Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thuya Related to Dynasty 20??

I was going over the autosomal DNA of Ramesses III and that of his son, "Unknown Man E", who could be Pentaweret--when I noticed that some of their alleles at the various loci looked familiar.  Then I recalled where I had seen them previously.  In the autosomal DNA of Thuya--the mother of Queen Tiye!

Thuya was the wife of Yuya, who seems to have been a relative of Amunhotep III.  But Yuya and Thuya don't appear to be closely related at all, according to their DNA profiles.  In fact, old Thuya has much more in common, genetically, with the men of Dynasty 20!  Why this would be I am not at all sure.  A man called Setnakht was the founder of the 20th Dynasty.  We have no idea who he was, but the evidence points to his having had a brief reign.  Ramesses III was most certainly the son of Setnakht and "Unknown Man E" the son of Ramesses III, according to their autosomal DNA profiles. The mother of  "Unknown Man E" was named Tiye.  But see this at the various markers or loci:


Ram. III     7/10
Unknown E   7/10
Thuya      7/12


Ram. III      6/15
Unknown E   6/13
Thuya     10/13


Ram.  III   15/28
Unknown E  19/28
Thuya    19/26


Ram. III   28/35
Unknown E  29.2/35
Thuya  26/35


Ram. III   8/11
Unknown E  8/12
Thuya  11/13


Ram.  III    8/12
Unknown E  12/26
Thuya   8/19


Ram. III  24/34.2
Unknown E  24/26
Thuya  24/26


Ram. III   9/12
Unknown E  9/13
Thuya  9/12

As you can see, Thuya does not fail to have at least one matching allele to either the father or the son at eight microsatellites or loci.     I'll have to investigate further, if possible.  The distance in time between Thuya and these men can be roughly calculated.  One can estimate that the mother of Queen Tiye died in Year 30 of Amunhotep III.  Allowing for an 8-year coregency between that pharaoh and Akhenaten [in which I have come to believe] the ensuing reigns up to Setnakht add up  to about 155 years.  We can't be certain of the durations of all the kings involved.  Since Setnakht had a short reign [only up to Year 4 attested] it may be that he was not young and had been born during the long kingship of Ramesses II.  Autosomal DNA can reveal near relatives as well as distant ones. 

"Unknown Man E", probably Prince Pentaweret, was involved in a plot against his father and Tiye, his mother, was also accused.  Evidently, these two believed Pentaweret had a strong claim to the throne.   Thuya, for her part, appears to have had a connection to both Ramesses III and the mother of "Unknown Man E", according to the DNA.

Friday, May 15, 2015


My latest book!  Don't miss it because I devote an entire chapter to the DNA of the royal mummies and make it easy to understand with a brief tutorial.  I also explain the rare alleles of the autosomal DNA in the extended family of Tutankhamun and where they can be found outside of Egypt. It's quite fascinating, really, and more than a little mysterious.  I think it's important that persons with an interest in Egyptology begin to get a better handle on how all that works because it's a new facet of the field and isn't going to go away. At least I hope not! There are so many things in “My Quest For Nefertiti” that aren't discussed in any other book about the Amarna Era. You may never view the royal family at the end of the 18th Dynasty in the same way again.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Where Is the DNA of Thutmose IV?

Recently, I wrote an email to the Secretary-general of the SCA in Egypt, asking for publication of the autosomal DNA of the pharaoh Thutmose IV, as I feel our understanding of the 18th Dynasty can go no farther without this information.  Ever since Zahi Hawass et al published the DNA testing results of Tutankhamun and his family members in JAMA, people have found it odd that Thutmose IV was not included in the study.  His mummy is fairly securely identified and, besides, the face resembles his own portraits from antiquity and also bears some resemblance to the head of the mummy of his father, Amenhotep II.

Amenhotep III was tested and so was the mummy formerly called "the Elder Lady", long thought by some, including myself, to be Queen Tiye.  This was confirmed, as her DNA showed her to have been the daughter of Yuya and Thuya, also included in the study.  Moreover, it looks quite likely that Yuya was a relative of Amenhotep III, a rather surprising and not insignificant development.  We do not, evidently, have the mummy of Mutemwia, the mother of Amenhotep III, but there is Thutmose IV for sure.  Had this last been tested, it would have been possible to know if Yuya was related to Nebmaare Amenhotep on the paternal or maternal side.  Persons are speculating that Yuya was a brother to Mutemwia, but I do not concur, as one can see in my paper, "The Name of Thuya", which can be read here:

It is up to the Egyptians to explain why Thutmose IV was left out of the DNA study or publication when it would seem his inclusion might have answered some questions that arose out of the study, itself.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

King Tut's Chariot Mishap

This documentary, "Building Pharaoh's Chariot"

has convinced me that the injuries on the mummy of Tutankhamun are consistent with falling out of a moving chariot while shooting arrows.  The making of an Egyptian chariot, re-discovering a lost art, is fascinating, too--but one must watch the show to the end to see what may have happened to the young king.  The injuries to his body are on the left side.  The archer did not shoot the arrows straight ahead over the heads of  the horses but from the side of  the car.  He chose his target or targets by having the driver charge past them.  In a battle charge, the driver would maneuver the team in a circular pattern so that the archer would only expose himself to the enemy for a short time until the driver circled back.   Watching how it's done in the video is far more edifying than any explanation from me.

