CAIRO – 16 August 2022: Hatshepsut was a queen of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt. She reigned longer than any other woman of Egyptian origin.
She formally ruled as co-ruler with her stepson, Thutmose III, but held power as a queen for between 7 and 21 years. She was one of the very few women who ruled Egypt.
Hatshepsut died at the age of 50, according to a painting in Armant. Her death date has been set to January 16, 1458 B.C. by some scholars. However, no contemporary source mentions how she died.
Her mummy was not found in her prepared tomb, and many signs of her existence had been erased, so Hatshepsut’s cause of death was a matter of speculation.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, scholars speculated that Hatshepsut's stepson, Thutmose III, may have killed her, as she died shortly after his return from a military campaign, and it is clear that her mummy was lost or destroyed. Thutmose III apparently tried to erase her rule.
Hatshepsut had prepared a tomb for herself as the great royal wife of Thutmose II.After declaring herself ruler, she started building a new one, more suitable for a woman who ruled as the Great Pharaoh. She began to upgrade the tomb of her father, Thutmose I, adding a new room, then Thutmose III or his son Amenhotep II moved Thutmose I to a different tomb. He suggested placing the mummy of Hatshepsut in the tomb of her nurse.
Howard Carter discovered the mummies of two women in the tomb of Hatshepsut’s nurse. One of the mummies was identified as Hatshepsut by Egyptologist Zahi Hawass in 2007.
Assuming the identification is correct, knowing more about the cause of her death becomes possible. The mummy shows signs of arthritis, several cavities, radiculitis and sinusitis, diabetes and metastatic bone cancer. She was also obese, with some other signs of skin disease.
It was concluded after examining the mummy that metastatic cancer had killed her, while another theory proposed that the extraction of a tooth resulted in an abscess, which in her weak state of cancer, was enough to kill her.
In 2011, researchers in Germany identified a carcinogen in a vial identified with Hatshepsut. This led to speculation that she may have used a lotion or ointment for cosmetic reasons to treat a skin condition, which led to the cancer. Not everyone accepts the flask as actually related to Hatshepsut.
No evidence of unnatural causes of death has been found in the mummy, although academics have long assumed that her death may have been hastened by enemies, perhaps even her stepson.
However, modern scholars do not accept that Hatshepsut's stepson and heir was in conflict with her.