Egypt: 3,400-year-old sarcophagus of Tutankhamun’s grandmother opened – ‘Magnificent!’ | World | News

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Thuya was an Egyptian noblewoman of the Eightieth Dynasty who was the mother of queen Tuye and the wife of Tuya. She is best known for being the grandmother of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun, two great pharaohs of the same era. Together with her husband, Thuya was buried in the Valley of the Kings in the famous tomb KV46, until she was found in 1905. 

Today she can be seen on show at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt. During the filming of her new Channel 5 show “The Nile, Egypt’s Great River,” historian Bettany Hughes got a rare glimpse inside her coffin. 

Ms Hughes told viewers last month: “I’ve been tipped off that this afternoon something rather extraordinary is happening. 

“I’ve got an appointment wth one of the world’s leading Egyptologists at the Egyptian Museum. 

“This afternoon, one of these coffins is going to be opened for a very rare glimpse of the mummy inside. 

“Today their subject is 3,400 years old, she is called Thuya and she is no less than the great grandmother of Tutankhamun. 

“They need to check on Thuya’s body, so the glass cabinet is being opened, the coffin lid removed, and for the first time in years, we’ll be able to see her mummified.” 

Ms Hughes was joined by leading Egyptologist Salima Ikram, who took the lid off the sarcophagus. 

She added: “Thuya was discovered two decades before her great-grandson. 

“This is closer than anyone normally gets to Thuya and it’s time to see how the lady herself is faring. 

“Oh my god, look at her, she’s magnificent. 

“She’s so tiny and so perfect – look at her hair, she’s just got this beautiful thick head of curly strawberry blonde [hair]. 

“By Thuya’s time mummification had been practised for at least 1,200 years, the sophisticated process of preparing the body would have taken two months to prepare.” 

Ms Ikram then revealed why Thuya’s mummy is so precious to archaeologists trying to understand more about this period of ancient Egypt. 

She detailed: “Look at her, she has double pierced earrings and she does have that Tutankhamun overbite. 

“She’s even more beautiful than in her pictures. 

“This is a totally well-preserved recognisable face – completely – you can see her eyebrows and cheekbones. 

“The ears are so well preserved and it’s not broken and the wrapping on her individual toes is so perfect. 

“Every care has been taken with her and from the smell, you can also tell it was good quality resins.” 

It comes after it was revealed how Egypt’s Great Pyramid was a completely different colour 4,500 years ago. 

Recent discoveries detailed how Tura limestone was taken from nearby quarries in Wadi al-Jarf and shaped into perfect blocks by chipping away at the stone.  

These white, shiny and highly precious stones were then added as the final layer to a pyramid featuring some six million tonnes of rock underneath.  

They were highly polished, meaning they would reflect the Sun’s rays and become a prominent feature from miles away.  

However, in the 14th century, many of these stone were cut loose and used to build mosques around Egypt, under the orders of ruler an-Nasir Hasan.  



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