Meanwhile, the bowman uses the open left side of the front panel  and its railing in order to gain purchase with one of his legs.   However, if  the right-handed shooter is somehow ejected from the car at a good  rate of speed, he will almost certainly land on his exposed left side.  Watch the film and  see if you agree.

Monday, June 23, 2014

DNA of the 12 Tribes

I don't completely get what the people who have this "Etz Yoseph" page think they can accomplish.  Evidently, they believe the 12 Tribes of Israel can be identified via DNA--and perhaps each tribe will have its own y-haplogroup.  I placed a comment on the page, saying that if one believes in these 12 tribes and that the founders were all sons of Jacob, the yDNA  of all should belong to the same haplogroup.  A father passes on his yDNA to all his sons and this continues as long as the male generations exist. I also wrote that, to account for the varying haplogroups of the Jews, one needs to recall that even the Torah states that a "mixed multitude" left Egypt under the leadership of Moses. 
Exodus 12:38..."Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children. A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock."
 With the giving of the Law of Moses is when the Jewish religion really began, but a religion has no DNA.  Converts, such as the Khazars, have to be taken into account, as well.  Otherwise, for a very long time, he who professes to be a Jew is considered a Jew as long as he has a Jewish mother--so the yDNA [male lineage] is not essential to the question "Who is a Jew" let alone can indicate to which original tribe ones ancestors belonged.  In the days of persecutions and pogroms, a Jewish woman can have found herself impregnated by a non-Jewish rapist.  The comments on that site are moderated and mine was not published.  As it was reasonably worded, I don't know why--unless my words went contra some agenda.

As far as I can tell, the Messianic Jews [people who believe Jesus is the Messiah]
 who run that website are urging Jews to undergo DNA testing in order to find some lost tribe.  That's what I gather, but if I am wrong they can come here and correct me.   However, if that is what they are advocating--that the yDNA of Jewish males can be separated into "tribes"--then I think that is not possible now--nor will it ever be.   While some over the many years have referred to Jews as belonging to a "race", the Jews, themselves,  claim to be a "people".  They know they are not descended of one stock alone as, for one thing, the descendants of Jacob lived in Egypt for 400 years, they would have mixed their blood with Egyptians, both males and females.   There was nothing at all to prevent it. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Model In the Tomb of Nefertari?

Taking another look at some images from the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II, I noticed something unusual.  In fact, the paintings of the face of the royal lady seemed innovative to me long ago as they evidence an attempt to create an  effect that would not be seen again in Egypt for centuries.  That would be in the Classic Era when  actual full-face portraits of the deceased were painted for their funerary trappings.  By then, Egyptian artists had learned to paint with highlights and shadows in order to make a face appear more than merely one-dimensional.

Even though the portraits in the tomb of Nefertari continued to follow the usual canon of representing the human face and form, something new was added--an attempt to use shadows for the reasons already stated.  Some time ago I watched a Masterpiece Theater version of Dickens' tale "Bleak House" with actress Gillian Anderson as Lady Deadlock.  Because the story was written in the 19th Century, some scenes were shot with minimal lighting in order to convey how dark rooms appeared then with only candles or such primitive illumination as was possible in those times.  This view of Gillian Anderson reminded me of Queen Nefertari as she appears in profile in her tomb.

The profile is of a very similar type, but more important is the shadow on the cheek of the actress, which is very like that which the tomb's master artist painted on the cheek of Nefertari. as you can see below.   What is interesting is that the effect in both the cases of the photograph and the wall painting are the result of muted illumination that cast those shadows on the profile.  Would the Egyptian artist have recollected how that appeared from his own experience in the likewise dimly-lit chambers of his time--or did he have an actual model posing for him right there in the tomb, saved from darkness only by some oil lamps?  We don't normally think of the Egyptians using models for their tomb paintings as, mostly, the human faces are not executed in a "painterly" manner but just painted "flat", with only one color.  But that is not true of the face of Queen Nefertari.  If the artist used a model, it surely would not have been the queen, herself, but a woman who resembled her.  Perhaps the artist knew such a woman and this was his inspiration for asking her to pose.  And then he decided to paint her face as he saw it--shadows and all.  Note:  These are not my images.  I am using them for educational purposes only.