On January 6th, 1907, a team working under the American archaeologist Theodore Davis uncovered the entrance to a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. This tomb, designated as KV55, paled in comparison to the impressive tombs elsewhere in the Valley. It was a humble construction with just one chamber and no decorations, and many of the artifacts that remained inside were badly damaged.
This damage was ancient. Where the figures of a man once stood, someone had carved him out long ago. Where a name had once been written, someone had hacked it away. A lone coffin occupied the tomb, but someone had savagely ripped its golden face off. Inside that coffin lay the body of an individual whose identity has puzzled Egyptologists for almost 120 years. Who was laid to rest in KV55, and why were they treated with such contempt by the ancients who should have revered everyone buried in the sacred valley?
What Was Discovered Inside Tomb KV55?
Davis' initial excavation of the tomb was shoddy and irresponsible. He failed to adequately catalog everything in the burial, and his eagerness to inspect the discoveries caused damage that has handicapped scholars ever since.
However, his team quickly realized that they were dealing with a burial from the Amarna Period of Egypt's 18th Dynasty. This period describes the religious heresy of Akhenaten who famously overthrew Egypt's polytheism in favor of the worship of the solar deity Aten. These changes were reversed under his son Tutankhamun and later, the entire period was erased from official Egyptian history.