Search Successful for Ancient Egyptian Mummy

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

The mummy identified as Hatshepsut showed an obese woman, who died in her 50s, probably had diabetes and is also believed to have had liver cancer, Hawass said.

But her left hand is positioned against her chest, in a traditional sign of royalty in ancient Egypt.

DNA bone samples taken from the mummy's hip bone and femur are being compared to the mummy of Hatshepsut's grandmother, Amos Nefreteri, said an Egyptian molecular geneticist who is on Hawass' team.

While scientists are still matching those mitochondrial DNA sequences, the molecular geneticist said on Wednesday that preliminary results were "very encouraging."

Hawass has led the search for Hatshepsut since a year ago, setting up a $5 million DNA lab in the basement of the Cairo Museum with an international team of scientists.

The study was funded by the Discovery channel, which is to broadcast an exclusive documentary on it in July.

Hatshepsut is believed to have stolen the throne from her young stepson, Thutmose III.

Her rule of about 21 years was the longest among ancient Egyptian queens, ending in 1453 B.C.

Hatshepsut's funerary temple is located in ancient Thebes, on the west bank of the Nile in today's Luxor, a multi-colonnaded sandstone temple built to serve as tribute to her power.

Surrounding it are the Valley of Kings and the Valley of the Queens, the burial places of Egypt's pharaohs and their wives.

But after Hatshepsut's death, her name was obliterated from the records in what is believed to have been her stepson's revenge.

She was one of the most prolific builder pharaohs of ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper and Lower Egypt.

Almost every major museum in the world today has a collection of Hatshepsut statuary.

British archaeologist Howard Carter worked on excavating Hatshepsut's tomb before discovering the tomb of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, whose treasure of gold has become a symbol of ancient Egypt's splendour.

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