Two of my ‘reply’ emails to a good friend (WL) whilst discussing the claims made by some Western researchers that Tutankhamen carried European, or Caucasian DNA. My view is that I think this incorrect and unlikely for reasons explained below. Of course, ‘Caucasian’ does not automatically equate with ‘European’, as many Caucasians do not originate from Europe (many East Indians, for instance, are categorised as ‘Caucasian’). My issue is that African culture should not be swept away with academic allegations that it might have been a product of ‘European’ influence. Even if it turned-out that Tutankhamen was ‘European’ or ‘Caucasian’, it should be clearly pointed-out that he was culturally ‘African’, and that his DNA does not necessarily imply European cultural input.
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:47:04 +0100
I have just watched this excellent documentary on BBC Four about Tutankhamen. This is the latest research with DNA testing proving that he was the son of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Kiya. The test also revealed that these two royals were brother and sister. Tutankhamen had a club left-foot (hence all the walking canes in his tomb), and a shattered left knee. All the other injuries and breakages on his body were inflicted after he was found in 1922 – a time of primitive archaeology. In Joyce Tyldesley’s book ‘Tutankhamen’, it states that his body was contaminated with DNA after his death, and during the 70 days of the embalming process 3,300 tears ago in ancient Egypt. Also, after 1922, thousands of Europeans pocked, prodded and handled Tutankhamen’s mummy – contaminating it with European DNA. Decades later, the contamination of his body was revealed by DNA testing, but some researchers, instead of explaining the presence of European DNA as being an ‘error’ easily explainable, actually proposed the absurd notion that Tutankhamen was ‘European’ and not a ‘Black’ African. The BBC documentary carries-out an impressive ‘virtual’ autopsy, and from all the genetic, biological and physical data – and reconstructs Tutankhamen’s entire body – as a proud ‘Black’ African man. Joyce Tyldesley (of Oxford University) independently carried out a similar data analysis and produced this forensic image of Tutankhamen:
Date:Tuesday, August 02, 2016 07:50
Thank you for your interesting thoughts.
Having read through the appalling treatment (by modern scientific standards) of Tutankhamen’s body in 1922 and after, quite frankly I am amazed that anything is left to analyse! Apart from the clubbed left foot, and broken left knee – all other injuries and breakages on the mummy occurred post-mortem. Of course, some are the result of the embalming process – but others are to do with how his burial mask (which was ‘glued’ to him) was ripped-off after 1922, and how his body was removed from the coffin(s) and his bandages were taken-off, etc. I believe his exact age is known from the state of his wisdom teeth (18 – 22 years old at the time of death). Today, his body has been digitally scanned and downloaded into an interactive, medical computer programme. This means that his remains can remain undisturbed in a state of reasonable preservation, whilst his body can be ‘digitally’ examined by anyone. Of course, I take your point about the fact one’s outer appearance does not allows correspond to one’s DNA, or vice versa.
Modern (Middle Eastern) Egyptians are not ancient Egyptians, as you know. When I was in Egypt around 1996, I was very much aware that the ‘modern’ Egyptians were in-charge of the country, whilst the Black men and women (i.e. the original or early Egyptians) occupied a subordinate position within society. Although the ‘modern’ Egyptians exploit the pyramids and tombs – the simple fact of the matter is that it was not their ancestors who built this astonishingly sophisticated architecture, and as far as I am concerned, simply from the position of cultural expression, it was not the European Caucasians either. Even Stone-henge in the UK, as old as the stone structures are (which were cemented into their current positions during the Victorian era), are rudimentary and basic in design when compared to the pristine and logical thought-structures that gave birth to the progressive and yet ancient Egyptian culture. In the battle over ‘race’, and the ideological import it entails, it is an interesting observation that no academics in the West (or very few) suggest that Africans or Asians may have come to Europe and benevolently ‘granted’ us our culture (although to be honest, a non-European input, especially that of China or Egypt, would be more than welcome to my mind). I suspect European culture developed much later in sophistication to that of Africa and China, but has become dominant in modern times through the UK’s Industrial Revolution. This is not to say that Europeans never possessed a culture, of course they did, but it was a culture that perfectly suited European climatic and environmental conditions, and so did not have to ‘change’ or ‘evolve’ for quite some time. We are left with the enigma of pyramid-like structures around the world (including China), and statues in South America bearing distinct African features. Perhaps it was the ancient Egyptians who spread their culture across the world?