Objective To investigate the true character of the harem conspiracy described in the Judicial Papyrus of Turin and determine whether Ramesses III was indeed killed.
Design Anthropological, forensic, radiological, and genetic study of the mummies of Ramesses III and unknown man E, found together and taken from the 20th dynasty of ancient Egypt (circa 1190-1070 BC).
Results Computed tomography scans revealed a deep cut in Ramesses III’s throat, probably made by a sharp knife. During the mummification process, a Horus eye amulet was inserted in the wound for healing purposes, and the neck was covered by a collar of thick linen layers. Forensic examination of unknown man E showed compressed skin folds around his neck and a thoracic inflation. Unknown man E also had an unusual mummification procedure. According to genetic analyses, both mummies had identical haplotypes of the Y chromosome and a common male lineage.
Conclusions This study suggests that Ramesses III was murdered during the harem conspiracy by the cutting of his throat. Unknown man E is a possible candidate as Ramesses III’s son Pentawere.