Akhenaten (Box, Carter Archive 001K)

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Mar 2019
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Peterborough, Ontario Canada
There was a break with atenism and Akhenaten on his death. He was the architect of the enterprise. Nefertiti needed to make gestures to distance herself from him and be reborn as a king. She will have needed to be anointed by the gods to re-establish “ maat” just as Tut did later. A name change would help. Smenkhkare means “strong is the soul of Ra” - a suitable name for a ruler. Neferneferuaten means something like “beautiful one of the Aten” - that would not work under the changed regime.

Makes sense. Especially given she’d just named one of her youngest ‘Setepenre’ (chosen of Re/Ra).
 
Mar 2019
264
Peterborough, Ontario Canada
Wise courtier? Why not? And why not Ay? He had been her mentor, I assume, alongside Tey. Though she was smart enough on her own to work it out, I guess.

The trajectory of Nefertiti to Nefertiti Neferneferuaten to Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten to Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare seems kind of inescapable to me. Mind you, I have been obsessing about this for quite some time.

Incidentally, re-reading Ridley (and taking notes. Lol) I notice he says Nefertiti seems to have first appeared (at Thebes in depictions) about Year 3-4. (Akhenaten, Page 59). With my other odd notion that Kiya is Nefertiti, could this suggest ‘Nefertiti’ as a name appeared only after a few years of Akhenaten’s rule had elapsed? This would allow IMO for Kiya to be shown with 1 daughter very early on, including that business of Meritaten Tasherit (‘the little one’) daughter of Kiya, in one of the inscriptions. Maybe she never lost ‘Kiya’ among family but ‘Nefertiti’ took over in official inscriptions and whenever she was seen publicly.

The signs of a Kiya at the MaruAten are curious. The MaruAten was set a fair distance away from anything else. Kyla suggested to me awhile back (as a hypothetical option) that the MaruAten could be a lodge of some kind. And she sent me photos of mural pathways (?) showing beautiful rural scenes. And there were greyhound bones found too. Hunting lodge? Pleasure lodge? Holiday house-temple? Was this one of the earliest constructions at Akhetaten?

AlpinLuke, btw, did you manage to scratch up some inscriptions of Nefertiti on ‘personal’ items? I might exclude jewellery, as they are really public items in my opinion, but what about kohl jars and cosmetic jars and pen cases, joggers, that kind of thing?


Still looking into personal items if Nefertiti from the early years.

But a thought occurred to me while going through the books, particularly the 2006 Penn Museum catalogue on Akhenaten and Tutankhamun: Revolution and Restoration by Silverman, Wagner and Wegner—the depictions of Tutankhaten/amun wearing a beard in the flat-topped hat strike me as very ‘Nefertiti-esque’ (notice the flat-topped hat, and similar profile with grooves around mouth and the concave neck noted by Ertman to be characteristically Nefertiti compared to males’ convex necks—in particular all of these can be noted in the attached image from page 184 of the above publication); could this be Nefertiti ala Hatshepsut wearing the strap-on beard and regalia of kingship?

Has anyone else thought that perhaps Tut (under the guidance of Ay or Horemheb, or other advisers), usurped not just the funerary equipment of Smenkaare but many of the statues for his own use during his lifetime? The soft ‘boyish’ features could also be said to be quite feminine!
 

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Nov 2016
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This is an unexplained image of a pharaoh and another unidentified person on an unfinished stele from the possession of the soldier Pai called AGM 17813 in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. Its height is 21.7 cm. The two empty pairs of cartouches on the sides of the sun are probably intended for the names of the Aten. Above the sacrificial table to the right of the pair there are three cartouches, two of which are slightly separated from the third. The pair of cartouches should be intended for the throne and the birth name of the king and the single cartouche for the other person, whereby single cartouches were normally meant for king's wives. The faces of the figures have been deliberately damaged. The pharaoh can be recognized by his double crown, so he sits in the middle of the picture and turns to the other figure and touches its chin, while this figure places an arm around the pharaoh in a famliar way. The lelft figure is slightly smaller than the king, as can be seen from the difference in height of the foot pads. The figure wears a Blue Crown (hprs) and could have the function of a co-regent, whereas the single left cartouche assigned to this person speaks against it. Carter and Newberry had the idea that the right figure is Akhenaten and the left one Semenkhkare, whom they regarded as male, and interpreted the relationship between the two figures as homosexual, especially since the gender of the left figure cannot be clearly determined. However, another unfinished image of the royal couple (AM 20716) shows Nefertiti, who is clearly recognizable as female, with a blue crown, from which the identity of the left figure of AGM 17813 with Nefertiti or at least a queen can be inferred. Helck suspected that these were Semenkhkare and Meritaten, the latter being the wearer of the Blue Crown. Allen speculates that they are Akhenaten and Anchetcheprure Nefernefruaten, but the latter appeared as a fully-fledged Pharaoh, which is not compatible with the single cartouche. Theoretically, Tiye could be the left figure, but it is not known that she ever wore a Blue Crown, which is why this interpretation is not seriously considered. Also Kiya is out of the question, as her name never appears in a cartouche. The common interpretation today is that these are Akhenaten and Nofretete, which is recognizable by the profile of the king, which refers to Akhenaten, as well as by the neck shape of the queen, as it is characteristic for Nefertiti.

