National Geographic : 2009 Apr
root in the mummy and the tooth, and we found that they both matched," Selim says. To be sure, the scientists have proved only that a tooth in a box belongs to a mummy. e identi cation is based on the assumption that the contents of the box are properly labeled and were once vital parts of the famous female pha- raoh. And the box inscribed with Hatshepsut s cartouche is not the typical canopic vessel in which mummi ed organs are found. It s made of wood, not stone, and might have been used to hold jewelry or oils or small valuables. "Some would say we have not found absolute proof," Selim says. "And I would agree." Still, Hawass asks, what are the odds that a box identi ed with Hatshepsut and found in a cache of royal mummies contains a tooth that exactly matches a hole in the smile of a mummy found next to the beloved nurse of Egypt s great female pharaoh? And how marvelous that the tooth was there to connect Hatshepsut s car- touche with a mummy. "If the embalmer hadn t picked it up and put it in with the liver, there is no way we would have known what happened to Hatshepsut," Hawass says. Already the CT scans have changed history, dispelling theories that Hatshepsut might have been killed by her stepson. She probably died of an infection caused by an abscessed tooth, with complications from advanced bone cancer and possibly diabetes. Hawass speculates that the high priests of Amun may have moved her body to the tomb of her nurse to protect it from looters; many royalty of the New Kingdom were hidden in secret tombs for security. As for the DNA tests, the rst round began in April 2007 and has shown nothing de nitive. "With ancient specimens you never have a 100 percent match, because the genetic se- quences aren t complete," says Angélique Cor- thals, a professor of biomedicine and forensic studies at Stony Brook University in New York and one of three consultants working with the Egyptians. "We looked at mitochondrial DNA for the suspected Hatshepsut mummy and her grandmother Ahmose Nefertari. ere is about a 30 to 35 percent chance that the two stepson wreaking vengeance on his unscrupu- lous stepmother fell apart. A more logical sce- nario was devised around the possibility that utmose III needed to reinforce the legitimacy of his son Amenhotep II s succession in the face of rival claims from other family members. And Hatshepsut, once disparaged for ruthless ambi- tion, is now admired for her political skill. "Nobody can know what she was like," says Catharine Roehrig, now a curator in the same department once headed by Hayes. "She ruled for 20 years because she was capable of mak- ing things work. I believe she was very canny and that she knew how to play one person o against the next---without murdering them or getting murdered herself." C lose to two decades a er Donald Ryan rediscovered the location of KV60, Zahi Hawass asked the curators at the Egyp- tian Museum to round up all the unidenti ed and possibly royal female mummies from the 18th dynasty, including the two bodies---one thin, one fat---that had been found in KV60. e thin mummy was retrieved from storage in the museum s attic; the fat one, KV60a, which had remained in the tomb where it had been found, was transported from the Valley of the Kings. Over a four-month period in late 2006 and early 2007, the mummies passed through a CT scan- ner that enabled the archaeologists to examine them in detail and to gauge their age and cause of death. The CT results from the four candidate mummies were inconclusive. en Hawass had another idea. A wooden box engraved with Hat- shepsut s cartouche had been found in a great cache of royal mummies at Deir el Bahri in 1881; it was believed to contain her liver. When the box was run through the scanner, the research- ers were astonished to detect a tooth. e team dentist identi ed it as a secondary molar with part of its root missing. When Ashraf Selim, pro- fessor of radiology at Cairo University, reexam- ined the jaw images of the four mummies, there in the right upper jaw of the fat mummy from KV60 was a root with no tooth. "I measured the THE SOAP OPERA OF A HOTHEADED SON WREAKING VENGEANCE FELL APART.