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Yuya and Tuyu

Amarna Period

Yuya and Tuyu


The Treasures of
Yuya and Tuyu
View the funerary
equipment of Queen
Tiye's mother and
father and read
accounts of the
tomb's discovery
written by Theodore
Davis and Arthur

XVIII'th Dynasty Gallery III
Learn more about the 18'th Dynasty.

Yuya (c. 1386-1349 B.C. Dated to reign of Amenhotep III.)
18'th Dynasty
Provenance: KV 46
Discovery Date: February 5, 1905 by James Quibell/Theodore Davis
Current Location: Cairo Museum

Click here for biographical data

Details: The mummy of Yuya was found along with that of his wife, Tuyu,
in their tomb in the Valley of the Kings. (For more data about the contents of
KV 46, click on The Treasures of Yuya and Tuyu on the navigation bar at
left.) Theirs was one of the few non-royal burials in the Valley, and indicates
the high esteem in which Yuya and Tuyu were held by Amenhotep III, their
When found, Yuya was still in his coffins, but the lids had been removed
and the mummy had been rifled by thieves in search of valuables. In spite of
this, Yuya's mummy was not substantially damaged, and a few objects
remained on the body or in the torn bandages. Quibell and Davis both
mention a gold plate, which had been used to cover the embalming incision.
Davis goes on to describe "numerous valuable religious symbols, several
scarabs, and various objects of interest and beauty," including "a necklace of
large beads made of gold and of lapis lazuli, strung on a strong thread" which
were found on the mummy. Quibell further notes that Yuya had gold finger
stalls covering his fingers, and X-rays taken by Harris show finger-rings still
in place on Yuya's hands. The Cairo Museum also has an amulet
(CG51167) and some beads (CG51184, perhaps the ones referred to by
Davis above) deriving from Yuya's mummy.
G. E. Smith describes the mummy of Yuya as one of the finest examples
of the embalming practices of the 18'th Dynasty. The mummy is that of an
old man, and Maspero stated that Yuya was probably in his sixties when he
died. His thick, wavy hair is a yellowish color, and was probably bleached by
the embalming materials rather than being naturally blonde. Smith says the
hair was white when Yuya died. His body cavity was packed with balls of
linen soaked in resins, and his perineum is thickly coated with resinous
material to such an extent that his genitals are completely covered. Yuya's
arms were crossed over his chest, with the fingers of the hands extended.
His eye sockets were packed with linen and the eyelids had been pulled
Yuya's mummy, like that of his wife, was equipped with an openwork
cartonnage "cage," coated with a thin layer of plaster, inscribed, and covered
with gold foil (see photo above.) This device was designed to fit over the
shroud of the mummy, probably as a means of holding it in place. Whether
Yuya's mummy was found actually enclosed in this "cage" is uncertain.
Maspero's "Notice," written for Theodore M. Davis's The Tomb of Iouiya
and Touiyou, describes these "mummy straps" as being in place on both
mummies when found. But Joseph Lindon Smith's diagram of the tomb and
its contents shows that one of the "cages" was found lying on top of a pile of
vessels at the end of the burial chamber. (See KV 46 Diagram, item "Q"
highlighted in red.) The diagram does not indicate to which of the two
mummies it belonged. Lindon Smith stated years later that his KV 46
diagram had been drawn "from notes of the way it [the tomb] had looked
when first seen by me," and may not be completely trustworthy. However,
this diagram does raise the possibility that one of the "cages" was not in place
enclosing one of the mummies. If this was actually the case, the "cage" may
have been removed by thieves, or perhaps had never originally been placed
on the mummy. (Source Bibliography: DRN, 150, fig. 57, 161, no. 109
and 111; EM, 97; IT, xxi, xxix; TTAA, 39, 68; XRA, 169f.; XRP,

Other Burial Data:
Original Burial: In KV 46. Based on differences in embalming techniques
used on the two mummies, Maspero believed that Yuya predeceased his
wife. Reeves adds that stylistic comparisons of the funerary equipment
employed in the two burials (especially the canopics) supports the conclusion
that Yuya and Tuyu died at different times. As noted above, Maspero's
theory that Yuya died first is still accepted.

