Mummy of Thutmose IV

King Thutmose IV died young and was buried in the Valley of the Kings, later, the mummy was moved to the Deir el-Bahari Cachette (DB320) with other royal mummies. His body was rewrapped in its original bandages, with the feet broken off, but not lost.

The mummy of Thutmose IV was found within the mummy cache of KV35 in 1898 by Victor Loret. The body of the king was moved in antiquity by ancient priests for safety reasons. The king was originally buried within his own tomb (KV43), which was discovered by Howard Carter in 1903.

Mummy of King Thutmose IV
Mummy of King Thutmose IV

Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937), upon examining the body of the king, concluded that the king was very ill at the time of death and had seemingly suffered with an illness for a while, sadly describing Thutmose IV as “extremely emaciated”.

The king was balding, his mummy was the first of that time to have pierced ears; his fingernails were manicured. The mummy’s hands were crossed on his chest, in the Osirian position.

Related: Mummy of Thutmose III

Mummy of King Thutmose IV
Mummy of King Thutmose IV

An examination of his mummy conducted by Grafton Elliot Smith revealed that he was extremely emaciated at the time of his death. His height was given as 1.646 m (5 ft 4.8 in) but considering that the feet have been broken off post-mortem, his height in life would have been taller.

The forearms are crossed over the chest, right over left. His hair, which is parted in the middle, is about 16 cm (6.3 in) long and dark reddish-brown. His ears are also pierced. Elliot Smith estimated his age to be 25–28 years or possibly older.

Many decades later in 2012, the Imperial College London examined the body of the late king, and along with knowledge of some of Thutmose’s family dying young (such as his great-grandson Tutankhamun and his two still born daughters), the surgeon examining the king theorized that Thutmose and other members of the family may have possibly suffered with Temporal lobe epilepsy.

Mummy of King Thutmose IV
Mummy of King Thutmose IV

Some scholars think that this idea could explain the king’s famous Dream Stele, where he describes the Sphinx of Giza as talking to him, as those with Temporal lobe epilepsy do suffer with visions.

This idea however is a theory at the present and is not an ultimate conclusion. And it must be noted that the reason for the dream stele could have been propagandist, or simply Thutmose certifying his status as a divine ruler…such as Hatshepsut’s writing of her divine birth at Deir el-Bahari. Or… it could have been something the king truly believed occurred to him, without the modern idea that he had an illness causing such a thing.

The king’s body measures at 1.64m (5 ft 4.8 in), however, due to his disembodied feet, he was likely taller in life. He was relatively young, with Smith putting his age at death at approximately 28, although more modern scholars suggest mid 30s, perhaps. He has both ears pierced and what appears to be a smile with teeth showing. Most notable is his hair, which is entirely natural, long and parted in the middle, the colour is reddish brown.

New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Thutmose IV, ca. 1401-1391 BC. Now in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Cairo. JE 34559

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