AGM 17813:

1560474537722.jpeg

1560474422593.jpeg

AGM 20716:

1560474886054.jpeg
 
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Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
Still looking into personal items if Nefertiti from the early years.

But a thought occurred to me while going through the books, particularly the 2006 Penn Museum catalogue on Akhenaten and Tutankhamun: Revolution and Restoration by Silverman, Wagner and Wegner—the depictions of Tutankhaten/amun wearing a beard in the flat-topped hat strike me as very ‘Nefertiti-esque’ (notice the flat-topped hat, and similar profile with grooves around mouth and the concave neck noted by Ertman to be characteristically Nefertiti compared to males’ convex necks—in particular all of these can be noted in the attached image from page 184 of the above publication); could this be Nefertiti ala Hatshepsut wearing the strap-on beard and regalia of kingship?

Has anyone else thought that perhaps Tut (under the guidance of Ay or Horemheb, or other advisers), usurped not just the funerary equipment of Smenkaare but many of the statues for his own use during his lifetime? The soft ‘boyish’ features could also be said to be quite feminine!
Just read about convex necks in Ridley, regards a statue at Thebes that ‘might be’ Nefertiti. And you might have point. Wow. Proof or not, I am making a note of your post. One thinks, however, for it to fit, it must be Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten? Smenkhkare may not have been around long enough to have had statues made. If Neferneferuaten, however, was ruling as almost a regent for an absentee (for whatever reason) Akhenaten, then she may have taken on the Hatshetsup-trappings. There is definite evidence of her activities, as AlpinLuke has made a point of mentioning a few times. Cool. Worth thinking about at the least.

I am still curious to know if S’menkhkare might not be a feminine form of Menkhkare. I’m sure AlpinLuke made some reference to ‘s’ Maybe having feminine properties (or something like that). Can’t recall the context: could have been the Saakare Affair, that got me right excited at one stage? I think of the ‘t’ in Merytaten. Can ‘s’ perform a similar function?
 
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Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
This is an unexplained image of a pharaoh and another unidentified person on an unfinished stele from the possession of the soldier Pai called AGM 17813 in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. Its height is 21.7 cm. The two empty pairs of cartouches on the sides of the sun are probably intended for the names of the Aten. Above the sacrificial table to the right of the pair there are three cartouches, two of which are slightly separated from the third. The pair of cartouches should be intended for the throne and the birth name of the king and the single cartouche for the other person, whereby single cartouches were normally meant for king's wives. The faces of the figures have been deliberately damaged. The pharaoh can be recognized by his double crown, so he sits in the middle of the picture and turns to the other figure and touches its chin, while this figure places an arm around the pharaoh in a famliar way. The lelft figure is slightly smaller than the king, as can be seen from the difference in height of the foot pads. The figure wears a Blue Crown (hprs) and could have the function of a co-regent, whereas the single left cartouche assigned to this person speaks against it. Carter and Newberry had the idea that the right figure is Akhenaten and the left one Semenkhkare, whom they regarded as male, and interpreted the relationship between the two figures as homosexual, especially since the gender of the left figure cannot be clearly determined. However, another unfinished image of the royal couple (AM 20716) shows Nefertiti, who is clearly recognizable as female, with a blue crown, from which the identity of the left figure of AGM 17813 with Nefertiti or at least a queen can be inferred. Helck suspected that these were Semenkhkare and Meritaten, the latter being the wearer of the Blue Crown. Allen speculates that they are Akhenaten and Anchetcheprure Nefernefruaten, but the latter appeared as a fully-fledged Pharaoh, which is not compatible with the single cartouche. Theoretically, Tiye could be the left figure, but it is not known that she ever wore a Blue Crown, which is why this interpretation is not seriously considered. Also Kiya is out of the question, as her name never appears in a cartouche. The common interpretation today is that these are Akhenaten and Nofretete, which is recognizable by the profile of the king, which refers to Akhenaten, as well as by the neck shape of the queen, as it is characteristic for Nefertiti.

