Home | Satellite imaging Egypt | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Author's Preface

Chapter 5


It has been mentioned in earlier chapters the Akhmim connection with certain individuals, such as Ay, his sister Tiye (Akhenatens mother) Yuya and Thuya, and in turn their connection with Tutankhamun. To investigate this most intriguing and mysterious thread leading to the murder of the boy king Tutankahmun, one must possess a basic knowledge of how these families are connected, and under what situation.

This particular period in Egypts history comes under the New Kingdom, 1550-1070 BCE, and in particular the 18th Dynasty, 1550-1307 BCE, while the intriguing and most tumultuous time was the Amarna period, 1352-1333. This is the period we will be concerning ourselves for this section and one where several authors have based many an ancient detective/thriller novel scenario. However, few have managed to delve deep enough to uncover the tangled weave of political intrigue, murder and deceit.

Obviously this is an extremely hot potato and in one small publication I am unable to delve into the full facts, however, using the information gleaned from the research at Akhmim, we may at least be able to shed a few rays of enlightenment on this whole subject. This is also the period where many relate the time (as tradition has it) of the Exodus especially with connection to Moses, Thutmoses 2, Hattshepsut, Amenohotep 2 (Pharaoh of the Exodus), Thutmoses 4, Amenhotep and Tutankahamun.

It is essential to attempt to connect a few of the characters of our play so that we grasp an understanding as to the connection of Akhmim, and events leading up to the murder of Tutankhamun.

Prior to the New Kingdom, Egypt had ruled as a supreme powerhouse, its royal families living an opulent lifestyle where the priesthood of the god Amun controlled all estates. All this changed when Akenaten, (Amenhotep IV 1352- 1336 BCE) took over the reigns of power. He renounced the many gods worshipped by the Egyptians and abolished the priesthood of Amun, and consequently established a new order to worship the sun god, Aten. Thus changing his name to Akhenaten, or servant of the Aten.

Akenaten established a new capital to the north of modern Luxor calling it Akhetaten, Horizon of the Aten, or Horizon of the solar disc, where he reigned with his main wife, Nefertiti.

At Akhet-Aten in this place shall I make the House of Aten for the Aten, my father(And) at Akhet-Aten in this place shall I make for myself the residence of Pharaoh, (and) I shall make the residence for the Kings chief wife.

(Murnane, 1995)

Later, Akhetaten became known as Tell El-Amarna, the name derived from a local village called El-Till. The word Tell in Arabic means a mound or small hill, however, Tel El-Amarna is actually a flat piece of land located adjacent to the Nile. The origin of Amarna derived from a Bedouin tribe that settled in the village.
Akenatens parents were Amenhotep III and Queen Tiy (1382-1344 BCE), whose brother was Ay, who we will meet shortly, and Ays wife, Tey, who was Nefertitis wet nurse.

Akenaten and his main queen Nefertiti, who he renamed Nefer-Nefru-Aten (Beautiful is the beauty of Aten), produced six daughters, including Ankhesenpaaten. It is believed that Akenaten had a lesser wife, Kiya, and it is from this union we believe that Tutankhamun (or rather originally named Tutankhaten) appeared.

To make matters more complex, it is believed that the parents of Queen Tiye, her mother Thuya and father Yuya, were also from Akhmim. We know that Thuya was superintendent of the Harem of Min at Akhmim and of Amun of Thebes during the reign of Thutmose IV.(1401-1391 BCE). In the 18th Dynasty the bloodline passed through the female royalty, so Tiye would have been heiress Princess, and thus next in line for Queenship

Tiyes father, Yuya, was commander of the chariotry under Thutmose IV, which in fact was a new post in the 18th Dynasty. .Yuya was said to have an unusual physical build for an Egyptian, possibly Asiatic, however, this is a hotly debated subject as Tiye had extremely dark skin, as represented on the artwork of the day.

After the death of Akenaten, it was thought that Horemheb, an army commander took over a temporary lead role position. However, it was soon to be the turn of the boy king Tutankhaten, (1333-1323 BCE) who at nine years of age married his stepsister Ankhesenpaaten, changing their names to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun to reflect the return to favour of the Amun hierarchy.Because of his age Tutankhamun would not have been responsible for any decision making, which would normally have been carried out by high officials, and in this case thought to be Ay and Horemheb, commander in chief of the army.

Ay is thought to originate from Akhmim, first appearing in historical Records as a courtier and military official. Under Akhenaten and Tutankhamun he held the title of Gods Father, a role similar to that of royal tutor and counsellor. A tomb was constructed for him at Tell El-Amarna (Southern Tomb No.2) although unfinished and partially decorated, it contains a well-preserved reward scene and one of the few remaining complete examples of the hymn to Aten.

