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Still Waters

Nefertiti was King King Tut’s mom?

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A genetic investigation by French archaeologist Marc Gabolde is threatening to rewrite the history books on two of ancient Egypt's most iconic figures.

For years, antiquities experts have assumed that Akhenaten and his unnamed sister were the parents of the world's most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun. And in fact, recent DNA analyses suggested as much. But as Gabolde's new interpretation of the genetic data shows, King Tut's mom may have been none other than his father's first cousin, Nefertiti.

http://io9.com/59836...s-king-tuts-mom

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Well, I guess "King King Tut" is better than "King Tut Tut!" :P

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Unsubstantiated guesswork by French archaeologist Marc Gabolde is threatening to rewrite the history books on two of ancient Egypt's most iconic figures.

Fixed.

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mommie !!!!

~slo mo sequence of two mummies running toward each other on the peak of a sand dune in the middle of a massive sea of deset dunes, the sun setting, bursting the sky into a massive electron haze of warm hues and tones ... ~

mummies !!!

~cue orchestra piece "Mother and Child reunion"

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Gabolde told his audience that this DNA evidence was incorrectly interpreted. The apparent genetic closeness, he argued, was on account of three successive generations of marriage between first cousins.

"The consequence of that is that the DNA of the third generation between cousins looks like the DNA between a brother and sister," he said. "I believe that Tutankhamun is the son of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, but that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins."

So it's an assumption if anything.

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Very dubious about this. Until the most complete DNA data of all the Armarna period mummies are released for independant analysis by multiple agencies, and I doubt this will happen any time soon, then we simply do not know for certain about questions like this. What Gabolde very strongly suggests here is that the body in KV55 was Akhenaten, and this is hotly disputed, and that KV35YL, identified by DNA as Tutankhamun's mother, is actually Nefertiti. Fletcher tried to suggest this ten or so years ago and was blown out of the water. I see no reason to salvage that sunken idea. I think Gabolde is wrong because I do not believe KV35YL to be Nefertiti.

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Very dubious about this. Until the most complete DNA data of all the Armarna period mummies are released for independant analysis by multiple agencies, and I doubt this will happen any time soon, then we simply do not know for certain about questions like this. What Gabolde very strongly suggests here is that the body in KV55 was Akhenaten, and this is hotly disputed, and that KV35YL, identified by DNA as Tutankhamun's mother, is actually Nefertiti. Fletcher tried to suggest this ten or so years ago and was blown out of the water. I see no reason to salvage that sunken idea. I think Gabolde is wrong because I do not believe KV35YL to be Nefertiti.

The biggest item working against Gabolde's theory IMO is that while Akhenaten did have sisters there is no evidence that Nefertiti was one of them. Her ancestry is still very much a matter of debate.

cormac

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Err is this new?, I am sure I read about this way back in 1995 or the postulation of it. :)

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The biggest item working against Gabolde's theory IMO is that while Akhenaten did have sisters there is no evidence that Nefertiti was one of them. Her ancestry is still very much a matter of debate.

cormac

Not to be nitpicky, but it states that Nefertiti was a cousin, not a sister. Who knows? Unless we can di dna analysis with 100% accuracy of the identity if the mummies, will probably never know the truth.

Edited by glorybebe

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Not to be nitpicky, but it states that Nefertiti was a cousin, not a sister. Who knows? Unless we can di dna analysis with 100% accuracy of the identity if the mummies, will probably never know the truth.

But the parents of Tutankhamum were brother and sister according to the DNA analysis and such analyses can determine the difference between a cousin and a sibling.

cormac

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But the parents of Tutankhamum were brother and sister according to the DNA analysis and such analyses can determine the difference between a cousin and a sibling.

cormac

Ah! Gotcha!

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Ah! Gotcha!

And just to throw this out there, there have been two possibilities presented for Nefertiti in the original JAMA report. One is KV35 YL and the other, KV35 EL. In neither case do the microsatellites match sufficiently for either lady to be a full sister of Akhenaten. Which means that if either lady really was Nefertiti then she definitely wasn't Tutankhamun's mother.

post-74391-0-15347600-1360870113_thumb.g

cormac

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And just to throw this out there, there have been two possibilities presented for Nefertiti in the original JAMA report. One is KV35 YL and the other, KV35 EL. In neither case do the microsatellites match sufficiently for either lady to be a full sister of Akhenaten. Which means that if either lady really was Nefertiti then she definitely wasn't Tutankhamun's mother.

post-74391-0-15347600-1360870113_thumb.g

cormac

What makes you say that? Looks like a perfect match to me. Both KV55 and KV35YL have alleles from their putative parents (KV35EL and Amenhotep III) at every locus.

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Err is this new?, I am sure I read about this way back in 1995 or the postulation of it. :)

You could well have been reading about this since 1925 let alone 1995. What has breathed new life into this ancient and contentious nonsense is the DNA testing done in 2010.

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What makes you say that? Looks like a perfect match to me. Both KV55 and KV35YL have alleles from their putative parents (KV35EL and Amenhotep III) at every locus.

