Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses III was likely assassinated in a violent coup attempt 3,000 years ago, according to a report in the journal British Medical Journal.
Scientists say that Ramses III, who has been described as “the last great pharaoh,” had his throat cut as a result of a coup led by one of his wives and her son Prince Pentawere.
However, it is unclear if the coup attempt was actually successful. Ramses III is believed to have reigned between 1186 and 1155 B.C. during Egypt’s New Kingdom period.
His rule was racked with internal and economic turmoil, the first recorded labor strike in known history took place in his 29th year on the throne.
His death has long been the subject of controversy. Scientists now say that they have evaluated CT scans of Ramses III, showing a “wide and deep wound in the throat of the mummy” that was likely caused by a blade “and which could have caused immediate death,” according to a press release of the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
They also discovered a Horus amulet inside the wound, which was likely inserted by embalmers to promote the wound’s healing, the release said.
They also looked at the mummy of an unknown man, whose it appears was strangled or suffered other violent trauma. He was covered by “ritually impure” goatskin, suggesting that he might have been punished.
The authors of the report think this mummy was Prince Pentawere, who took part in the coup conspiracy. The two mummies share the same parental lineage, researchers said, citing DNA evidence, “strongly suggesting that they were father and son.”
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