EXCAVATION BEGINS IN HUNT FOR TOMB OF TUTANKHAMUN’S WIFE
Locating Ankhesenamun’s final resting place could provide answers to her life
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