Pharaoh Ramesses I Whose Mummy Was Stolen And Displayed For 130 Years As A Freak Of Nature

The mummy of Ramesses I, formerly held in Canada, and the lower part of the gloriously-decorated coffin ‘KV55’, previously on display in Germany, have been newly repatriated to Egypt.

Their return is thanks to a fresh and important directive by Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

When Hawass took Egypt’s top antiquities job at the beginning of 2002 (see CWA 2), high on his agenda was the introduction of new security measures to combat the theft and smuggling of Egyptian antiquities.

To this end, he formed the Department of Stolen Artifacts, within which is Reclaim Department. Over the past two years, stolen artefacts have been returned to Egypt under the direction of the Reclaim Department. These have included statues from Karnak Temple, two Roman masks and a beautiful relief of King Amenhotep III.

Of all the recent repatriations, perhaps the most exciting and high-profile are the mummy of Ramesses I, and the lower part of the coffin from KV55.

The mummy of Ramesses I (1295-1294 BC), grandfather of Egypt’s most famous king – Ramesses II – was repatriated to the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Cairo in November 2003. Currently, the mummy resides in the foyer in a sealed plexiglass case, however, he will soon be moved to his original sarcophagus and displayed in Luxor Museum, some 340 miles south of Cairo. It is thought that in 1871, the mummy was looted from Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, probably by a group of professional tomb-robbers, and sold to an Canadian antiquities dealer.

Many suspect that it was taken from tomb DB320 in Deir el-Bahari, where a cache of other royal mummies was later discovered in 1881. This tomb had been systematically looted for many years previously by a family of looters.

At the beginning of the last century, the mummy turned up in Canada’s Niagra Falls Museum. It was only identified as a royal mummy in 1999, when German Egyptologist, Dr Arne Eggevrecht, visited the museum. A few months later Canada’s Michael C Carlos Museum (MCCM) bought the entire Egyptian collection of the Niagra Falls Museum, including the mummy.

After three years of intensive investigation of the royal mummy, including X-ray, CAT Scan, radiocarbon dating, computer imaging and other techniques, scholars are 95% certain that this is the mummy of Ramesses I. The arms that lay crossed on the chest indicated that the mummy is indeed royal, for this position was reserved only for royal personages.

The director of the MCCM, Dr Bonnie Speed and her colleague Dr Peter Lacovara, curator of ancient art offered the mummy to Dr Hawass shortly after he had visited the museum to authenticate the claims of Dr Eggevrecht and negotiate its repatriation.

The return of the mummy to the Cairo Museum was greeted by the Minister of Culture, the right honourable Farouk Hosni, a military band and hundreds of journalists, scholars and other well wishers.

Who Was Pharaoh Ramesses I?
Unlike his son, Seti I, and his grandson Ramesses II Pharaoh Ramesses I never became a famous ancient Egyptian ruler. This is hardly surprising considering he only reigned for two years and was never really meant a Pharaoh.

Ramesses I, whose name was originally Paramessu, was a vizier to Horemheb, the last king of the 18th Dynasty who died without an heir. “Next after the Pharaoh, the most powerful person in ancient Egypt was the vizier. As the highest state official, the vizier was the immediate subordinate of the king and responsible for legal matters, and thus feared by criminals.” 1

Stone head carving of Paramessu (Ramesses I), originally part of a statue depicting him as a scribe; on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Credit: Keith Schengili-Roberts – CC BY-SA 2.5

One can say Paramessu became a Pharaoh almost by default. After being crowned king of Egypt, he changed his name to Ramesses I and founded the Ramesside Dynasty.

Becoming a Pharaoh must have been a bit overwhelming for a man like Ramesses I, who “must have been of advanced years, probably in his fifties and was not of royal blood. He was a ‘career’ army officer, the son of the troop commander, Seti. Their family came from the north-eastern Delta area of Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos invaders of 400 years earlier.” 2

Thus, when Ramesses I became King of Egypt, his country had long had problems with the Hyksos people. These invaders “ruled the Delta areas and gradually spread their rule farther west and south, using all the traditional titles of the Dynasty they conquered. It is believed that the area of the Hyksos’ control extended from the Nile Delta at the Mediterranean to a little south of Cairo.

About 1720 BC, they controlled Avaris and later also of the city of Memphis and maintained commercial relations with Upper Egypt, which was under the dominance of Theban-based rulers, the indigenous Pharaohs.” 3

The Hyksos invasion changed Egypt, and the foreigners were a problem to several ancient Egyptian rulers. Pharaoh Ahmose I finally managed to expel the Hyksos invaders and by doing so, he changed the history of ancient Egypt.