Post Interment Activity: Both Quibell and Maspero believed that KV 46
had only been robbed once. Reeves, however, discerns evidence of three
separate intrusions of thieves into KV 46. The first probably occurred soon
after the burial of Tuyu, who died later than her husband. Reeves deduces
the early date of the first intrusion from the absence of perfumes, scented
oils, and unguents, all of which would decompose quickly and would,
therefore, only be stolen if they were relatively fresh. KV 46 was situated
between a tomb dating to the time of Ramesses III (KV 3) and the tomb of
Ramesses XI (KV 4) and was probably entered at the times when these
tombs were being quarried. Reeves notes that seal impressions of Ramesses
III were found in the tomb. Although these had been discounted as intrusive
deposits by Elizabeth Thomas, Reeves points out that Quibell considered
them important enough to include in his catalogue of objects found in KV 46.
If they are associated with the burial, Reeves interprets them as indicating a
restoration of KV 46 at the time of Ramesses III, necessitated by a robbery
which probably occurred during the construction of KV 3. Reeves feels that
a final robbery occurred during the construction of KV 4, and that this was
also followed by a hasty restoration, evidenced by the facts that (i.) Tuyu's
mummy had been covered with a sheet; (ii.) some boxes had been carelessly
refilled; and (iii.) a stone blocking had been put up at the entrance to the
burial chamber. (Source Bibliography: CVK, 177; DRN, 149-151;
EEFAR, 1904-1905, 27; GCM [1908] 496.)

Photo Credit: NG (May, 1923.)

Source Abbreviation Key

Tuyu (c. 1386-1349 B.C. Dated to reign of Amenhotep III)
18'th Dynasty
Provenance: KV 46
Discovery Date: February 5, 1905 by James Quibell/Theodore Davis
Current Location: Cairo Museum
Biographical data: Mother of Queen Tiye.

Details: Like that of her husband, the mummy of
Tuyu was found in an excellent state of
preservation. G. E. Smith notes a number of
unusual features about this mummy. Tuyu's
embalming wound was almost vertical, and had
been sewn up with string, which Smith describes
as "a quite exceptional feature for this time" (i.e.
the late 18'th Dynasty.) The packing material
inserted under Tuyu's eyelids had been painted in
an attempt to provide artificial eyes in another
unusual anticipation of embalming practices of
future dynasties. (See the mummies of Ramesses III and Ramesses IV [in
XX'th Dynasty Gallery], and the mummy of Nodjmet [in XXI'st Dynasty
Gallery] for other examples of artificial eyes.) Still other peculiar features of
Tuyu's mummy are the position of her arms (which are fully extended with
the palms on the thighs, in a reversion to earlier embalming practices) and the
gold covered sandals made of mud which were found on her feet. Smith
notes that Tuyu was quite old when she died, and that she had been almost
A cartonnage "cage," similar to the one prepared for Yuya, was
associated with the mummy of Tuyu. However, as noted in Yuya's entry
above, documented evidence from this burial is contradictory concerning
whether both the "cages" were in place on the mummies when found.
(Source Bibliography: EM, 97-98.)

Other Burial Data:
Original Burial: In KV 46. Evidence indicates that she and her husband
died at different times. Maspero theorizes that Tuyu died after her husband.
Post Interment Activity: The same as with Yuya above, but some
interesting observations can perhaps be ventured about Tuyu's burial. Lindon
Smith's diagram of the burial chamber of KV 46 clearly shows that Tuyu's
mummy had been found in only one of her coffins, the innermost of a set of
two. This, in turn, was found in the large wooden sarcophagus of Tuyu
(which Smith refers to incorrectly as the outermost coffin.) Her outer coffin's
trough lay atop the pile of pottery vessels at the end of the room, and its lid
lay across the chamber, behind some bedsteads, with the pitch-covered
sarcophagus lid on top of it. (see KV 46 diagram, outer coffins highlighted in
red.) This position necessitates that the coffin lid was placed there prior to
the removal of Tuyu's sarcophagus lid. This, in turn, logically implies that the
outermost coffin could not have been in the sarcophagus at the time when
the sarcophagus lid was removed by the tomb robbers.
There are several ways of explaining this. Assuming that Tuyu had been
buried in both coffins, and that these were both placed in her wooden
sarcophagus, perhaps the first group of robbers had removed the coffins
from the sarcophagus, opened them, removed Tuyu's mummy from the inner
coffin and rifled it. When the burial was restored, Tuyu's mummy was
replaced in her innermost coffin and returned to the sarcophagus, and the
outer coffin was left laying at the positions indicated on Smith's diagram. A
second wave of robbers then entered the tomb, opened Tuyu's sarcophagus,
and threw its lid on top of the lid of Tuyu's outer coffin which lay across the
There are several problems with this account. First, why would thieves go
to the strenuous effort of removing two nested coffins from a sarcophagus
when they could easily have removed only the lids in order to reach the
mummy? If the coffins were removed, why would the thieves have
separated them when, again, only the lids would need to be removed to get to
the mummy inside? And why would the necropolis officials who "restored"
the burial replace Tuyu's mummy only in her inner coffin when the outer
coffin was so close to hand?
All these questions might be avoided by measuring Tuyu's inner and outer
coffins. A photo showing the two coffins side by side seems to indicate that
the inner coffin is slightly taller than the outer one. It may be the case that
the outer coffin was never used for the original burial of Tuyu. As in the case
of Mahirpra's burial, it may have been discovered at the tomb on the day of
the funeral that Tuyu's inner coffin was too big to fit into the outer one
waiting in place in the sarcophagus. The outer coffin was removed; Tuyu, in
her inner coffin, was lowered into the sarcophagus. The sarcophagus lid was
put in place, and the unused outer coffin was laid beside the sarcophagus.
When thieves broke into the tomb, they would go first for Tuyu's unused
outer coffin, and upon finding it empty, would have tossed it's lid and trough
aside, and started to work on the sarcophagus lid. This was removed and
thrown on top of the lid of Tuyu's outer coffin, where it was found by Quibell,
Davis, and Maspero.
(Source: DRN, 150, fig. 57.)

