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Hello, mummy!


The mummy of Seti II (Source: Smith 1912, plate LXVI).

This week we are getting to know another famous king, Seti II.

Seti II, the fifth king of the Nineteenth Dynasty, was the son of the pharaoh Merneptah. This period was characterised by short rules and Seti II’s followed this trend, lasting around six years. However, during his short reign, he had to repel attempts to take the throne by a rival king, Amenmesse. Amenmesse managed to take control of Thebes and Nubia during Seti’s second and fourth regnal years.

A statue of Seti II in the Turin Museum (Source: Wikipedia).

Amenmesse may have been a half brother of Seti II’s and, for this reason, the Tale of the Two Brothers (a narrative text dating to the reign of Seti II) is often considered to be a political satire about the contest for the throne.
During his reign, Seti II promoted Chancellor Bay to a position that made him the most important official and he built a tomb for him in The Valley of the Kings along with tombs for himself and his queen, Tausret. This was unusual particularly as Bay was of Syrian descent and was not related to the royal family.

A small temple erected at Karnak by Seti II (Source: Wikipedia).

Although his reign was short, Seti II still managed to accomplish some building works. He built at Karnak and founded a barque station in front of the second pylon. He also expanded the copper mining activity at Timna and built a temple to Hathor in the region.

A pair of gold earrings bearing the name of Seti II (Source: Wikipedia).

Seti died around six years after taking the throne and, due to his short reign, his tomb, KV15, was unfinished. The mummy was unwrapped in 1905 and had been badly damaged in antiquity. The head was detached, the neck had been broken, both arms had been broken off, and the right forearm and hand were completely missing.

The mummy was discovered in an uninscribed coffin and the original decorations had been hacked off. His mummy was found in the cache, KV35.

In 1908, the Egyptologist Edward R. Ayrton discovered a small burial in KV56. He was working for Theodore M. Davis at the time, and Davis called this tomb ‘The Gold Tomb’ as it featured a small cache of jewellery bearing the name of Seti II.

Bibliography and further reading:

The Theban Royal Mummy Project – Seti II: http://members.tripod.com/anubis4_2000/mummypages2/19A.htm#Seti%20II

‘Re-excavating ‘The Gold Tomb’’ from a 2001 lecture by Nicholas Reeves at University College London: http://www.nicholasreeves.com/item.aspx?category=Events&id=257

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