AGM 17813:

View attachment 20705

View attachment 20704

AGM 20716:

View attachment 20707
My gut instinct - but not actual evidence - tells me the first image is Nefertiti and Akhenaten. I really can’t imagine mother and daughter being shown in that fashion. Too intimate, but not in a mother-daughter way IMO. But who knows? One wonders why that depiction has empty cartouches. I have always thought it might be because affairs went pear shaped and it was never finished, but, speculating wildly, was it another innovation of Akhenaten’s...? Had they become ‘spiritual’ names in some sense? Invisible? Not my area, obviously. Maybe you or Corvidius can consider whether there is any religious significance for the empty cartouches? I’m trusting not. But I do still pose the question. No worse than suggesting homosexuality, which, I think in the context of what we know, must be seen as extremely unlikely; yet it was once a serious theory.
 
Apr 2019
213
UK
The way those unfinished images are arranged a a literal interpretation of the “useful for her husband” epithet. Both are providing support to the senior king.

About Tut images resembling Nefertiti - it’s likely they are related if not mother and son so there will be some close similarity. Boys also don’t usually look masculine until they are older.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
The way those unfinished images are arranged a a literal interpretation of the “useful for her husband” epithet. Both are providing support to the senior king.

About Tut images resembling Nefertiti - it’s likely they are related if not mother and son so there will be some close similarity. Boys also don’t usually look masculine until they are older.
Nefertiti seems to have been very effective for her husband. As I think Nefertiti is Tuts mother, you would think a resemblance may be on the cards. But I do recall seeing some images of Tut where I thought he looked like a girl. I gotta say, having coached both girls and boys in basketball and netball for many years, boys tend to look like boys, and girls, girls IMO. Though just a change of hairstyle and clothing can make the visual difference trickier. Where ‘masculine’ begins and ends, I’m not real sure. I keep thinking one of those coffins of Tut looks like a female, Nefertiti in fact. Indeed, looks female, though quite serious and ever so slightly severe female, and not a girl anymore. Perhaps a little masculine even. Considering others see the coffin as depicting a male, maybe these things are just in the eye of the beholder without other evidence pointing which way. Interesting.

NB That convex neck might be an indicator, too. Forgot that for a moment.
 
Nov 2016
1,331
Germany
One wonders why that depiction has empty cartouches. I have always thought it might be because affairs went pear shaped and it was never finished, but, speculating wildly, was it another innovation of Akhenaten’s...? Had they become ‘spiritual’ names in some sense? Invisible?
The fact that the cartouches are empty is commonly attributed to the incompleteness of the stele.

An interpretation of homosexuality, as suggested by Carter and Newberry, does not really come to mind, since the breast of the left figure is easily recognizable as female, while the folds in the stomach of the right figure, in a typical ancient Egyptian iconographic manner, clearly indicate masculinity, which, however, is missing in the left figure. Newberry based his interpretation on the fact that both wear royal crowns, from which he deduced the masculinity of both figures and then logically - but wrongly - homosexuality from their interaction with each other.

About Tut images resembling Nefertiti - it’s likely they are related if not mother and son so there will be some close similarity.
According to the latest genetic study (Hawass et al. 2010) the Younger Lady from KV35 is the mother of Tutankhamun. The same study shows that Akhenaten was the cousin of the Younger Lady. Gabolde claims in 2013 that the Younger Lady, commonly identified with Kiya, is identical with Nefertiti (from which it would follow, however, that Nefertiti is the mother of Tutankhamun, which contradicts the hypothesis Nefertiti = Dakhamunzu who says "I have no son"). This comes of course very close to Ayrton´s Kiya=Nefertiti hypothesis. The 2010 investigation also revealed that the significant damage to the face of the KV35YL mummy was due to a violent attack (possibly an axe) BEFORE the death of the person, rather than a grave robber damage. This would then, as I wrote recently, in the case that KV35YL = Nefertiti, support the theory of the murder of Nefertiti.

