNA is the unique genetic code of a person and a key tool in solving decades-old crimes, establishing paternity and finding cures for diseases.

The Discovery documentary, which showed scientists extracting the DNA from the mummies, did indicate the DNA results were incomplete and did not say those results proved the mummy was Hatshepsut.

But Corthals still has raised concerns about the expectations placed on the new DNA lab.

She said the team at the Egyptian lab was under "a lot of pressure" to produce results. She said they had "very good preliminary results," but that it will still take months to verify that those results were not a fluke.

Egypt also lacks an independent second lab to review the testing. Before any DNA results can be published in a scientific journal, the Egyptian Museum lab must duplicate its initial findings -- which have not yet been completed -- and then the samples must be sent to an independent lab to be replicated.

"The ancient-DNA world goes by a very stringent set of criteria. ... One of the biggest is replication by an independent lab," Corthals said. "If you don't do it, particularly with something so famous as this mummy, no peer review journal will publish it.

"And if you don't get it published in a peer review journal, as a scientist, you haven't done anything," she said.

Hawass says he is trying to get a second DNA lab set up in Egypt. The first $5 million lab, funded by the Discovery Channel, is the centerpiece of an ambitious plan to identify mummies and re-examine the royal mummy collection.

The process is time-consuming, especially for a new lab with scientists who have little experience with mummy DNA. It takes three days just to extract the delicate DNA; then scientists must spend at least three more days completing one test on one sample. Months are needed to make a finding.

During a recent tour of the lab by an Associated Press reporter, Gad was not firm on how much more time is needed to complete initial tests on Hatshepsut, saying only that he was "nearly there."

The Discovery Channel paid for the current lab in exchange for exclusive rights to film the search for the Hatshepsut mummy. Hawass said he's offering other companies a similar deal: the rights to film a highly coveted expedition -- possibly the search for King Tut's family -- in exchange for a second lab.

"This is how I use TVs to bring technology here," he said during an interview in his Cairo office. He added that he has had nibbles about a deal, but would not elaborate.

Hawass has ambitious plans for DNA testing in Egypt, including examining all the royal mummies and the nearly two dozen unidentified mummies stored in the Egyptian Museum. He believes DNA tests will show that some royal mummies on display are not who archaeologists thought they were.

One example is the mummy of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut's father, found in the late 19th century amid the ancient sites in Luxor. But further investigation discovered that the mummy was too young to be Thutmose I, who died in his 50s, Hawass said.

"I really do believe that the Egyptian mummy project is going to be very important in revealing lots of secrets," he said.

But not everyone is convinced.

A mummy's age, the mummification process and the condition in which it was stored all contribute to a high degree of contamination and results that are not foolproof, said Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.

"It is exciting and it can be useful. But please, use it with a little bit of caution," she said.

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Posted: Dec 29 2007, 04:32 PM
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But then will they tell us the truth about the DNA findings?
Would anyone?
How do they feel about all those blonde and red haired mummies?

Don't you wonder about that stone coffin that was opened before the camera and shown on TV, and supposedly had never been opened before.....however the lower jaw of the skeleton was missing. Was removal a same part of their funerary practice? rolleyesNEW.gif

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Master Of His Domain
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Posted: Dec 29 2007, 04:44 PM
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U mentioned red haired mummies of china?

Red haired mummy Tocharian, China

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Check out the true Swastika found on some pottery buried with this red haired mummy below. The Nazis reversed this ancient occult symbol and used it in their movement.

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Here's a full body view...

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As I recall, they carbon dated the red haired mummies of china to be over 5000 years old.

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"Believe nothing. No matter where you read it, or who said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
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