BRIEF HISTORY Queen Hatshepsut (the Foremost of Women) was the first great woman in recorded history: the forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra, Elisabeth I Tudor and Catherine the Great. The eldest daughter of King Tuthmosis and Queen Ahmose, she learned much of the art of ruling the country from her father with whom she had a special bond. She outlived her siblings and, after the death of her father, she became a queen of Egypt and ruled together with her half-brother-husband, Tuthmosis II. Together they ruled Egypt for fourteen years.

When Tuthmosis died Hatshepsut assumed the duties of a co-regent together with her minor step-son Tuthmosis III. Within three years she crowned herself as a queen and started building a wealthy and powerful state. Hatshepsut’s reign was one of a peace and prosperity for Egypt. There were few military endeavors during her reign, but most of her efforts went toward building projects. These had a two-fold purpose, the first, of course was erecting temples and chapels dedicated to various Gods, which pleased people greatly.

The second purpose was a personal propaganda. Whoever had the power to erect stone buildings also had the power to beautify them with inscriptions and paintings. Words written in stone to the Egyptian masses were considered truthful and magical. Hatshepsut used this tool to legitimize her ascension to the throne by claiming her father had proclaimed her his rightful heir instead of his son before his death. She also claimed that she was of divine descent and as such her reign is unquestionable.

These claims were written in stone on the front panels of her mortuary temple, Djeser-Djeseru, that was built with great effort and attention to detail by a great architect, Senemut, her chief of court, tutor of her only child, and supposedly her lover. Each day at dawn, the Sun rising over Thebes set the temple walls a glow and illuminated the hierogliphs that told of these things. Besides many architectural masterpieces left for future generations Hatshepsut is also credited with one extraordinary endeavour – the expedition to the fabled land ofPunt.

She organized a land-sea expedition that sailed alongside the coastline around the Horn of Somalia to the distant (some 600 miles) capitol of Punt. After one year the expedition brought back ebony, eye cosmetics, ivory, apes, monkeys and panthers. It also brought 31 living myrrh trees complete with the roots and soil they were grown in. She ordered them to be planted in the gardens in front of her mortuary temple Djeser-Djeseru and the story of the expedition was carved on her temple to tell all of its greatness for eternity.

Hatshepsut had only one child, a daughter, who married her step-son Tuthmosis III, and who died before any children were conceived. The Foremost of Women ruled Egypt for about 22 years and then, suddenly, disappeared. This was the time when her, now grown, step-son Tuthmosis III took over the throne of Egypt. He became one of the greatest warrior pharaohs in Egyptian history, “the Napoleon of ancient Egypt. ” He ruled for 54 years and when he died Egypt was the pre-eminent military power in the world. He had her name cut away from the temple walls which suggest he was not overly fond of his auntie-step-mother.

But the fact that she was able to contain the ambitions of this charismatic and wily young man for so many years, hints at the qualities of her character. Hatshepsut’s life is a story of power, wisdom, mystery, courage and love. She wielded far more power then the better known last female ruler of Egypt, Queen Cleopatra VII; she had the wisdom to use this power for the benefit of her country; and although it will probably forever remain a mystery, she had the courage against all traditions to love the commoner who captured her heart, the architect Senenmut. Queen Hatshepsut has 2 mysteries:

Queen Hatshepsut dressed as a man and her tomb have never been conclusively found. Both Wadjmose and Amenose were prepared to succeed their father, but neither lived beyond adolescence. In childhood, Hatshepsut is believed to have been favored by theTemple of Karnak over her two brothers by her father, a view promoted by her ownpropaganda. Hatshepsut apparently had a close relationship with both her parents, and later produced a propaganda story in which her father Thutmose I supposedly named her as his direct heir Hatshepsut dressed like a man and wore a false beard to prove that she could be Pharaoh and rule Egypt in her own right.

Hatshepsut, as we know, ruled because it was her destiny and was what she had been taught to do. Dressing as a man, Hatshepsut tried to hide the fact that she was a women. Hatshepsut was unique because she took on several male adornments while she ruled Egypt. Unlike most women of that time, she attached a false beard, wore male clothing, and was depicted in statutes as a pharaoh. She might have done this to make her transition to kingship and the acceptance of the priesthood more convincing.

It may be that if she had ruled strictly with a more feminine-looking disposition she may not have been so readily accepted by the masses and then called herself not queen but ‘pharaoh’. At its height, her power and influence stretched way beyond Egypt . This article is written by Ed Pilkington in New York and Mark Tran on June 27,2007. Archaeologists today used a missing tooth to positively identify the mummy of Hatshepsut, Egypt’s greatest woman pharaoh who reigned more than 3,000 years ago.

