If the tomb of Tutankhamun is definitely the archaeological treasure the most fabulous find in the Twentieth century, it is surprising that this furniture has not delivered any explicit indication on his parents. We know the name of his principal wife, the third daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, Ankhesenamon, but he died without posterity. The two female fetuses, respectively, seven and nine months, found in the tomb is to this day his only offspring known.

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The life of Tutankhamen is absent from his tomb. Only two objects bear inscriptions that provide information about two insignificant events of his existence: a cane made from a reed that he cut “his own hand” in a reedy delta, devoted to the manufacture of arrows, near the place where Ramses II will build less than a century later his new capital Pi-Ramses, and a range whose feathers were trophies of a hunt ostriches “to the east of Heliopolis”. In sum, apart from this, we know that he was born and that he died seventeen years later.

Out of the tomb, a few inscriptions, generally incomplete and difficult to interpret, provide rare information about his ancestry.

A block found reused in Hermopolis ensures that it is well the “son of the king, of his flesh, his beloved” and that he then called “Toutankhaton”. The same peter said that he had at least one sister or half-sister, whose name was also the name of the god Aton (the solar orb). Finally, the particular module of this block makes sure that it has been engraved in the earlier, under Akhenaten and that he has the capital built by the latter at Tell el-Amarna. In short, all these elements lead us to favor the hypothesis according to which it would be a son of Akhenaten.

Tutankhamun is probably the last child of Akhenaten and Nefertiti

The case would be resolved if there were two inscriptions (in the temple of Luxor at Thebes, and at Soleb, in Nubia) where Tut calls Amenhotep III his “father”. The case complicates further when we examine two other texts of the memorial that the king Aÿ, the successor of Tutankhamun, was built for his predecessor, and where Aÿ refers to Tutankhamun as “his son”… In fact, these latest entries are not to be taken at the foot of the letter. They express the filiation that any king has with a god (and Amenhotep III is a god in the two temples mentioned) or a link generation (Aÿ, who was “father of the god” during the reign of Akhenaten, was sixty years ago when he succeeded Tutankhamun). It is necessary to consider, therefore, that the text contemporary to the time that Tutankhamun was prince is the most reliable and that his father is very likely Akhenaten.

For the mother, the texts are even less explicit. An inscription, mutilated in the royal tomb of Amarna, which is engraved in the burial chamber of the second daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, princess Maketaton, who died around the year 13 of the reign of Akhenaten, says that a toddler in the name lost, still in the arms of her nurse is “(…) born of the [great king’s wife (…)] Nefertiti (…)”.

“the silence of The inscriptions of his reign on his ancestry is mainly due to the stigma that has struck Akhenaten after his death”

Marc Gabolde

As there can be one of the six daughters of Nefertiti because, not only are all already born at that time, but three come to die, the temptation is great to see a seventh child of Nefertiti, a boy, Tutankhamun. DNA tests performed in 2008 by a multidisciplinary team of international led by Zahi Hawass appeared to indicate that the mother of Tutankhamun was a sister uterine of Akhenaten totally unknown, which seems fairly unlikely for someone who would have been daughter of a king, sister of a king, wife of a king and mother of a king. In fact, the same work on DNA show that, in the previous generation there has been a union between cousins (the father-in-law of Amenhotep III was his uncle). If the model has been replicated to the generation of Akhenaten and mother of Tutankhamun was itself a result of marriages between cousins of the same families, then the DNA of these cousins from unions between cousins looks like the DNA of a brother and a sister. As it is a solution that allows for both to reconcile the results of genetic than those provided by the texts, it is necessary to adopt it.

Tutankhamun is therefore likely to be the last child of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The silence of the inscriptions of his reign on his ancestry is mainly due to the stigma that has struck Akhenaten after his death and which forced in any way to the young king to disown his parents.

© Laboratoriorosso, Viterbo/Italy

Tutankhamun – the treasure of The Pharaoh

On the occasion of the splendid exhibition to the Grande Halle de la Villette (which sees the treasure leave Egypt for the last time before joining the collections of the Grand Egyptian Museum), Le Figaro Hors-série focuses on the figure of gorgeous, this pharaoh juvenile. The best egyptologists penetrate the buried secrets of his existence, backed up by the most beautiful photographs of her treasure: the story of her life, virtual tour of the exhibition, presentation and deciphering of the sublime objects of his tomb, analysis of geopolitical context, a report by Egypt on its traces, and from Luxor to Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, the discovery of the Grand Egyptian Museum currently under construction in Cairo… He had ruled, there are more than three thousand years, on the civilization the most powerful in the mediterranean region. He was sitting on a throne of glory much too large for him. It is, however, in front of his traits of gold that humanity is a joy.

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