Result of the 2010 survey:

Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun's Family

To elucidate the genealogy in Tutankhamun's family, microsatellite markers were used to achieve genetic fingerprints of all mummies. All 8 females tested were negative for the examined polymorphic Y-chromosomal loci, underlining the specificity of the approach. The repeated search for hemizygous Y alleles in the males yielded few results, with differing success in the various markers contained in the multiplex PCR kit used. Markers DYS393 and Y-GATA-H4 showed identical allele constellations (repeat motif located in the microsatellite allele reiterated 13 and 11 times, respectively) in Amenhotep III, KV55, and Tutankhamun but different allelotypes in the nonrelated CCG61065 sample from TT320 (9 and 9, respectively). Syngeneic Y-chromosomal DNA in the 3 former mummies indicates that they share the same paternal lineage.

These results were repeatedly obtained with DNA extracted from 2 to 4 different biopsies per mummy; moreover, they differed from the Y profiles of the male laboratory staff and were independently reproduced twice in a second laboratory physically isolated from the first, data-generating laboratory.

An up to 30-fold testing of polymorphic autosomal microsatellite loci via the combined use of the Identifiler and AmpF\STR Minifiler kits (Applied Biosystems) yielded complete data sets for all 8 markers in 7 mummies (Thuya, Yuya, Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun, KV55, and both female mummies from KV35) but only partial data for both KV62 fetuses and the KV21A and KV21B mummies (Figure 1). Repeated attempts to complete the profiles in the 4 latter mummies were not successful; however, we were able to replicate some of the results for the previous mummies more than 4 times in the second, independent laboratory (Figure 1). Moreover, because these profiles differed from those of the laboratory staff and were not identical to the ones established for the control group, the data were considered authentic.

Based on the partial Y-chromosomal information on the amount of autosomal half-allele sharing and family trio likelihood calculation, the most plausible 5-generation pedigree was constructed. We identified Yuya and Thuya as great-grandparents of Tutankhamun, Amenhotep III and KV35EL as his grandparents, and the KV55 male and KV35YL as his sibling parents (Figure 1, Figure 2, and online interactive kinship analysis and pedigree; for details on kinship statistics, see eAppendix).
Gynecomastia, Feminity, and Syndromes


The most prominent feature exhibited by the art of the pharaoh Akhenaten, seen also to a lesser degree in the statues and reliefs of Tutankhamun, is a markedly feminized appearance (eFigure 1A-C), reasonably suggesting some form of gynecomastia or Marfan syndrome as an underlying disease.1-4 However, putative breasts in Tutankhamun and his father Akhenaten (KV55) cannot be determined, because KV55 is a mummified skeleton and Tutankhamun lacks the frontal part of the chest wall. The penis of Tutankhamun, which is no longer attached to the body, is well developed. Furthermore, the pelvic bones of Tutankhamun are almost entirely missing, and the pelvis of KV55, which is present but fragmented, does not show feminine traits after reconstruction using computed tomography (eAppendix, eFigure 1D-G, and online interactive feature).

One of the obvious features of Marfan syndrome is dolichocephaly.17-19 With the exception of Yuya (cephalic index, 70.3), none of the mummies of the Tutankhamun lineage has a cephalic index of 75 or less (ie, indicating dolichocephaly). Instead, Akhenaten has an index of 81.0 and Tutankhamun an index of 83.9, indicating brachycephaly. From the control group, Thutmose II and the TT320-CCG61065 mummy show dolichocephaly, with cephalic indices of 73.4 and 74.3, respectively. Because there is no sign of premature closure of sutures, none of the skull shapes can be considered pathological. The complex diagnosis of Marfan syndrome is based on certain combinations of major and minor clinical features.18 Following this classification, a Marfan diagnosis cannot be supported in these mummies (Table 2). Antley-Bixler syndrome is also excluded in Tutankhamun and Akhenaten because their brachycephaly is not attributable to craniosynostoses, and further signs of Antley-Bixler or other syndromes are missing or unspecific.
Pathology in the Royal Mummies


