Mummy of Merneptah

King Merneptah was originally buried within tomb (KV8) in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was not found there. In 1898 it was located along with eighteen other mummies in the mummy cache found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV35) by Victor Loret. The skin of the mummy became unusually brighter, mainly due to the salt that was heavily used in the mummification process.

The king apparently suffered from dental problems and fractures in his thighbones. In their search for gold, the tomb-robbers split the mummy’s right clavicle and injured the left shoulder, possibly by using a knife or an axe to cut a hole through the body.

Mummy of King Merneptah
Mummy of King Merneptah
Mummy of King Merneptah
Mummy of King Merneptah

In 1980, James Harris and Edward F. Wente conducted a series of X-ray examinations on New Kingdom Pharaohs crania and skeletal remains, which included the mummified remains of Mereneptah. The analysis in general found strong similarities between the New Kingdom rulers of the 19th Dynasty and 20th Dynasty with Mesolithic Nubian samples. The authors also noted affinities with modern Mediterranean populations of Levantine origin. Harris and Wente suggested this represented admixture as the Rammessides were of northern origin.

New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Merneptah, ca. 1213-1203 BC. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo. JE 34562