A Fantastic New Find!

by Lester Picker

Although it is not in the time period that I typically write about (the First Dynasty), this past week brought some exciting news about Ancient Egypt during the very early years of the 18th Dynasty. I believe I can safely say that more has been written about the 18th Dynasty than any other period of Egyptian history. And, no wonder. It was a glorious, exciting and contentious period and its Pharaohs were legendary. The royal palace was full of intrigue.

Last week’s announcement actually involved a mummy that was uncovered 140 years ago. Amenhotep I was the son of the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Up to this day, archaeologists have been reluctant to remove the wrappings from his body because of their pristine nature and their ornamentation.

Instead, scientists used 3D CT scans to obtain a highly detailed view of his facial structure. Amazingly, he had a full set of nicely formed teeth, a rarity in a country in which people ate sandy bread that resulted in horrible dentition.

Dr. Sahar Saleem, professor of radiology at Cairo University, announced the details of her work and showed images of the scans. From the scans Saleem’s team determined that Amenhotep I was about 5 feet and 6 inches tall and about 35 years old when he died. He was in good health at the time, leading the researchers to suggest that he may have died from a virus or an infection. For more information, BBC News has a good article summarizing the find.

One more item… you wonderful readers know that my focus has been on the very First Dynasty, that incredible period when Egypt was finally united under one rule. My First Dynasty Trilogy averages 4+ stars on Amazon. But wait! In 2022 I will debut a new novel that takes place toward the end of - what else? - the 18th Dynasty!! Please stay tuned.

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