Tutankhamun's mummy was examined several times radiologically.20-23 Our inspection of the skull and trunk did not reveal novel information, but detailed examination of the king's feet yielded new data. Compared with the normal anatomy of the foot (Figure 3), the right foot had a low arch (Rocher angle, 132°; normal value, 126°). The medial longitudinal arch of the left foot was slightly higher than normal (Rocher angle, 120°) (Figure 4A), with the forefoot in supine and inwardly rotated position akin to an equinovarus foot deformity (Figure 4B). There were no pathological findings on the bone structure of the right metatarsal heads (Figure 5A). In contrast, the left second metatarsal head was strongly deformed and displayed a distinctly altered structure, with areas of increased and decreased bone density indicating bone necrosis (Figure 5B). The study further showed a widening of the second metatarsophalangeal joint space, with a normal articulating surface of the proximal phalanx. The third metatarsal head was only slighty deformed; the bony structure, however, showed signs of bone necrosis. The remaining left metatarsal heads appeared to be of normal structure (Figure 5B). The plantar surface of the left second metatarsal head shows a crater-shaped bone and a soft tissue defect in the area of bone necrosis (Figure 5C). The second and third toes on the left foot are in abduction. The second toe is shortened because it lacks the middle phalanx (oligodactyly [hypophalangism]). The proximal phalanx directly articulates with the distal phalanx (Figure 5D).

Except for Ahmose-Nefertari, all remaining mummies were subjected to radiological analyses. Along with various bony malformations (eg, cleft palate, kyphoscoliosis, clubfeet, flat feet) in the remaining mummies, indications of bone degeneration, neoplastic changes, and trauma were also found. These various findings are listed in Table 3 and are described in the eAppendix.
Infectious Diseases


Various infectious diseases are suspected or known to have been prevalent in antiquity,24-27 and some are described in remarkable detail in Egyptian papyri. Positive results were not found for pandemic plague (Black Death, bubonic plague), tuberculosis, leprosy, or leishmaniasis, but we identified DNA of P falciparum (the malaria parasite) in several of the royal mummies. Amplification of the P falciparum STEVOR gene family28 repeatedly yielded 149-bp and 189-bp amplicons for Tutankhamun and the TT320-CCG61065 mummy and also yielded a faint PCR band using DNA of the Yuya mummy. This result was replicated in further PCRs using DNA from other biopsies.

To consolidate or disprove this result, we targeted a further Plasmodium gene using new DNA extracts from the royal mummies in our study. We identified 4 mummies as positive for AMA1, a merozoite protein responsible for the successful binding of the parasite to the erythrocyte membrane, by amplifying DNA fragments locating to the conserved region of the AMA1 gene (Figure 6). The AMA1 PCR fragments were obtained for all mummies testing positive in the earlier STEVOR assays (ie, Tutankhamun, Yuya, TT320-CCG61065). In addition, we also obtained a positive typing for Thuya. Repetition of these experiments in the second laboratory using DNA extractions from new biopsies confirmed the previous data (Figure 6).
 
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(continuation)

In addition to the STEVOR and AMA1 genes, we attempted amplification of alleles of the MSP1 and MSP2 genes specific to P falciparum. Because of the fragmented nature of the ancient DNA, we did not obtain positive amplifications when targeting the larger (>400 bp) PCR alleles of the MSP2 gene but were successful in amplifying different alleles of the MSP1 gene (for details on MSP1 data, see eAppendix).29,30 Using extracts from Tutankhamun and Yuya, we repeatedly amplified the RO33 and MAD20 alleles, which is indicative of at least a double infection with the P falciparum parasite. The DNA of Thuya yielded amplicons for the RO33 allele. The DNA of TT320-CCG61065 was refractory to MSP1 amplifications. Cloning the obtained allelic fragments into TA plasmid vectors and subsequent Sanger sequencing of 21 clones designated the sequences as specific for MSP1 (eAppendix).

Comment
Kinship Determination

More than 55 bone biopsies were used to elucidate the individual relationships of 18th-dynasty individuals, with the result that several of the anonymous mummies or those with suspected identities are now able to be addressed by name. These include KV35EL, who is Tiye, mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun, and the KV55 mummy, who is most probably Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamun (Figure 2, eAppendix, and online interactive kinship analysis and pedigree). The latter kinship is supported in that several unique anthropological features are shared by the 2 mummies and that the blood group of both individuals is identical.31,32
Disease or Amarna Artistic Style?