Photo Credit: IT (1907.)

Source Abbreviation Key

Amenhotep III (c. 1386-1349 B.C.)
18'th Dynasty
Provenance: KV35
Discovery Date: March 9, 1898, by Victor Loret
Current Location: Cairo Museum JE34560; CG61074

Click here for biographical data

Details: The mummy of Nebmaatre-Amenhotep was
unwrapped by G. E. Smith and the delightfully named Dr.
Pain on September 23, 1905. It had been badly damaged
in antiquity. Its head had been broken off, the back had
been broken, and the entire front wall of the body was
missing. Nebmaatre-Amenhotep's right leg had been
detached from his body, and his thigh was detached from
the leg. His left foot was also damaged. The 21'st
Dynasty restorers had been somewhat careless when
gathering parts for rewrapping, for included in
Nebmaatre-Amenhotep's bandaging were found the bones
of two different birds which Smith theorizes had originally
been placed in the king's tomb as part of the funerary food
offerings. He and Dr. Pain also discovered a big-toe bone,
an ulna, and a radius, all from the body of another person.
The embalmers had packed the skin of the deceased
king with a resinous material, and Smith's description of
this as being "analogous" to embalming techniques used in
the 21'st Dynasty led Douglas Derry to question the identification of the
mummy as being that of Amenhotep III. Edward Wente, however, points out
that the resinous material used here for packing was quite unlike the
materials employed by 21'st Dynasty embalmers. Long before the
controversy regarding the identity of this mummy had arisen, Smith himself
had noted (in the same report in RM that caused Derry's uncertainties) that
the method of packing used in Nebmaatre-Amenhotep's mummy is altogether
unique, and takes special care to distinguish it from 21'st Dynasty practices
which, he goes on to explain, utilized linen, mud, sand, sawdust, or mixtures of
fat and soda for packing materials, but not resins. Therefore, there is nothing
about this mummy that would point to the 21'st Dynasty as the time of its
original embalming.
Smith expresses the interesting theory that the novel style of embalming
used on the mummy of Amenhotep III (whose identity he doubts not in the
least) was part of the general cultural revolution sweeping Egypt toward the
end of the 18'th Dynasty and which culminated during the reign of
Amenhotep IV-Akhenaten. That resin-packing was not employed during the
19'th and 20'th Dynasties is explainable in terms of the anti-Amarna reaction
that set in after Akhenaten's death.
There were numerous inscriptions on the shroud and wrappings of the
mummy. A Type "A" docket on the shroud and its retaining bands clearly
identifies the mummy as Amenhotep III (See Linen Docket translation
below.) A sheet found several layers beneath the shroud had very indistinct
red lines and black hieroglyphs inscribed upon it, which may have been a
spell (or spells) from The Book of the Dead. Smith also notes that a
bandage wrapped in a spiral around the neck and head of the mummy was
inscribed with hieratic characters in black ink. Reeves reports that this
inscription has never been published, and so no comment about it can be
Smith also states that several inscriptions, in addition to the single Type
"A" Coffin Docket noted by Reeves (see Coffin Docket translation below)
appeared on the coffin lid which "record inspections of the mummy in the
reigns of the priest-kings." However, only two inscription are discernable in
the photo of the coffin lid which appears in Smith's Royal Mummies (see
plate XXXI below.) Reeves notes that the lid of the coffin had originally
belonged in the funerary ensemble of Seti II and that its original decorations
had been painted over in yellow. Although clearly inscribed for Seti II in a
vertical line of hieroglyphs down the center, a hastily inscribed cartouche
with the name "Nebmaatre" appears to the left of the central inscription,
written horizontally. To compound the confusion of burial equipment, the
coffin box containing Amenhotep III had originally belonged to Ramesses III
(whose mummy had ended up in the coffin of Ahmose-Nofretiri in DB 320.)
An inscription in hieroglyphs with the names of Ramesses III can be clearly
seen on the inner-bottom of the coffin box, behind and above the head of
Amenhotep III, in plate XXXII of Smith's work. (See plate XXXII below.)
Reeves notes that the coffin lid had been docketed in the same manner and
style as the coffins of Ramesses IV and Siptah, indicating that the docketing
had been done by the same person on the same occasion.
For Smith's highly detailed report concerning this unusual mummy, click on
the highlighted links in the Source Bibliography below to access the
University of Chicago's Electronic Open Stacks copy of Smith's The Royal
Mummies (Cairo, 1912) Call #: DT57.C2 vol59. (Source Bibliography:
BIE, [3 ser.] 9 [1898], 111 [2]; CCR, 217f., 218 n. 61; DRN, 196-197,
204, 210, 215, 226-227, 232, 235, 245; EM, 94-95; EMs, 39; JNES 31
[1972] 139; MiAE, 40, 84, 88, 98, 101, 127, 170, 212, 214, 258, 260,
289, 315, 316, 318, 324, ills. 191, 363, 364, pl. XVII, XIX; MMM, 39,
54, 87, 88, 90, 135; RM, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51; XRA, 1F11-1G9;
XRP, 112, 140, 145.)

