The Coffins of Neskhons

    Both of the coffins and the coffin board shown below had originally been made for a woman named Isiemkheb who has been tentatively identified by Kenneth Kitchen as Isiemkheb-C, the wife of Menkheperre-A. (TIP.) They were appropriated for the use of Neskhons and were found in the DB 320 cache. The mummy of Neskhons was discovered in only one of the two coffins--presumably the inner one, although this is not clear in the data supplied by Reeves. The lid of this inner coffin and the mummy board which accompanied it had both been subjected to pillaging, and had the gilded hands and faces removed. The other coffin from this set--presumably the outer one--had been been appropriated for the reburial of Ramesses IX'th, and was found to contain his mummy.
    Although many of the coffins in the cache tomb had suffered at the hands of tomb robbers, the pattern of the damage sustained by the coffins of Neskhons (in which an intact outer coffin concealed a pillaged inner one) is familiar to scholars of DB 320: the coffin and coffin board of Isiemkheb-D were damaged in an identical fashion. Salima Ikram and Aidan Dodson theorize that Isiemkheb-D's inner coffin and coffin board were probably plundered by members of Pinudjem II'nd's burial party (MiAE, 330.) Based on information supplied by the wall docket found at the bottom of the entrance shaft of DB 320, Reeves argues that Neskhons died before Pinudjem II (DRN, 256). Therefore,  her funerary furniture would have been in the tomb at the time of the plundering of Isiemkheb-D's burial equipment and was probably pillaged by the same thieves, who employed the same methods.
    Reeves also provides an interesting theory to explain how the mummy of Ramesses IX ended up in the  outer coffin of Neskhons. In disagreement with Dewachter, who explained this mystery in terms of a mix-up on the part the people in charge of placing the burials in DB 320, Reeves theorizes that Neskhons may have donated her outer coffin for use in the burial of Ramesses IX, and points out that linen dockets on this king's mummy indicate that the linen employed to rewrap him had been donated by Neskhons. Perhaps her involvement with the reburial of Ramesses IX had gone beyond the provision of fresh wrappings to also include the donation of her outer coffin. However, one piece of evidence that could be used against this argument is the observable fact that no attempt was made to modify this outer coffin for the burial of a male. Unlike the KV 55 coffin, for example, which had been altered from its original feminine design in order to make it appropriate for a man's burial, the outer coffin of Neskhons remains completely female in appearance. Even the simple expedient of adding a royal beard was not attempted, as an examination of the pristine condition of the gilding on the chin of the portrait mask clearly shows. (Source Abbreviation Key)

Black and white photo of Neskhons' outer coffin lid and interior of trough 
from Georges Daressy's Cercueils des cachettes royales (Cairo, 1909.)
Color photo of outer coffin lid from CESRAS. Click black and white
photo to enlarge.


CESRAS close ups of the outer coffin's face.

CESRAS close up of outer coffin decorations.

CESRAS close up of outer coffin decorations.

CESRAS close up of outer coffin decorations.

Black and white photos of (L) Neskhons' inner coffin lid and interior of trough and (R) the face
and reverse of the coffin board from Georges Daressy's Cercueils des cachettes royales (Cairo, 1909.)
Click to enlarge.

CESRAS color photo of the coffin board
of Neskhons.

    The Center for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CESRAS) maintains an extensive collection of online images available for public use on Flickr. The above CESRAS color images of the coffins and coffin board of Neskhons provide a valuable photographic record of these beautiful objects, currently on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Additionally, CESRAS has posted large size scans of many of the photographic plates from George Daressy's historically important 1909 work, Cercueils des cachettes royales which are also featured on this page.

More close up images of this coffin's decorations and inscriptions may be seen by going to the CESRAS Neskhons photostream.

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