Macroscopic and radiological inspection of the mummies did not show specific signs of gynecomastia, craniosynostoses, Antley-Bixler syndrome or deficiency in cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase, Marfan syndrome, or related disorders (eAppendix, Table 2). Therefore, the particular artistic presentation of persons in the Amarna period is confirmed as a royally decreed style most probably related to the religious reforms of Akhenaten. It is unlikely that either Tutankhamun or Akhenaten actually displayed a significantly bizarre or feminine physique.

It is important to note that ancient Egyptian kings typically had themselves and their families represented in an idealized fashion. A recent radiographic examination of the Nefertiti bust in the Berlin Museum illustrates this clearly by showing that the original face of Nefertiti, present as a thin layer beneath the outer surface, is less beautiful than that represented by the artifact.33 Differences include the angles of the eyelids, creases around the corners of the mouth on the limestone surface, and a slight bump on the ridge of the nose.34 Thus, especially in the absence of morphological justification, Akhenaten's choice of a “grotesque” style becomes even more significant.
Walking Impairment and Canes

Tutankhamun had a juvenile aseptic bone necrosis of the left second and third metatarsals (Köhler disease II, Freiberg-Köhler syndrome). The widening of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint space, as well as secondary changes of the second and third metatarsal heads, indicate that the disease was still flourishing at the time of death.35 Bone and soft tissue loss at the second metatarsal phalangeal articulation could further indicate that an acute inflammatory condition was present on the basis of an ulcerative osteoarthritis and osteomyelitis. The congenital equinovarus deformity (pes equinovarus) together with the malformed second toe of the left foot (oligodactyly [hypophalangism]) transferred additional joint load to the right foot, causing flattening of the foot arch (pes planus).

There is evidence that Tutankhamun may have had this impairment for quite some time. The walking disability can be substantially aided by the use of a cane. Howard Carter discovered 130 whole and partial examples of sticks and staves (eFigure 3A) in the king's tomb, supporting the hypothesis of a walking impairment.36 Traces of wear can be seen on a number of the sticks, demonstrating that they were used in the king's lifetime (eFigure 3B). Additional evidence for some sort of physical disability is found in a number of 2-dimensional images from Tutankhamun's reign that show him seated while engaged in activities for which he normally should have been standing, such as hunting (eAppendix and eFigure 3C).37,38
Malaria Tropica

Macroscopic studies revealed areas of patchy skin changes on the pharaoh's left cheek and neck of uncertain anamnesis, possibly indicating an Aleppo boil, a plague spot, an inflamed mosquito bite, or a mummification artifact.39 However, the genetic identification and typing of plasmodial DNA in Tutankhamun, Thuya, Yuya, and TT320-CCG61065 showed that they must have had malaria tropica, the most severe form of malaria (eAppendix).

Literary evidence for malaria infection dates back to the early Greek period, when Hippocrates described the periodic fever typical of this disease.40 Although it is believed that malaria widely affected early populations before Hippocrates,27,41 until now only 1 report using immunological tools42 and few molecular genetic studies have clearly identified P falciparum in ancient specimens.43-46 We not only identified this parasite in our sample but also observed individual differences in some of the gene sequences as well as different MSP1 allele constellations in the 4 positive mummies. The diversity of plasmodial DNA (ie, variability in the genes' base order, length polymorphisms, or both) is a well-known phenomenon; however, some of the base deviations were not found in current DNA databases. Further research is required to typify these alterations in more detail and to assign these potentially unknown patterns to ancient Egyptian Plasmodium strains that date back to 3300 to 3400 years before present.

To our knowledge, this is the oldest genetic proof for malaria in precisely dated mummies. When the infection occurred, its severity, and whether it could have caused the death in the 4 mummies testing positive is not known. Preliminary data show that Tutankhamun and Yuya had multiple infections, as could be seen by the presence of the 2 P falciparum alleles MAD20 and RO33 of the MSP1 in the extracts. In contrast, and taking only the MSP1 test system into account, Thuya was infected by only 1 strain, which displayed the RO33 allele.

