What do we know today about DNA tests of Tutankhamun ?

by Gigal

This post is also available in: French



It seemed important to me to explain Tutankhamun’s genetics based on the latest official statements: 

What exactly do we know today officially about DNA tests of Tutankhamun thanks to the found mummies :


Amenhotep III

 First : We did not know who the father of Tutankhamun  was. Was it Akhenaton ? Or was it Amenhotep III? Because there is an inscription that says that Tutankhamun was raised in Amarna and that his father was Akhenaton. But at the same time, there is another inscription that says that when he went to Thebes he called Amenhotep III his “father”.



Then who was Tutankhamun’s mother?

Some people have thought that his mother must have been Kiya, a foreign queen whom Akhenaton married. Others believe that his mother could have been queen Tiye, Amenhotep III’s wife, or even Nefertiti, Akhenaton’s queen. To add to all those questions, the mummy of queen Tiya has never been found.

The “help” of the mummies : 

First, they looked at the surviving mummies that belonged to the family of Tutankhamun . There were those of Yuya and Tuya, the father and mother of queen Tiye and Amenhotep III’s in-laws who had been buried in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. And then there was also the mummy of Amenhotep III and the mummy of Tutankhamun.


Yuya and Tuya


Gigal with Yuya in Cairo Museum 





Then began the search for mummies that Egyptians  thought might belong to the same family as Tutankhamun.



There was a mummy found in tomb KV55 in the Valley of the Kings that some scholars thought could belong to Akhenaton and others thought belonged to Semenkhkare. They did DNA tests to find out if this mummy was really that of Akhenaton, the son of Amenhotep III. They found that the mummy was indeed that of Amenhotep III’s son and Tutankhamon’s father, meaning that the KV55 mummy was that of Akhenaton.


Gigal in front of Tutankhamun chest where was his sarcophagi Photo©AntoineGigal

The next step was to look at two mummies found in tomb KV36 known as the “Elder Lady” and the “Younger Lady”. They found that the “Elder Lady” was in fact the mummy of queen Tiye, discovered by comparing her DNA with that of Yuya and Tuya. And whom we knew were Tiye’s parents. Then they also compared her DNA with a lock of hair that the British archaeologist Howard Carter had found in a small coffin with the name of Tiye written on it.  This inside Tutankhamun’s tomb. The DNA of the lock of hair and that of the “Elder Lady” were identical. The mummy of the “Elder Lady” was thus confirmed to be that of queen Tiye, the wife of Amenhotep III and mother of Akhenaton.

The “Young Lady” is finally the mother of Tutankhamun

The final mummy was of the “Younger Lady.” When they compared her DNA with that of the mummy of Tutankhamon we found that she was the mother of Tutankhamon. Then when they compared her DNA with that of the mummies of queen Tiye and Amenhotep III, they found that she was their daughter. This meant that the “Younger Lady” was in fact the mother of Tutankhamun and the daughter of Amenhotep III and queen Tiye, making her the sister-wife of Akhenaton. It was quite a find.

That’s all for the moment for the official reports, for the official reports … I will not fail to inform you of the continuation hoping to know even more. For we do not yet know which daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye who had 7 children, is the mother of Tutankhamun in the end. What we know today with certainty is that neither Nefertiti nor Kiya were the mother of Tutankhamun.

©Texts,Photos ©®AntoineGigal-2019  All rights reserved. 

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This post is also available in: French

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