Intentionally Forgetting: An Anthropological Examination of the Burial of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt
AuthorPhelps, Danielle O.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 06/08/2022
AbstractHoward Carter discovered the tomb and the semi-intact burial of king Tutankhamun (c. 1336-1327 BCE) in November of 1922. Countless publications propose a myriad of explanations about Tutankhamun's family history, his life, and the cause of death. None, however, attempt to examine the burial of Tutankhamun through an anthropological theories and methodologies. This dissertation utilizes a multi-scalar analysis of the royal burial of Tutankhamun that leads to a reinterpretation of his funeral and burial as an active social negotiation by his successor Ay and an act of intentional forgetting designed to disassociate Ay from the tumultuous Amarna period. The three scales approach employs a variety of theoretical concepts to better explain the results, such as memory, inalienable artifacts, and postmortem agency. The first scale is at the community or cemetery level. It examines the spatial distribution of the Eighteenth Dynasty tombs in the Valley of the Kings using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) analyses to determine the clustering of the tombs, the intervisibility of the tombs to one another, and the intentionality behind their placement in the landscape. The second scale is at the level of the tomb. An empirical approach is employed to examine the associations between the artifacts found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, KV 62. Statistical analyses of the artifacts are used to explore the associations between different categorical variables. The third scale examines if the postmortem manipulation of Tutankhamun's mummified remains were used to legitimize his successor's claim to the throne. The application of these analyses allows for a new argument to prevail about the burial of Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun’s successor, Ay, intentionally performed the act of forgetting the Amarna royal family by entombing inalienable artifacts amongst the burial assemblage of Tutankhamun and placing the tomb of Tutankhamun within a location that was honorable yet would be forgotten by the larger social memory. The intentional act of forgetting and “erasing” the royal Amarna family members was necessary for Ay’s legitimacy to the throne and the restoration of the traditional practices dismissed during Akhenaten’s reign. This dissertation will show how anthropological theory and quantitative analyses can still bring new understandings to one-hundred-year-old discovery.
Degree ProgramGraduate College