I just wanted to post an update on what has emerged as a controversy regarding the identification of Akhenaten’s mummy (or not). The Egyptology News blog has been keeping up with the discussion pretty closely. Yesterday a post appeared in favor of confirmation that the mummy of KV55 is indeed Akhenaten. It’s cranial features certainly would be in concert with that (below).

The identification was put forth as a result of new DNA testing on several mummies published a month ago in the Journal of the American Medical Society (JAMA).

However, the KV64 blog has a pretty technical summary on why the KV55 mummy is “probably not” Akhenaten, and argues that the DNA evidence is on *that* side of the debate. Here are the summary’s conclusions:

Combining the DNA data with known historical facts shows that Akhenaten is probably not the KV55 mummy.

It is tempting to consider the KV55 mummy (Tutankhamun’s father) alternatively as Smenkhare although this can be no more than conjecture on the basis of the available data.

There is a very strong probability of a second line of descent from Yuya and Thuya  to the KV62 foetuses.

This secondary line of descent is consistent with the historical Nefertiti.

There is a strong probability of second line of descent from Amenhotep III to the foetuses not via the KV55 mummy.

This second line of descent is consistent with the historical Akhenaten.

It is possible to construct a family tree along these lines which fully fits the STR analysis published in the JAMA paper and which assumes Nefertiti is a granddaughter of Yuya and Thuya.

It is possible, but not essential, to accommodate the Younger Lady and KV21B mummies in this revised family tree as further daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

Notice that the DNA evidence has received a thorough going-over by qualified interested parties of differing opinions. That’s called peer review. No one is “noticing” any alien DNA. That’s too bad for all those who wanted Akhenaten as an extraterrestrial.