Mummy of Ramesses II
The mummy of King Ramesses II was among those found in the Royal Cachette (DB320) at Deir el-Bahari. It was completely covered with linen bandages that bear the king’s name and epithets in Hieratic script. The mummy has silky hair, which was white at the time of death, but has yellowed from the preservative chemicals. His nostrils were filled with resin and seeds, perhaps to better hold their shape.
Ramesses II was originally buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings, but was later transferred (because of looting) by priests to the tomb of Queen Inhapy. His body was moved again three days later to the tomb of high priest Pinedjem II — this story is inscribed on the linen covering his body.
Regarded by many historians as Egypt’s most powerful king, Ramesses II reigned for six decades (ca. 1279-1213 BC), lived to be over 90 years old and is said to have fathered upwards of 100 children. His body was originally entombed in the Valley of the Kings, West Thebes, as was customary for a king, but ancient Egyptian priests later moved it to thwart rampant looters.
In 1881, Ramesses II’s mummy was discovered in a secret royal cachette at Deir el-Bahari, along with those of more than 50 other kings and nobles. In 1974, archeologists noticed its deteriorating condition and flew it to Paris, where it was treated for a fungal infection. Before the journey, Ramesses was issued an Egyptian passport, which listed his occupation as “King (deceased).”
According to the X-rays, the king was suffering from dental problems and severe arthritis in his hip joint. Ramesses II’s mummy was sent to Paris for further studies and preservation. The king most probably died in his late eighties or early nineties.
New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses II, ca. 1279-1213 BC. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo. JE 26214