Being Pharaoh was a man's job in ancient Egypt - but even in this world, women managed to rise to the top. One female pharaoh was Hatshepsut and it is believed we have her body today. It is now known that she was entombed in the Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt. One can also learn more about this remarkable woman at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

As much as the Great Pyramids of Giza is a must for anyone visiting Eygpt, everyone should visit the Valley of the Kings to see how else the Egyptians buried their pharaohs. Egypt is one of those countries with so many secrets and things to learn. Just in the last couple of years a new lost city and former capital, Dazzling Aten, was discovered in Egypt.


What To Know About Hatshepsut - Egypt's Female Pharaoh

In the world of men, Hatshepsut managed to declare herself pharaoh and for 20 years she ruled Egypt as a man. She portrayed herself in paintings and statues with a male body sporting a false beard.

She was born the daughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I and then was the queen wife of her half-brother Pharaoh Thutmose II. When her husband died, her young son, Thutmose III, was appointed pharaoh for whom she acted as regent.

Through all these years she filled the traditional female role as a supporting player. But as the time wore on, she became more assertive and referred to herself as “Lady of the Two Lands.”

As her son neared maturity and would officially assume the throne she declared herself pharaoh. She depicted herself as a man and claimed her father to be the god Amun and that it was by his command that she claimed the throne.

She did not overthrow Thutmose III - he was technically her co-ruler. But for these 15 years, it was clearly her who was in charge of Egypt. When she died, her son became the sole pharaoh of Egypt.

  • Reign: She Ruled for 21 Years - 15 of Which As The Principal Ruler

As a woman in ultra-conservative Egyptian society, she could not lead her soldiers into battle. Instead, she sent them on an expedition to the fabled land of Punt, along the southern shore of the Red Sea, where no Egyptian had been for 500 years.

  • Died: In 1458 BC
  • Age: Middle Age For The Period

The expedition was a success and they returned with gold, ivory, live myrrh trees, and exotic animals. Her reign was marked by peace, prosperity, and grand building projects.

Before Thutmose III died, he sought to erase Hatshepsut from history. He defaced her monuments and removed her name from the list of kings. It was only thousands of years later that archaeologists rediscover the hidden past. It was only after they deciphered hieroglyphics at Deir el Bahri in 1822, later found her tomb in 1903, and identified her mummy in 2007 that her legacy was once again brought back into the light.

Related: Abydos: Egyptian Lost City Home To The World's Oldest Brewery

Her Burial In The Valley Of The Kings

Her mortuary temple is Djeser-Djeseru outside of which were two pairs of imposing obelisks. Her tomb is numbered KV20 in the Valley of the Kings and was likely the first royal tomb to be built in the valley.

  • Mortuary Temple: Djeser-Djeseru In Karnak
  • Tomb: Tomb KV20 (Interned Both Thutmose I and Hatshepsut)
  • First: It May Have Been The First Royal Tomb In The Valley Of The Kings

It housed both her father Thutmose I and later on Hatshepsut. She began constructing a different tomb when she was the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II but later decided to build a larger one fit for a pharaoh.

The tomb was discovered in 1903 by Howard Carter. The tomb was found to contain two female mummies. One is believed to have been Hatshepsut's wetnurse and the other Hatshepsut herself.

Related: See Ancient Egypt's Book Of The Dead At These Museums

Hatshepsut's Mummy

Until 2007 the second mummy was unidentified. But in 2007 it was taken to Cairo's Egyptian Museum for testing. It was found to be missing a tooth, and the space for the tooth perfectly matched Hatshepsut's existing molar, found in the DB320 "canopic box". This led the researchers to conclude that the mummy was that of Hatshepsut.

However, there is some room for doubt as no DNA test has been done as it would destroy the tooth. Doubt as to whether that is the right tooth and therefore the right mummy emerged in 2011.

Running with the belief that the mummy is Hatshepsut, it is suggested that Hatshepsut died from a benzopyrene carcinogenic skin lotion that cause her to get bone cancer. It is believed that members of her family had inflammatory skin diseases (they are normally genetic).

If true, it would mean that Egypt's most powerful woman poisoned herself while trying to soothe her itchy skin.

Next: Explained: Egypt's Old, Middle & New Kingdoms