Mummy of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun

The mummy of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun was buried in tomb (TT358) in Deir el-Bahari in two cedar wood coffins and a cartonnage outer case, which is now damaged. Cartonnage is linen or papyrus held together by glue and molded into coffins.

The tomb, in antiquity, had been robbed and apparently the mummy was plundered. Nevertheless, during the 21st Dynasty, the tomb was restored and the mummy was rewrapped.

Mummy of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun
Mummy of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun

Ahmose-Meritamun was the royal daughter of Ahmose I and Ahmose-Nefertari, She was both the sister and the wife of Amenhotep I.

When scholars unwrapped the mummy, the queen was found to have wavy brown hair. From examination it appears that she may have died in her fifties, possibly because of scoliosis, from which she suffered in her last days. Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine.

The mummy had been carefully rewrapped during the reign of Pinedjem I. Inscriptions record that the linen used in the reburial was made in year 18 of Pinedjem by the High Priest of Amun Masaharta, son of Pinedjem I. The reburial took place in year 19, month 3 of the winter, day 28.

The outer coffin (now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, JE 53140) is over 10 ft in size and is made from cedar planks which are joined and carved to a uniform thickness throughout the coffin. The eyes and eyebrows are inlaid with glass.

Outer coffin of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun (cedarwood)
Outer coffin of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun (cedarwood). Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 53140

The body is carefully carved with chevrons painted in blue to create the illusion of feathers. The coffin was covered in gold which had been stripped in antiquity. The inner coffin was smaller, but still over 6 ft tall. The inner coffin had also been covered in gold but stripped of this precious metal.

New Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep I, ca. 1525-1504 BC. From the Tomb of Queen Ahmose-Meritamun (TT358), Deir el-Bahari, West Thebes. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo. CG 61052