Mommy, No Mummy

Archeologists in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings have concluded that the recently-discovered tomb KV-63 was the tomb of Queen Kiya, the mother of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. No royal mummy was found, however, just seven badly-degraded wooden coffins and several storage jars filled with pottery shards, mummification remains, and other leftovers.

King Tut reigned during the turbulent time of the 18th Dynasty, and Kiya was the wife of the renegade Pharoah Akhenaten, who briefly converted Egypt to the monotheistic Aten religion that worshipped the sun disc during what is called the “Amarna Period” of Egyptian history. Little is known of Queen Kiya other than she was the mother of Tut and a wife of Akhenaten (the other being the famously elusive Nefertiti). A sarchophagus with Queen Kiya’s name was found in another tomb in the Valley of the Kings, KV-55.

The Amarna Period is one of the most fascinating periods in Egyptian history as it has all the elements of a great story – a renegade heretic king, his beautiful wife, palace intrigue, and possibly murder. Akhenaten’s successors tried to remove the heretic Pharoah’s name from history – ironically making him all that more interesting.

Despite the lack of a royal mummy, the investigation into KV-63 provides a fascinating look into a turbulent period of Egyptian history and the people who lived and died during it.

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