How did Hatshepsut die

The mummy of the pharaoh Hatshepsut

A missing mummy

Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for 20 years, roughly from 1479 to 1458 BC, and probably died in 1457 BC. A violent death was assumed, a murder for political reasons. It was not until 2007 that the riddle of Hatshepsut was finally solved.

The mummy Hatshepsut could not be found for a long time. Only a tooth and some mummified organs that had served as grave goods were found in a wooden box in their magnificent mortuary temple. In 2006, archaeologists tried again and examined all the female mummies in the Cairo Museum using modern laboratory methods such as DNA analysis and computed tomography.

But you couldn't find Hatshepsut. Finally, people remembered that there was a private grave of Hatshepsut's wet nurse Sat-Re in the Valley of the Kings, where a mummy had once been left unnoticed. This was finally brought to Cairo for examination.

Sensation in 2007

In June 2007 the researchers presented their results: The missing mummy Hatshepsut had been found!

The DNA analysis of the tissue of the mummy from the wet nurse's grave showed that the deceased was associated with Hatshepsut's father Thutmose I, her half-brother Thutmose II and her nephew / stepson Thutmose III. had to be related. And the results of the computer tomography clearly show that the tooth from Hatshepsut's wooden box fits exactly into the gap between the teeth of the mummy.

With the discovery of the mummy it was finally proven that Hatshepsut had not been murdered - as some researchers suspected - but died naturally. A disease, cancer or diabetes is suspected to be the cause of death.

When the mummy was found at the beginning of the 20th century, the researchers noticed the bloated body. Presumably Hatshepsut was very ill at the end of her life.

Hatshepsut's childhood

Little is known about Hatshepsut's childhood. Her father Thutmose I had offspring from another connection - the Egyptian pharaohs mostly lived polygamously, i.e. with several wives.

Three of Thutmose I's four sons from the next marriage died early. The youngest became the successor of the father - as Pharaoh Thutmose II.

As the eldest daughter from her father's main marriage, Hatshepsut probably enjoyed a privileged position and was treated as a kind of crown princess until the birth of her half-brother.

Hatshepsut as a pharaoh

When Hatshepsut's father Thutmose I died, his son Thutmose II became king and Hatshepsut became his wife. Not much is known about Thutmose II. It is believed that he was very young when he came into power and that he reigned only briefly - probably for three years.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter, Neferure. The king had a son from a secondary connection. When Thutmose II died, the children should not have been older than two years. The reign for the minor Thutmose III. was initially exercised by Hatshepsut's mother.

Only after their death did Hatshepsut take over this task. Regents for underage kings were not uncommon in Egypt, since the 1st dynasty these have been documented. Hatshepsut thus had a long tradition.

Warlord, duchess of peace, builder

Although she became famous as the "Princess of Peace", Hatshepsut was also involved in numerous acts of war. The reopening of the turquoise mines on Sinai was associated with armed conflicts against nomadic tribes.

There is also evidence of the crackdown on rebellions in Egypt-ruled Nubia. What is decisive, however, is the fact that Egypt was respected by its neighbors during its rule.

Since Hatshepsut's reign was largely peaceful, she was able to devote herself to other plans. For example, in the ninth year of her government, she started the famous trade expedition to Punt.

The journey was arduous and risky, as the ships after a short Nile voyage north through the desert to the east to the Red Sea had to be reassembled there before they could continue sailing.

Lively scenes in Hatshepsut's mortuary temple depict the adventures of the expedition and the friendly reception in Punt. Valuable goods could be brought from there: precious resins, precious woods, ivory and rare animals.

Hatshepsut received this personally in Karnak - it was to be one of her greatest successes. Today the expedition to Punt is considered to be the first botanical collecting trip in history.

Under Hatshepsut, Egypt had become a rich country again, the trade routes to the south and east were open, and tribute payments abundantly flowed from areas that were under Egyptian administration and protection.

Building on this wealth, Hatshepsut began a gigantic temple building program. The focus was on Thebes, where she must have built the temple in Karnak almost continuously.

Karnak received a second pair of obelisks, a ship's shrine (the Red Temple) for the procession boat das Amun, a new southern pylon (Tortum), a new royal palace and a number of extensions to the processional aisles for the 15th anniversary of the throne. These processions made it possible for the common people to witness the appearance of the god in person.

Usually the god, personified by his cult image, rested in his shrine in the temple, shielded and hidden from all eyes. He was beyond belief for the common man. Now a new experience of closeness to God arose for the population, which led to increased piety.

Hatshepsut disappears from history

Hatshepsut's most ambitious project was her mortuary temple in Deir el-Bahari, across from the city of Luxor. Erected in the middle of the parched desert, the temple was one of the most beautiful structures in the ancient world.

The temple was adorned with a series of colossal statues depicting Hatshepsut as the living Osiris wearing either the white crown of southern Egypt or the double crown of both countries.

A stele reports that Hatshepsut died in the 22nd year of her reign. It was followed by Thutmose III, who continued to rule very successfully on his own for another 33 years.

Towards the end of his tenure, attempts were made to erase Hatshepsut from all records. Her pictures have been carved from the stone walls and she has been removed from official historiography. In the temple of Deir el-Bahari their monumental statues were torn down, smashed or beheaded and buried. In Karnak people tried to wall their obelisks.

Why all this happened is unclear. It is believed that Thutmose III. towards the end of his life wanted to clear up his personal history and relegate Hatshepsut to her rightful place as queen and regent, but not as pharaoh. So he was able to successfully claim the achievements of the common government for himself.