Mummy of Amenhotep I


Although no cause of death could be determined, the scan of the mummy of Amenhotep I, revealed his death to be around 35 years of age, this conclusion came to be due to “the closure of epiphyses of all the long bones, as well as on the morphology of the surface of the symphysis pubis”.

This is not too far from the age predicted by Douglas Derry, professor at the Kasr Al Ainy School of Medicine in Cairo, who X-Rayed the body of the king in 1932 and estimated the king to have died between 40 and 50. Rather remarkably, scans showed the king has a full set of healthy teeth.

Computed tomography (non-invasive) scan of the mummy of King Amenhotep I
Computed tomography (non-invasive) scan of the mummy of King Amenhotep I
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1525–1504 B.C.
Deir el-Bahari Royal Cache
Deified Amenhotep I depicted at Deir el-Medina (Tomb Tomb of Inherkau, TT359)
Deified Amenhotep I depicted at Deir el-Medina (Tomb Tomb of Inherkau, TT359)

Amenhotep I’s body was remummified sometime during the 21st Dynasty, due to the repositioning of the royal mummies into the protective cache at Deir el-Bahari to prevent ancient tomb robberies. This scan showcases that the ancient priests remummifying the body of the king reconnected his head back to his body, among other bodily repairs (broken bones) which likely occurred due to ancient tomb robbers.

Noninvasive scans show the mummy of king Amenhotep I still within his coffin.
Noninvasive scans show the mummy of king Amenhotep I still within his coffin.
Photography courtesy of Sahar Saleem and Z. Hawass.

Despite the robberies, these non-intrusive scans tell us that varied amulets and jewellery were bestowed upon the king in death. 30 different pieces all together; including an amulet by his heart, two golden Eye of Horus (Wedjat) on his upper and lower right arm, accompanied by a quartz scarab and notably a belly chain or girdle around his waist.

Beaded belly-chain/girdle upon the hips of the king. Photograph courtesy of S. Saleem and Z. Hawass
Beaded belly-chain/girdle upon the hips of the king.
Photograph courtesy of S. Saleem and Z. Hawass

Amenhotep I, was the son of Ahmose I (founder of the 18th Dynasty, after unifying Egypt once more), and his sister-wife Ahmose Nefertari.

After their deaths, Amenhotep and his mother became the centre focus of a cult in the Theban & Deir el-Medina region, and many relics representing the king date from the Ramesside era, rather than his actual lifetime.

Tomb painting, 20th Dynasty tomb of Kynebu. British Museum. EA37993
Amenhotep I, 20th Dynasty tomb of Kynebu. British Museum. EA37993

Amenhotep I, who was referred to as the “Bull who conquers the lands” and “He who inspires great terror”, is seen here above depicted within the 20th Dynasty tomb of Kynebu, dating from the Ramesside period, almost 400 years after his death.

Head of Amenhotep I, from a painted sandstone statue of the king
Head of Amenhotep I, from a painted sandstone statue of the king
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c. 1525–1504 B.C.
Temple of Mentuhotep II, Forecourt, Deir el-Bahari
Met Museum, New York. 26.3.30a

Photographs of the scanned king come courtesy of S. Saleem and Z. Hawass
Sources: Department of Radiology, Kasr Al Ainy Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Antiquities of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt

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