Presented by 
Wm. Max Miller, 
M. A.

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View mummies in the
following Galleries:


Gallery I


Gallery I

Gallery II
Including the mummy identified as Queen Hatshepsut.

Gallery III
Including the mummy identified as Queen Tiye.

 Gallery IV
Featuring the controversial KV 55 mummy. Now with a revised reconstruction of ancient events in this perplexing tomb.

Gallery V
Featuring the mummies of Tutankhamen and his children. Still in preparation.


Gallery I 
Now including the
mummy identified as
Ramesses I.


Gallery I


Gallery I

Gallery II

21'st Dynasty Coffins from DB320
  Examine the coffins
of 21'st Dynasty Theban Rulers.

  Unidentified  Mummies

Gallery I
Including the mummy identified as Tutankhamen's mother.

About the Dockets

Inhapi's Tomb

Using this website for research papers


Links to Egyptology websites

Biographical Data about William Max Miller

Special Exhibits

The Treasures of Yuya and Tuyu
  View the funerary equipment of Queen Tiye's parents.

 Tomb Raiders of KV 46
How thorough were the robbers who plundered the tomb of Yuya and Tuyu? How many times was the tomb robbed, and what were the thieves after? This study of post interment activity in KV 46 provides some answers.

Special KV 55 Section

Follow the trail of the missing treasures from mysterious KV 55.

KV 55's Lost Objects: Where Are They Today?

The KV 55 Coffin Basin and Gold Foil Sheets

KV 55 Gold Foil at the Metropolitan

Mystery of the Missing Mummy Bands

KV 35 Revisited
See rare photographic plates of a great discovery from Daressy's Fouilles de la Vallee des Rois.

Unknown Man E  
Was he really
buried alive?

The Tomb of Maihirpre
Learn about Victor Loret's important discovery of this nearly intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Special Section:
Tomb Robbers!
Who were the real tomb raiders? What beliefs motivated their actions? A new perspective on the ancient practice of tomb robbing.

Special Section:
Spend a Night
with the Royal Mummies

Read Pierre Loti's eerie account of his nocturnal visit to the Egyptian Museum's Hall of Mummies.

Special Section:
An Audience With Amenophis II
Journey once more with Pierre Loti as he explores the shadowy  chambers of KV 35 in the early 1900's.

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Most of the images on this website have been scanned from books, all of which are given explicit credit and, wherever possible, a link to a dealer where they may be purchased. Some images derive from other websites. These websites are also acknowledged in writing and by being given a link, either to the page or file where the images appear, or to the main page of the source website. Images forwarded to me by individuals who do not supply the original image source are credited to the sender. All written material deriving from other sources is explicitly credited to its author. 
Feel free to use  material from the Theban Royal Mummy Project website. No prior written permission is required. Just please follow the same guidelines which I employ when using the works of other researchers, and give the Theban Royal Mummy Project  proper credit on your own papers, articles, or web pages. 

--Thank You

This website is constantly developing and contributions of data from other researchers are welcomed.
Contact The Theban Royal Mummy Project at:

Background Image:  Wall scene from the tomb of Ramesses II (KV 7.) From Karl Richard Lepsius, Denkmäler (Berlin: 1849-1859.)




