DNA test confirms Queen Hatshepsut’s mummy

Washington, July 16 : Egyptologists at the University of Manchester have carried out a DNA test on the mummy discovered by an Egyptian archaeological team earlier, and confirmed that it did belong to Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s greatest female pharaoh.

An archaeological team led by Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, recently located her mummy in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, following a one-year study.

They used CT scans to link distinct physical traits of Queen Hatshepsut to that of her ancestors, and narrow the search for the Pharaoh to the couple of female mummies in the KV60 tomb.

They said the final clue was a tooth found within a wooden box inscribed with the female Pharaoh’s name, which matched exactly to the space of the missing molar and the broken root in the mummy’s jaw socket.

Now, a research team led by Dr Angelique Corthals has compared the DNA samples with those taken from Queen Hatshepsut’s royal relatives – her grandmother Ahmose Nefertari, the matriarch of 18th dynasty royalty, and her father Thutmose I, and established that the mummy was indeed hers.

‘The difficulty in carrying out DNA testing on the royal mummies resides in the many times the remains have been handled as well as the chemical processes of mummification. Ironically, the chemicals that preserve the appearance of the mummies actually damage their DNA,’ said Dr Corthals.

‘But the team was able to extract small amounts of genetic information from the areas of the mummies least affected by contamination. When the DNA of the mystery mummy was compared with that of Hatshepsut’s ancestors, we were able to scientifically confirm that the remains were those of the 18th dynasty queen,’ she said.

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