Mummy of Ramesses V

Apparently, King Ramesses V died in his early thirties and this is perhaps the reason for the appropriation of his tomb by his successor, Ramesses VI. Nevertheless, the mummy later found its way to the Royal Cachette (DB320) at Deir el-Bahari. The king’s face was painted in red and his nostrils were filled with wax. The mummy shows evidence of smallpox; the neck, chest and face were covered with raised nodules. The whole mummy was filled with sawdust, including part of his internal organs.

The circumstances of Ramesses V’s death are unknown but it is known he had a reign of almost four full years. An ostracon records that this king was only buried in Year 2 of Ramesses VI, which was highly irregular since Egyptian tradition required a king to be mummified and buried precisely 70 days into the reign of his successor.

Mummy of King Ramesses V
Mummy of King Ramesses V. Photo: Patrick Landmann

However, another reason for the much delayed burial of Ramesses V in Year 2, second month of Akhet day 1 of Ramesses VI’s reign (see KRI, VI, 343) may have been connected with Ramesses VI’s need “to clear out any Libyans [invaders] from Thebes and to provide a temporary tomb for Ramesses V until plans for a double burial within tomb KV9 could be put into effect.

New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty, reign of Ramesses V, ca. 1149-1145 BC. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), Cairo. JE 34566