Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

Akhenaten plaster bust on the left and Smenkhkare plaster bust on the right of the funerary mask of Tutankhamun. Berlin’s Neues Museum. Behind is the sunrise near Amarna, Egypt. (Image: Courtesy Jonathon Perrin)

The Tut Is Not My Son!

It could be quite the talk show: Who is King Tut’s real father? The host would be handed an envelope with the paternity test results. The audience hushes, clutching their seats, biting their nails. Who could be the dad? Was it rebel bad boy Akhenaten? Or his younger brother, the shadowy Smenkhkare? Or was it the elderly Amenhotep III, their father?

Reconstructed family tree of Tutankhmaun, based on the conclusions reached by Zahi Hawass et al in 2010 (Image: Courtesy Jonathon Perrin)

At present, there is no definitive answer to this all-important question. The evidence for each candidate includes mummies and their DNA, plus inscriptions on artifacts and tombs. Unfortunately, this evidence is frustratingly incomplete and riddled with lacunae – thereby leaving room for many interpretations. The current author has reconstructed a timeline of this turbulent period in Egypt’s past, showing its multiple co-regencies of different pharaohs, and that Tutankhamun was likely born circa 1345 BC, during the height of the Amarna Age. This is the most likely pharaonic succession based on the available evidence as of 2023. An important feature of this period was the co-regency, with two pharaohs   ruling simultaneously, likely one in Amarna and the other in Thebes. It indicates that any of the three pharaohs could have been Tut’s father.

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