The Coffins and Canopic Set of Nestanebtishru

    The well preserved mummy of Nestanebtishru was found in her original double coffin set and appeared to be undisturbed by thieves. This latter fact persuaded Reeves to conclude that DB 320 had been the original burial place of Nestanebtishru. However, in spite of the fact that tomb robbers had not plundered them, the coffins had been damaged in an unusual fashion. The outer coffin is liberally splattered with a tarry black material that obscures most of its inscriptions and decorations. The inner coffin and coffin board, to a lesser degree, also sustained similar damage.
    Some writers explain this mysterious tar-like substance by saying that the coffins had intentionally been coated with bitumen. But black bituminized coffins had not been in style since the 18'th dynasty and it is hard to understand why such an anachronistic form of treating a coffin would be reverted to by those responsible for interring the daughter of a 21'st dynasty Priest-King. Also, the black material is not carefully or uniformly distributed on the surfaces of the coffins as it certainly would have been had it been intended as a decorative element. Perhaps, prior to her death, Nestanebtishru had planned on donating her coffins for use by another person, and they had been in an early stage of preparation when she herself had died. The tarry material--if it indeed is bitumen--could have been placed there to serve as a kind of base for a fresh coating of gesso upon which new inscriptions and symbolic motifs would have been painted for a different owner. Nestanebtishru's unexpected demise would have halted such preparations for donating the coffins since she herself suddenly needed them. However, it is difficult to understand why no attempt would have been made at this point to "tidy things up" by redecorating the coffins in an aesthetically pleasing manner for their original owner. It is also especially difficult to interpret the appearance of the tarry substance on gilded areas of the coffin. Photographs of the outer coffin lid clearly show the unidentified black material on portions of the gilded face mask, neck, earrings, and hands, all costly decorative elements that would surely not be covered over as part of modifying the coffin for use by another individual.
   Edward Loring considers the possibility that the black material had been applied to the coffins and coffin board in an attempt to consolidate and preserve their decorations after they sustained water damage. Since no signs of water leakage had been detected in DB320, Loring (contra Reeves) believes that Nestanebtishru had originally been buried elsewhere and states that other items of her burial equipment had also been damaged in ways that could not have occurred in DB320. The foot end of the coffin shown in the C.E.S.R.A.S. photo below left (which provides a full view of the outer lid) appears unusually faded and washed out, and looks as though it could have been exposed to water. If Nestanebtishru had initially been interred in her own tomb, perhaps water had entered through a crack in the ceiling like the one that had developed in KV55 and this (rather than the plundering of her original burial) had necessitated her relocation to DB320.
    Another possible explanation is that the black material covering the coffins is a discolored and hardened residue from the funerary oils that had been poured over the coffins at the time of Nestanebtishru's funeral. Howard Carter encountered a similar hardened layer of funerary oils inside the coffins of Tutankhamen and had a difficult time contending with it in his attempts to remove the boy king's mummy. It is conceivable that oils were poured in great quantity over the coffins of Nestanebtishru and then dried, hardened, and discolored over the passage of many centuries. This might also account for the oddly charred appearance of Nestanebtishru's coffins, which certainly look as though they had been exposed to great heat. It is well known that organic materials can spontaneously combust when saturated with linseed oil, a substance which the ancient Egyptians employed. Even in the poorly oxygenated atmosphere of a sealed tomb, enough oxygen could remain to permit a slow oxidation capable of producing effects resembling charring. But this still leaves a mystery, for none of the other 21'st dynasty coffins in DB320 were similarly damaged. If the practice of pouring funerary oils over coffins was common and the oils used for this purpose regularly decomposed into the kind of black tarry substance that disfigured Nestanebtishru’s coffins, then why do other coffins not appear blackened and defaced like hers? Obviously, something highly unusual happened to Nestanebtishru’s funerary equipment.
   There are other peculiar features to the damage on the outer coffin that appear to be discernible in the photographs, although the actual coffin would require careful examination in order to confirm and clarify the exact nature of this damage. For example, some of the coffin’s painted decorations appear to overlay blackened areas in a few of the colored photographs taken by C.E.S.R.A.S. (See the link to the C.E.S.R.A.S. Nestanebtishru photostream given below.) This sort of damage would rule against the notion that the blackened material on the coffin had been applied to or poured over the decorations and suggests that it may originally have been a kind of primer or base layer under the decorative elements designed to help them adhere to the surface more securely.
   The gilded face mask also seems to be distorted in an unusual manner. In addition to having patches of black material, the eyes of the mask appear to be slightly sunken into the sockets and are out of alignment in a cross-eyed position. The upper left side of the face sags downward to the right, and the nose looks bent, seems to be extremely pinched at the bridge, and is oddly bulbous in shape. Although the appearance of the face mask has undoubtedly been adversely effected by the presence of black patches, it seems to have sustained some other type of damage in addition to that caused by the black, tarry material. The kind of distortion it displays is suggestive of softening and partial melting. If not for the presence of smaller areas of blackening on the inner coffin and coffin board, it would be tempting to suggest that the outer coffin had been engulfed in flames that warped and twisted the gilding of the face mask before being extinguished. However, the interpretation given here of the damage apparent on Nestanebtishru's outer coffin is based solely on photographic evidence. The coffin itself would have to be closely examined in order to ascertain the actual cause or causes of the unusual damage it exhibits. (Source Bibliography: CCR, #61033; DRN, 239.; TRC, 73.) Source Abbreviation Key

CESRAS photos of the outer coffin of Nestanebtishru.

Black and white photo of Nestanebtishru's inner
coffin lid from Georges Daressy's Cercueils des
cachettes royales
(Cairo, 1909.) Click to enlarge.

CESRAS photo of the outer coffin containing inner coffin.


CESRAS close up photo of the portrait mask on the inner coffin.


CESRAS photos of two of the canopics of Nestanebtishru, showing
Duamutef (left) and Hapi (right.)

CESRAS photos of two of the canopics of Nestanebtishru, showing
Imset (left) and Qebsenuef (right.)

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 and 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 featured on this page. The above images of the coffins of Nestanebtishru provide a valuable photographic record of these fascinating objects, currently on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. More close up images of these coffin's decorations and inscriptions may be seen by going to the CESRAS Nestanebtishru photostream

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