Mystery of Ramses III's death unravelled
Archaeologists conclude that Bronze Age pharaoh was assassinated in a plot conducted by his second wife, Tiya
Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 18 Dec 2012
Mummy of Pentawere
3D reconstruction image of Ramses III mummy's neck
After two years of scientific and archaeological research and analysis, Egyptologists have solved the mystery of Ramses III's death.
They have discovered the king was murdered as part of a plot woven by his second wife, Tiya, who wished to put her son, Prince Pentawere, on the throne.
According to a medical report published on Monday in the British Medical Journal, a team led by archaeologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, and Cairoscan Centre Executive Director Ashraf Selim, DNA analysis and x-rays carried out on two unknown mummies exhibited at the Egyptian Museum, known as Unknown Man E and the Screaming Mummy, revealed that Unknown Man E is Ramses III, and he was killed by a blow from a sharp knife to the back of his neck.
The x-rays located a Horus eye amulet inside his chest, and four other amulets representing the four sons of Horus.
Hawass points out that these amulets were inserted into the mummy's chest in a special position in order to protect the king during his trip to eternity.
Studies also revealed that the Screaming Mummy is Prince Pentawere, who committed suicide by hanging himself as a result of the failure of the plot.
"We are changing a saga of ancient Egyptian history," Hawass asserts. He explains that these recent results contradict with what was written in the papyrus trial transcripts, which mentioned that Ramses III was not killed during the plot.
The papyrus trial transcripts relate the royal harem’s plot against the king during a celebration at Medinet Habu temple. They planned to kill the king and put his second son on the throne. The papyrus mentions that many individuals were caught up in the plot, including Queen Tiya, Pentawere and a number of key household officials. Some of the plotters were sentenced to death, while others, including Pentawere, were ordered to kill themselves.
King Ramses III reigned from 1187 to 1156 BC.