During this period, all reference to Nefertiti and Kiya ceased to appear in the written records, while at the same time a shadowy figure appeared on the scene, known as Smenkhkare, possibly a brother of Tutankhamun. It was Smenkhkare who was connected to the mysterious Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings, and whose gold coffin was found with that of the coffin of Tutankhamun.

Tomb KV55 (called Tomb of Queen Tiye) was actually discovered in January 1907 in the Valley of the Kings by Edward Ayrton, working for Theodore Davis. At this time the chief inspector of the Valley of the Kings was Howard Carter, who took the opportunity to make use of Davis by inspiring him to locate the tomb of Thutmes IV. However, Carter did not get on with Davis, and in 1905 left James Quibbel in charge of the Valley, who made the great discovery of the tomb of Yuya and Thuya. As it transpired Quibbel too argued with Davis, and Arthur Weignell was sent to replace Quibbel. Weignell, not wanting to spend his time in the Valley, allowed Davis to hire Edward Russell Aryton in 1906, and it was from this point on that the bulk of Daviss discoveries were made.

The door of tomb 55 bore the name of Tutankhamun (Tutankhamuns tomb is KV62) however, inside was found a section of a gilded shrine, which was thought to belong to Queen Tiye and an alabaster jar lid that portrayed a woman said to be Kiya, Akhanatens secondary wife. In addition, a coffin was discovered made for a woman, but the poorly preserved human remains turned out to be that of a young man, thought to be about 20 years of age (Mahdy). At first it was thought to be that of Akhenaten, but the age did not match, and not only that, upon examination the body of the young man bore a strong resemblance to that of Tutankhaten, and having the same blood type as Tutankhaten. It was assumed therefore, that this was either the father or brother of Tutankhaten, possibly Smenkhkare.

During Tutankhamuns ninth reign, when he was approximately 18 years of age (circa 1323 BCE) he died due to a head injury, received under suspicious circumstances. Much has been written on this, and is believed to have been struck a blow while he was sleeping, however, there is forensic evidence to suggest that he did not die immediately. Ay has been named as a possible perpetrator in this crime, and indeed it was Ay who oversaw Tutankhamuns burial arrangements that lasted 70 days.

Meanwhile, Ankhesenamun, the widow of Tutankhamun, was left in a complete dilemma, there being no heir to the throne. When Howard Carter entered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, he discovered two stillborn female foetuses.
According to the diary of Carter for November 26th 1922, upon peering into the antechamber and seeing the treasure, he noted;

As my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment an eternity it must have seemed to others standing by I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, enquired anxiously, Can you see anything? it was all I could do to get out the words, Yes, wonderful things.

On November 29th there was an official opening of the tomb, and amongst the media that attended was the local weekly Al-Ahram, who described the awesome moment to its readers;

It was pleasantly warm. The sun was brilliant, not a cloud obscured the intensity of its glare. It was obvious that the entrance had been forced open thousands of years ago. Was it thieves who broke in and made off with every treasure worth stealing, destroying all else that was too heavy to move?

While the entry for the day in Carters diary described the event as thus;

Wednesday, November 29.
(?) Official opening
Today we had a sort of official opening to which the following guests were invited: Lady Allenby and AdC; H.E. Abdel Aziz Bey Yehia, the Mudir of Kena; the Maamur of Luxor; Mr and Mrs Maudsley; Mr and Mrs K. Boyde; Mr and Mrs de Garis Davies; Mr and Mrs Engelbach; Lady Downes and daughter; Abdel Razik Bey of the Mus. of Agriculture; Mr and Mrs Merton of the Times; Mr and Mrs Brunton; The Irrigation Insp. of Kena district; Wise Bey of the Police; the Commandant of the Kena Police; Ibreheem Effendi, Insp. of Luxor; and others. Lunch was given 12.30 at the head of the valley - near tomb No. 15, when afterwards Lady Allenby and H.E. the Mudir of Kena with Ld. C. and self opened the tomb. A special report to The Times was sent to Luxor by runner - about 3pm.

So, it was under these circumstances that Ankhesenamun wrote to Suppiluliumas I, king of the Hitites, requesting that he send one of his sons so that she could marry and become Pharaoh.

My husband has died. A son I have not. But to thee, they say, the sons are many. If thou wouldst give me a son of thine, he would become my husband. Never shall I pick out a servant of mine and make him my husband! I am afraid.
(Brier, 1998)

Although the king suspected trickery, the scenario was confirmed as true, but his son was eventually murdered at the border, possibly on orders from Ay.
Consequently, the by now ageing Ay became Pharaoh taking Ankhesenamun as his queen. He only ruled for four years, whereupon Horemheb seized power, obliterating
all evidence of the reigns of Akenaten and Tutankhamun, and subsequently substituting his own name on many monuments.

Go to chapter 6

Go to Chapter 6

Enter supporting content here