Your right. Got a bit ahead of myself with two different trains of thought. The whole "first cousin/full sister" bit threw me off. What I should have said was that if KV35 Elder Lady was Nefertiti, then there is no way she was Tutankhamun's mother*. And there is no extant information from Ancient Egypt on Nefertiti's parentage**, to make her a biological sister of Akhenaten, so Gabolde is attempting to pidgeon-hole her into the genetic lineage based on nothing. So it's basically wishful thinking on his part.

* Although KV35 EL may have been Queen Tiye.

** Although some think she may have been a daughter of Ay, which again would rule her out as Akhenaten's full-sister.

cormac

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I agree with cormac. It's too bad this discussion has already grown quiet and I regret not having had the time to weigh in until tonight, but Marc Gabolde's conclusions are a bit of a stretch, to say the least. As cormac noted, nothing certain is known of Nefertiti's parentage, so suddenly placing her as a first cousin of Akhenaten seems decidedly odd to me. In the first place there is not much evidence for how cousins came into play in the royal families at any point in dynastic history, aside possibly from some muddled periods when there was royal infighting such as at the end of Dynasty 19 and in the late Third Intermediate Period (and I'm only speculating on this much because I can't recall accounts of first cousins off the top of my head, even at these times).

As Aidan Dodson states in his book on royal families, nowhere is Nefertiti described as a King's Daughter or a King's Sister so there is simply nothing to argue she was of any kind of royal birth (2004: 146). The connection with Ay that cormac mentioned is itself far from certain, although plausible. Ay bore the title of God's Father which can be taken to mean several things. The "god" in this case would ordinarily refer to a king or queen, so there's the suggestion that it's a reference to Nefertiti and hence he was her father (ibid 147). It has to be stressed, however, that this is only theoretical and no evidence exists to support it directly.

In any case, if true, this alone would rule out Nefertiti as Tut's mother. There's also the fact that of the children produced by Akhenaten and Nefertiti (six daughters, all well attested), Tut is nowhere referred to as one of their children.

The genetics are quite clear that Tut's parents were a full brother and sister. The two mummies are not identified by name and no extant evidence helps us to identify them with certainty, but the mummy of Tut's father is referred to as KV55 and the mother as KV35YL. The JAMA report published subsequent to the genetic analyses (2007-2009) boldly identifies KV55 as Akhenaten, but one can sense at play here the overbearing hand of Zahi Hawass. The news article in the OP makes mention of this controversy, and in point of fact quite a lot of people came out to speak against it and in a follow-up National Geographic article Hawass softened his stance on the issue and admitted the Akhenaten identification was just what he personally believes.

The KV55 mummy is in fact that of a man too young at death to have been Akhenaten. Akhenaten reigned for seventeen years and would've died somewhere in his mid-thirties. KV55 is the mummy of a man who most likely died in his early twenties. A more realistic theoretical identification for him is the ephemeral and short-reigned king named Smenkhkare. Who exactly this king was is not well understood, although he may have been a son of Akhenaten's or, more likely, a brother. The identification for Tut's mother, KV35YL, is even more problematic, although it's plausible to see her as one of the numerous daughters of Amunhotep III and Tiye. Here again the full brother-sister marriage for Tut's parents comes into play.

The mummy known as KV35EL is most likely Tiye and is the body of an elderly woman. I cannot see her as Nefertiti.

Cormac's summary is spot-on: Gabolde is trying to pigeon-hole Nefertiti into a role he wants her to fit. That doesn't make it real.

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thats just alot of incest

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Posted (edited)

Disturbing actually, and I wonder if any, or how many, AE royalty had a brother who was also their father. It's always possible that some DNA results are not released because they are just too shocking....

Anyway, having six fingers on each hand makes for really fast typing :)

Edited by Atentutankh-pasheri

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Disturbing actually, and I wonder if any, or how many, AE royalty had a brother who was also their father. It's always possible that some DNA results are not released because they are just too shocking....

Anyway, having six fingers on each hand makes for really fast typing :)

Pity the ancient royals had no typewriters, then.

Listen to me—"typewriters." Now I'm dating myself. Let's change that to computer keyboards. But as far as that goes, at least the old-fashioned typewriters didn't require electricity, so the ancient royals with their dozen fingers are screwed on all counts.

What DNA results would be too shocking? Thanks to DNA analysis we know now Tut's parents were a brother and sister, and the "icky" factor doesn't get much worse than that. Besides which, most modern folk love to hear about all of the ickiness ancient people were capable of. Humans have become a lurid and gratuitous race. :D

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Pity the ancient royals had no typewriters, then.

Listen to me—"typewriters." Now I'm dating myself. Let's change that to computer keyboards. But as far as that goes, at least the old-fashioned typewriters didn't require electricity, so the ancient royals with their dozen fingers are screwed on all counts.

What DNA results would be too shocking? Thanks to DNA analysis we know now Tut's parents were a brother and sister, and the "icky" factor doesn't get much worse than that. Besides which, most modern folk love to hear about all of the ickiness ancient people were capable of. Humans have become a lurid and gratuitous race. :D

Ah, about shocking, I was thinking about a well know Americanism that is slightly worse than brother/sister :whistle:

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