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Mummy of Neskhons, a 21st Dynasty Theban Queen


Neskhons, at about age 30, died in ca. 973 BC, near the end of the reign of her husband Pinedjem II (990-969 BC), High Priest of Amun in Thebes. Her remains were found, along with those of others buried in Cache DB-320, by Brugsch and Maspero in 1881. Neskhons lay within one of the two original coffins of her burial, which was intact. The other (outer) coffin had been later taken and used for the mummy of Ramesses IX. 

While Neskhons' mummy was partly unwrapped by  Maspero in 1886, it was not fully studied until 1906 by  Grafton Eliot Smith. Smith (1912) could not determine her age at death with precision, but based a lack of gray hair, he estimated her to be about 30. Her stomach appeared swollen, leading Smith  to believe Neskhons had been pregnant or else had died in childbirth.

Originally, Neskhons had worn a heart scarab, and flowers had been wrapped around her left ankle and foot. She had been covered with a shroud that, much later, had been cut open by tomb robbers of the Abd el-Rassul family (who lived near the tomb), as they plundered DB-320's contents ca. 1860-1880. Although they stole the heart scarab, this was recovered by Maspero in 1881, and is now in the British Museum (EA-25584).

Fig.1: Mummy of Neskhons (ca. 1015-985 BC), profile view of head, showing hair arrangement  (photo: Smith 1912; Cairo Museum CG61095).

    Numerous grave goods associated with the primary burial of Neskhons were found in DB-320, including copper libation vessels, a figurine of Osiris (god of the underworld), glass and faience items in a basket, a papyrus text, a shabti box, and  four canopic containers (now in the British Museum), whose lids represent the Four Sons of Horus, the falcon god.. 


Smith, G.E. 1912.  The Royal Mummies. Cairo
Miller, W.  The Theban Tomb Project (website)

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