The Valley of the Kings is one of the most important historical sites in Egypt. The site has helped reveal Egypt’s past and to bring new insights and discoveries to light. Recently, studies have been conducted over the various mummies that have been found in the Valley. The royal family of mummies under research lived about 3,300 years ago. The most famous of the family is King Tutankhamun, who reigned nearly 1,000 years after the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.
The Valley of the Kings is where a large portion of King Tut’s family was buried during his family’s reign. When he passed on to the afterlife, he had no heir to the throne and was hastily buried in a tomb originally intended for someone not of the royal family. Due to the passage of time, the deterioration of pictorial accounts of lineage and the destruction nature wrought on the tombs in the valley, it has been near impossible so far to determine a match between the royalty of historical record and the actual mummies.
The newly published findings by Zahi Hawass, in the September 2010 issue of National Geographic, have illuminated some of the connections between the mummies and their ancestry. The 10 mummies involved in the study had been found within the valley over the past 112 years by both professional archaeologists and happen-stance occurrences.
In one instance thieves had robbed a royal tomb with 2 mummies in it thousands of years ago. In the process of the robbery, most of the records of the people buried inside were destroyed. When priests found the thievery, they moved the 2 mummies to a different tomb, hoping to safeguard the mummies to the future. Archaeologists, entering the tomb over 3,000 years later have quite a problem when there are no records to trace the mummies ancestry. So in today’s modern age, the science of DNA analysis has become vitally important and has progressed enough to provide a few answers to the many questions.
By sequencing the DNA, it was found that not only were these mummies related, but they were also very close. It is now known that Akhenaten, King Tut’s father actually sired Tutankhamun with his own sister. Strangely, King Tut would also go on to marry his own half-sister. When this type of gene reproduction happens, there is twice the chance that genetic disorders will be passed to the offspring. It appears that King Tut, who had both a clubbed foot and a cleft palate was an example of this. Along with his inability to have offspring with his sister due to the high risk from congenital defects.
It would seem that the royal family ended its own rule over Egypt, by keeping it in the family. Ramses l was the leader of the next dynasty to take over. After assuming power he went about destroying all relics of the previous dynasty, including building over the burial sites of King Tut. Inadvertently hiding Tut’s tomb from robbers and ensuring that the name he wanted to banish would be known across the world as one of the most prestigious Egyptian finds of all time.