The mummy of Amenhotep II
in his sarcophagus in KV 35
his discovery, Amenhotep II did not rest easy. He was first packed up in a
shipping crate by Victor Loret and transported, along with the other mummies
found in his tomb, down the Nile to Cairo. But when the Egyptian government
objected to this, Amenhotep and the other mummies were sent back up the Nile to
the Valley of the Kings, and returned to KV35, where they were left in their
packing cases for the next two years. In 1900, Howard Carter (who was then Chief
Inspector of Antiquities for Upper Egypt) removed some of these mummies,
including that of Amenhotep II, from their crates and returned them to their
original locations in the tomb. (The other royal mummies found in KV 35 were
shipped back to Cairo at this time.)
Back in his sarcophagus, Amenhotep II was illuminated by an electric light installed by Carter, and he soon became a major tourist attraction. But on the night of November 24, 1901, the night-guards in the Valley of the Kings "were suddenly surprised by thirteen armed men with covered faces and...were threatened to be shot if they moved or attempted to make an alarm." (Howard Carter, in Annales du Service des Antiquities de l'Egypte 3 [1902.] Quoted in Howard Carter Before Tutankhamen by Nicholas Reeves and John H. Taylor [Abrams, 1993,] 61.) At this point, six of the armed men kept watch over the necropolis guards, while the other seven proceeded to pillage KV 35.
This was the account given to Carter by the guards, but, since Carter found the footprints of only one man in the pillaged tomb, and not of seven different men, the guard's story seems unlikely. In all probability, the November 24'th robbery of KV 35 was partly an "inside job," with the guards aiding and abetting friends from Qurna who did most of the dirty work. Carter found that Amenhotep's mummy had been removed from its sarcophagus and that the bandages had been cut open in a search for valuables. He eventually repaired the mummy and returned it to the sarcophagus.
Although Carter was certain he knew the identity of at least one of the thieves, the case against this man (one Mohamed Abd el-Rassul) was dropped due to insufficient evidence. The Egyptian government now felt that a museum would, after all, be a safer place for the mummy of Amenhotep II, and so the old king was sent once more to the Cairo Museum, where he still resides today. His sarcophagus stayed in KV 35. (Photo credit: BM, Department of Egyptian Antiquities)