EX­CA­VA­TION BE­GINS IN HUNT FOR TOMB OF TU­TANKHAMUN’S WIFE

Lo­cat­ing Ankhe­se­na­mun’s fi­nal rest­ing place could pro­vide an­swers to her life

History Revealed - - REWIND -

T utankhamun un­ques­tion­ably re­mains the most fa­mous pharaoh of An­cient Egypt – and it all be­gan with the dis­cov­ery of his tomb, in 1922. His short reign, in the 14th cen­tury BC, was not that spec­tac­u­lar. Nor did he get buried in a mas­sive tomb or pyra­mid. Yet the sto­ries of English ar­chae­ol­o­gist Howard Carter’s ex­pe­di­tion, and the trea­sures he brought to the sur­face, gave the boy king a world-fa­mous rep­u­ta­tion.

Egyptian ar­chae­ol­o­gist Zahi Hawass does not hope to achieve a suc­cess as re­mark­able as that, but he be­lieves he may know the lo­ca­tion of the tomb that could be­long to Tu­tankhamun’s wife, Ankhe­se­na­mun.

Hawass, Egypt’s for­mer Min­is­ter of State for An­tiq­ui­ties Af­fairs, has launched an ex­ca­va­tion in the Val­ley of the Kings, burial site of pharaohs. He is con­cen­trat­ing on an area to the west, known as the Val­ley of the Mon­keys, near the tomb of Ay, who suc­ceeded Tu­tankhamun and pos­si­bly mar­ried Ankhe­se­na­mun.

Find­ing the tomb could pro­vide de­tails about Ankhe­se­na­mun’s life, much of which still re­mains a mys­tery. She wed Tu­tankhamun, her half-brother, when they were both still chil­dren, yet is pos­si­ble she had al­ready been mar­ried be­fore – to her fa­ther, no less.

In­for­ma­tion gets even sparser fol­low­ing Tu­tankhamun’s death. Ankhe­se­na­mun may have writ­ten to the king of the Hit­tites, ask­ing that he send a son for her to marry. As the story goes, the king did send one of the princes, but he died, or was mur­dered, be­fore he reached Egypt. Ankhe­se­na­mun does not fea­ture in known records again, apart from the sug­ges­tion that she mar­ried Ay (who may have been her grand­fa­ther).

In pre­vi­ous ex­ca­va­tions near Ay’s tomb, ar­chae­ol­o­gists found four de­posits of arte­facts, in­clud­ing pot­tery, food traces and tools, and the new ex­pe­di­tion hopes to ex­plore fur­ther us­ing radar tech­nol­ogy. “The radar scans in the area de­tected the pres­ence of a pos­si­ble en­trance to a tomb at a depth of five me­tres,” an­nounced Hawass on his web­site. The an­swer to whether it be­longs to Ankhe­se­na­mun will have to wait.

Tut and his wife Ankhe­se­na­mun, whose tomb lies undis­cov­ered

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