Other Burial Data:
Original Burial: In WV 22
Restorations: A restoration, which Reeves states was "most probably" an
example of whm krs, was recorded on the shroud of Amenhotep III, and
probably occurred in Year 12 or 13 of Smendes 4? prt 6? (the exact dates
are uncertain.) (See Linen Docket translation below.)
Reburials: In KV 35, side chamber Jb (see diagram.) (Source: DRN, 245.)

Coffin Docket: "Nebmaatre-Amenophis" (Source Bibliography: BIE, [3
ser.] 9 [1898], 111, [2]; CCR, 218, pl. 61 [transcr., ph.]; DRN, 232;
RM, pl. XXXI.)

Linen Docket: Year 12/13 4? prt 6? of Smendes/Pinudjem I: "Yr 12/13 4?
prt 6? On this day renewing the burial (?) (whm krs?) of king (nsw)
Nebmaatre l.p.h. by the high priest of Amon-Re king of the gods Pinudjem
son of the high priest of Amon-Re king of the gods
Piankh...(by?)...Wennufer (?)" (Source Bibliography: BIE, [3 ser.] 9
[1898], 109; DRN, 235 [cf. 226 for slightly different interpretation];
GPI, doc. 9; RM, pl. XXXII, C, CI, CII, CIII [see links to plates below];
RNT, 250 [13a]; TIP, 418 [22].)

Photo Credit: RM, (Cairo, 1912,) pl. XXXII.
For high resolution photos of Amenhotep III see the University of Chicago's
Electronic Open Stacks copy of Smith's The Royal Mummies (Cairo, 1912,)
Call #: DT57.C2 vol59, plates XXXI (which shows one of the Coffin
Dockets), XXXII (which shows one of the Linen Dockets), XXXIII, XXXIV,
XXXV. For larger photos of the Linen Docket, see plates C, CI, CII, and

Source Abbreviation Key

Tiye? (c. 1386?-13349? B.C. Dated to reign of Amenhotep III.)
18'th Dynasty
Provenance: KV35
Discovery Date: March 9, 1898, by Victor Loret