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s foremost archaeologist who led the research, said: “This is the most important discovery in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of King Tutankhamun, and one of the greatest adventures of my life. “Hatshepsut ruled over Egypt, the most advanced civilisation in the world, for about 15 years (1473-58BC) and was only the second woman known to have assumed the throne. She was the daughter of Tuthmosis I and married her half-brother Tuthmosis II. When her husband/brother died, she ruled as regent on behalf of his infant son Tuthmosis III, but effectively took over the throne.

Depictions of her illustrate the change of status, showing her in the traditional regalia, the royal head-covering known as the nemes headdress and false beard. After her death Tuthmosis III took steps to erase all traces of her, archaeologists now believe in order to remove the female interruption in the male Tuthmosis lineage. Statues of her were torn down, monuments defaced and her name scratched from the records. In particular, her mummy went missing, a puzzle that has troubled Egyptologists for more than a century. The British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Hatshepsut’s tomb while excavating at the Valley of the Kings in 1902.

When he properly explored the tomb in 1920, two years before his famous discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Mr Carter found two sarcophagi, one for Hatshepsut and the second for her father, but both were empty. Speculation about the riddle has, for years, focused on a separate tomb now known as KV60, which Mr Carter found and opened in the spring of 1903. Inside he found coffins of mummified geese, which he removed, and the partially disturbed and decaying coffins of two women lying side by side. One bore the inscription of Sitre-In, Hatshepsut’s wet nurse, the ther was anonymous. As the tomb was not royal it received little attention until the Egyptologist Donald Ryan reopened it in 1989. The sarcophagus marked with the name of the wet nurse was taken to Cairo museum, and the second unnamed sarcophagus remained behind. Mr Hawass decided to re-investigate the mystery surrounding Hatshepsut for a television special to be aired by the Discovery network and his team removed the second sarcophagus to Cairo for a CT scan. “That is the only mummy I have removed from the Valley of the Kings,” he said.

The scan revealed that this mummy was an obese woman between the ages of 45 and 60 who had bad teeth. She also suffered from cancer, evidence of which can be seen in the pelvic region and the spine. In search of more clues, Mr Hawass suggested a CT scanner be used to examine artefacts associated with the queen. One of those was a small wooden box that bore the cartouche, or royal seal, of Hatshepsut and contained a liver. Embalmers typically eviscerated the dead before embalming them but preserved the organs in jars and boxes.

The CT scan also revealed a tooth in the box. Mr Hawass called in a dentist, Galal El-Beheri from Cairo University, who studied the scans of the tooth and of several female mummies. “Not only was the fat lady from KV-60 missing a tooth but the hole left behind and the type of tooth that was missing were an exact match for the loose one in the box,” Mr Hawass said. The exact dimensions of teeth are unique to each mouth. The molar tooth in the box fits within a fraction of a millimetre with the space of the missing molar in the mouth of the mummy.

The minuscule difference could be due to erosion of the gums after the tooth was extracted. “The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt,” Mr Hawass said. “Her reign during the 18th dynasty of ancient Egypt was a prosperous one, yet mysteriously she was erased from Egyptian history. Our hope is that this mummy will help shed light on this mystery and on the mysterious nature of her death. ” Dr. Zahi Hawass Is a Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

He currently serves as secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and director of excavations at Giza, Saqqara and the Bahariya Oasis. Dr. Hawass is responsible for many recent discoveries in Egypt, including the tombs of the pyramid builders at Giza. He discovered the satellite pyramid of Khufu and revealed the secrets behind the so-called doors found inside the pyramid. He also excavated at Bahariya Oasis, where he discovered the Valley of the Golden Mummies. He also found the tombs of the governor of Bahariya and his family under the houses in the town of El-Bawiti.

His excavations at Saqqara revealed many discoveries around the pyramid of Teti, such as the tomb of the physician Qar, and the rediscovery of the “headless pyramid. ” He led an Egyptian team in the examination of the mystery of King Tut’s mummy through the use of a CT scan. REFERENCES: http://www. richeast. org/htwm/Hat/hat. html http://www. yourdiscovery. com/egypt/pharoahs/hatshepsut/ http://www. kingtutone. com/queens/hatshepsut/ http://www. guardian. co. uk/world/2007/jun/27/egypt. science http://dsc. discovery. com/convergence/quest/lost-queen/program/program. html www. crystalinks. com/egypthatshepsut