To date, no association has been found between P falciparum MSP1 genotypes and the clinical status of persons affected.47 We note that mixed P falciparum infections were detected in up to 78% of a contemporary sampling, and even isolates from symptomatic children contained more than 1 Plasmodium clone.47,48 Thus, multiple infections appear to be the norm rather than the exception. Moreover, the MSP1 allele frequencies tend to vary largely in different, sometimes even neighboring, areas but also over time.29 Thus, the prevalence rate of infection is not known—nor is it known if malaria was an epidemic or an endemic disease and how widely it was distributed in ancient Egypt.

Unfortunately, there is also no distinct evidence in ancient Egyptian texts of treatments for malaria, and there are no references to the fevers and chills associated with the disease.49 However, the Nile Delta and the fringes of the Nile Valley were marshy areas and thus excellent breeding grounds for the mosquito genus Anopheles. Interestingly, mosquitoes are mentioned in at least 1 ancient text,50 and it has also been suggested that the wooden frame of Queen Hetepheres (fourth dynasty) served as the support for a mosquito net.50 Herodotus also mentions that Lower Egypt was infested with mosquitoes or other insects and that people slept under nets to avoid them.51 Since there is nothing in the historical or archeological record that speaks against the widespread presence of this carrier in Pharaonic times, there is no evidence that can be used to argue against the diagnosis of malaria.
Cause of Death

Caution must be taken when interpreting cause of death in these mummies. It can be speculated that Yuya and Thuya had malaria, but it is not known if this was lethal (Table 3). Surprisingly, both individuals had reached an advanced (for the time) age of approximately 50 years or older (Table 1). This means either that the infection took place quite late in their lifetime, that they enjoyed strong genetic fitness, or that they aquired a partial immunity against the pathogen during their lives. Not every person infected with P falciparum becomes gravely ill, and this is especially true in populations that have been exposed to malaria pathogens over long periods.52 If Yuya and Thuya spent much of their time living in malaria-endemic areas close to the marshes of the Nile River, partial immunization may have contributed to their survival.

On the other hand, Tutankhamun had multiple disorders, and some of them might have reached the cumulative character of an inflammatory, immune-suppressive—and thus weakening—syndrome (Table 3). He might be envisioned as a young but frail king who needed canes to walk because of the bone-necrotic and sometimes painful Köhler disease II, plus oligodactyly (hypophalangism) in the right foot and clubfoot on the left. A sudden leg fracture23 possibly introduced by a fall might have resulted in a life-threatening condition when a malaria infection occurred. Seeds, fruits, and leaves found in the tomb, and possibly used as medical treatment, support this diagnosis (eAppendix, eFigures 3D and 3E).24,25,53-57

In conclusion, this study suggests a new approach to research into the molecular genealogy and pathogen paleogenomics of the Pharaonic era. With additional data, a scientific discipline called molecular Egyptology might be established and consolidated, thereby merging natural sciences, life sciences, cultural sciences, humanities, medicine, and other fields.
 

Ayrton

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,268
Bendigo
Interestingly, Tammuz, only just last night read an article at Academia regards the statues, depictions etc. of Akhenaten and Nefetiti - and as too often happens to this old man nowadays, I can’t recall who wrote the article or what it was titled! I will try to fins it later though. The article offers some more than interesting thoughts on how Akhenaten and Nefertiti may have borrowed ideas from Nubian and Mittani (and Hittite? Can’t recall) gods and goddesses, in relation to their, loosely speaking, androgynous looking depictions.

Reading Ridleys ‘Akhenaten’ he adroitly dispels those Froelich and Marfan and homosexual theories. But the article I am talking about offers some rather lucid potential explanations. Blooming good not being able to link the article. I will take a good look for it.

Marianne Laban disputes the DNA allows for KV35YL to be a cousin. I am not really in any position to say whether she is right or not. Not only do I not comprehend DNA arguments, house rules disallows discussion of DNA here anyway (probably just as well, though sadly).

I favour Nefertiti as KV35YL for what it is worth. I just think her the best candidate for KV35YL. Though another sister of Akhenaten (Beketaten?) or Meritaten (DNA says no, according to Marianne Luban), IMO remain candidates too.

Even as I type an idea has suddenly occurred to me! Must go and think!

I will read your link in your first post soon. And your second post I will read properly shortly. Want to check something and will get back. Fascinating stuff.


Edit: The link was what you posted. Lol. I am such a dummy.

I think I am still with Corvidius that the main cause of his death was a fall breaking Tuts leg. Other things like infections, and the existence of preexisting conditions, may well have contributed. What do I know? It’s my best guess though. ?
 
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