Click here for biographical data

Details: Discovered in side-chamber Jc of KV
35 (see photo from TVK, 162--mummy on far
left) this unwrapped, unidentified mummy was
named the "Elder Woman" in lieu of more positive
identification. It had been extensively damaged by
thieves: the whole front of the abdomen and part
of the thorax were broken away. G. E. Smith
describes the mummy as that of a middle aged
woman. The right arm of the mummy is extended vertically at the side with
the palm of the right hand placed upon the right thigh. The left arm is crossed
over the chest, and the left hand is tightly clenched, as though it had originally
been holding something. Smith records that two ulcers were found on the
mummy's left heel. He also noted that the mummy's teeth were worn, but
otherwise in good condition.
Those who had reburied the mummy in KV 35 had made no attempt to
rewrap it or place it in a coffin, and none of the (mostly broken) grave goods
found in KV 35 seem to be associated with this mummy.
In the early 1970's, Edward F. Wente suggested that the "Elder Woman"
might be Hatshepsut or Queen Tiye. In 1975, James Harris x-rayed the
mummy and measured its skull. These measurements indicated a very close
similarity between the skulls of the "Elder Woman" and that of Tuyu, the
mother of Queen Tiye. Subsequent analysis of hair from the "Elder Woman,"
performed with an electron probe, revealed it to be identical to the hair of
Queen Tiye found in a miniature coffin in the tomb of Tutankhamen. On this
evidence, the "Elder Woman" has been identified as Queen Tiye, although the
validity of the hair analysis has been questioned, most notably by Dr. Renate
Germer. In an End Paper written for KMT (Fall, 1993,) Dr. Susan E. James
pointed out that blood group testing indicated that the "Elder Woman" could
not have been the daughter of Yuya and Tuyu. Additionally, Dr. James
argued that it was "too speculative" to conclude that the hair found in KV 62
was Tiye's just because the miniature coffin which contained it bore Tiye's
cartouche. (It must be noted that this line of reasoning, if consistently applied,
would render most mummy identifications "too speculative," since most of
them are also based on coffin inscriptions.) Dr. James proposes that the KV
62 hair sample came from Ankhesenamen and that the "Elder Woman" from
KV 35 is consequently Tutankhamen's queen. In a letter published in KMT
(Spring, 1994,) W. Good of the University of Sydney responds to Dr. James
by saying that she does not adequately consider the context in which the KV
62 lock of hair was found. Good notes that the elaborate care taken to
preserve both the lock of hair and the coffin in which it was placed clearly
show that it was more than a mere "keepsake" and that it obviously bore the
same ritual significance as the burial of a person. This, he feels, lends support
to accepting the cartouche identification found on the miniature coffin as
accurate. Herbert Winlock once wrote that ancient inscriptions should be
accepted as accurate unless there is very good reason to doubt them, and
there seems no valid reason for questioning the accuracy of the tiny coffin's
cartouche. Majority opinion favors the conclusion that the lock of hair is
Tiye's, and that the KV 35 "Elder Woman" is indeed Tiye herself. (Source
Bibliography: BIE, [3 ser.] 9 [1898], 103; DRN, 197, 205, 211, 246;
KMT, [Fall, 1993,] 86-87, [Spring, 1994,] 5-6; MiAE, 122, 123, 324,
ill. 127; RM, 38, 39, pl. XCVII; SAK 11, 85ff.; Sci 200 [1978] 1149ff;
XRA, 4C5-4D1; XRP, 135f .)

Other Burial Data:
Original Burial: W. C. Hayes placed the original burial of Queen Tiye in
one of the side chambers of WV 22, the tomb of her husband, Amenhotep
III. Reeves disagrees, and argues that Tiye was probably originally buried at
Reburials: Reeves argues that Tiye was reburied in KV 55 following
Tutankhamen's abandonment of the Amarna capitol. She was then removed
from KV 55 sometime during the reign of Ramesses IX, and transported to
another tomb which Reeves cannot identify from current data. He is also
unable to date the exact time at which Tiye was moved into side chamber Jc
of KV 35. (Source Bibliography: DRN, 197, 246, 233 n. 143, 246 n.

Photo Credit: RM (Cairo, 1912,) pl. XCVII.
For high resolution photo of Tiye (?) see the University of Chicago's
Electronic Open Stacks copy of Smith's The Royal Mummies (Cairo, 1912,)
Call #: DT57.C2 vol59, plate XCVII.

Source Abbreviation Key

Amarna Period: Parts 1 2 3
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