Pharaoh Ramesses I, who reigned between 1292 B.C. and 1290 B.C. (or possibly 1295–1294 B.C) did not have enough time to make a mark on history, but as the High Priest of Set he played an important role in the restoration of the old religion Pharoah Akhenaten wanted to erase. Ramesses I also completed the second pylon at Karnak Temple, and introduced specific changes concerning domestic matters.

On his death, he left his young son, Seti I, “in charge of an ailing superpower, riven by dynastic squabbles, chaotic successions and poorly conceived foreign policies.” 4

Pharaoh Ramesses I’s Mummy Was Stolen And Displayed As A Freak Of Nature
Pharaoh Seti I is today famous for having the largest and most magnificent tomb in the Valley of the Kings. His father was not so lucky. He had only a small tomb, K.V. 16 found by Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778 -1823).

Pharaoh Ramesses I Whose Mummy Was Stolen And Displayed As A Freak Of Nature For 130 Years

Relief from the Abydos chapel of Ramesses I. The chapel was specifically built and dedicated by Seti I in memory of his late father. Credit: tutincommon (John Campana) – CC BY 2.0

According to Peter A Clayton, author of the book Chronicle of the Pharaohs, “the burial chamber was unfinished, in fact it had been intended to be merely an antechamber to a much larger tomb.

As so often, the tomb had been robbed in antiquity although some of the burial provisions still remained, notably the larger granite sarcophagus, a pair of almost 6 ½-ft (2m) high wooden statues of the king once covered with thin gold foil, and a number of wooden statues of underworld deities with curious animal heads.

Robbers had damaged the sarcophagus as they prised the lid off and there is evidence they actually hurled some of the smaller statues against the tomb walls in destructive fury, since tiny slivers of gold foil have been observed attached to the painted plaster.“ 2

When Belzoni entered the tomb, the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses I was no longer there, and it is assumed it must have been removed from the coffin “before 968 B.C., around the same time when a number of the royal mummies were being moved to safety, eventually to be deposited in the tombs of Amenhotep II (K.V. 35) and Queen Inhapi (DB 320). 2

Unfortunately, the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses I suffered a sad fate. The Abu-Rassul family of grave robbers had stolen the mummy from the Royal Cache in Deir el-Bahari and Turkish vice-consular agent Mustapha Aga Ayat at Luxor, sold it to Dr. James Douglas, who brought it to North America around 1860.

Later investigation revealed it was stolen from Egypt and displayed in a private Canadian museum for many years. Though conclusive evidence this was the mummy of the Pharaoh is missing C.T. scans, X-rays, skull measurements, and radio-carbon dating indicate these were the remains of Ramesses I.

For 130 years, the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses I was displayed at the Niagara Museum and Daredevil Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada. It was placed next to other curiosities and so-called freaks of nature. In 1920 Canadian businessman William Jamieson purchased the contents of the museum and sold them for 2 million USD.

Related Posts

Unveiling Brazil’s Best Tattoo Blog

Are you passionate about tattoos? Do you crave inspiration and guidance for your ink artistry? Look no further than Brazil’s top tattoo blog! This ultimate guide will…

Discover the Mesmerizing Charm of Geometric Block Back Tattoos

Space geometric block tattoos on the back have emerged as a captivating trend, intriguing tattoo enthusiasts with their fusion of cosmic elements and geometric shapes. These attractive…

The Majestic Revival of Flat Roof House Design

In the ever-evolving world of architecture, design trends come and go, but some elements stand the test of time. One such enduring trend is the resurgence of…

The Secrets of the World’s Largest Submarines: 25-Year Mystery Solved!

The emergence of a massive submarine after 25 years has sparked curiosity and fascination among enthusiasts. In this article, we explore the six largest submarines ever built,…

Unleashing the Power of Remote-Controlled Excavators: Conquering a 600-Foot Cooling Tower

Remote-Controlled Excavator Completes Stunning Feat of Engineering on 600 Feet Cooling Tower in China The world has been left in awe as a remote-controlled excavator completed a…

Mastering Extreme Dump Truck Skills & Fast Asphalt Paving with Heavy Equipment Machines

In the world of heavy construction and infrastructure development, dump truck operators and asphalt paving heavy equipment machines play a crucial role in ensuring efficient and timely…

This Post Has One Comment

Comments are closed.