By: Jeremy Balkin

Dive into the captivating world of ancient mummies featured in the Discover database and unearth your own connections, linking you to fascinating ancient figures.

Chapter 1: Mummies

Welcome to October; a time for some to prepare for Halloween, and others to use Halloween as an excuse to add jokes and filler to their blog posts. Each week, I will highlight a different Halloween creature and tie them to the current day using our own database, research, and knowledge. As we welcome the resurgence of American actor, Brendan Fraser (star of the classic fantasy film, The Mummy), to the limelight, I figure this is an excellent time to look at the real-life influences of Halloween beings and document their tangible effects on the real world up until today. Tune in next week as I examine the real-life creature, the unicorn! Just kidding, it’s probably werewolves or something.

Browsing my personal Facebook feed, as I so often do at 3:15 am after my nightly bout of insomnia, heartburn, and recurring thoughts about aging, I am already seeing posts about Halloween. We’re far enough away from the holiday for there not to be too many of them, but the spooky friends are already there. You know the ones. Posting year round about skeletons and monsters and witches. Waiting for any excuse to wear a costume. Staring at you while you sleep from outside your bedroom window. That third thing is admittedly an apartment security issue – not Halloween.

Regarding costumes, the easiest one to make is the mummy. A classic in the pantheon of Halloween wear, requiring only a roll of toilet paper, a lot of tape, and the acceptance of the inevitably of it completely disintegrating immediately, the mummy is one of the Halloween creatures based largely in reality. People have been mummified throughout history, and many can still be seen today.

Discover Your Connections to Ancient Egyptian Mummies

Maybe most famously from Egypt, real mummies continue to fascinate us. Though ancient comes with an archaic undertone, we here at FamilyTreeDNA have DNA signatures of several real mummies!

Connect to King Tut’s Paternal Lineage Through Haplogroup R-M343

Do you fall under the Y-DNA Haplogroup R-M343? If so, you share a paternal haplogroup ancestor with King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut!

In the mesmerizing tapestry of ancient Egypt’s royalty, King Tutankhamun emerges as a luminary figure, his reign gilded with mystique. Tutankhamun, affectionately known as King Tut, ascended the throne in the midst of the opulent 18th dynasty, his legacy immortalized by the remarkable discovery of his opulent tomb in 1922. With an air of youthful enigma, he ruled over the sands of Egypt, leaving behind a treasure trove of artifacts that have captivated the world for generations.

Delving deeper into the annals of time, we encounter the illustrious Yuya, the great-grandfather of King Tutankhamun and the maternal grandfather of Akhenaten’s famed queen, Tiye. Yuya, a venerable noble, graced the courts of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, a time when Egypt’s splendor knew no bounds. His tomb, unveiled in the Valley of the Kings, unveiled a trove of treasures, painting a vivid portrait of his elevated status in ancient Egyptian society.

Tutankhamun’s great grandfather, Yuya, belongs to haplogroup G-P15.

Connect With King Rameses III and His Eldest Son in Haplogroup E-P177

Do you belong to haplogroup E-P177? You are the product of a long line dating back to the now mummified Ramesses III and his son, who tried to kill him!

In the sun-kissed annals of ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Ramesses III strides as a formidable figure, his reign a beacon of stability in the ebbs and flows of history. Yet, amidst the opulence of his court, a tale of intrigue and tragedy unfolds—a saga involving his own blood. Enter Prince Pentawer, a son ensnared in a web of conspiracy and power. In the shadowy corners of the royal harem, whispers of rebellion echoed, a plot to topple the mighty Ramesses III and place Pentawer upon the throne. This clandestine affair, etched in the scrolls of time as the Harem Conspiracy, ultimately met its unraveling, leading to trials and fateful ends for the conspirators.

Pentawer, a pawn in this treacherous game, faced a harrowing fate. The historical record reveals a somber tale: he chose to embrace his destiny, taking his own life rather than enduring the weight of justice. The methods of his demise remain veiled in the sands of time, a mystery echoing the enigmatic nature of ancient intrigues. His story, etched on the Judicial Papyrus of Turin, resonates as a testament to the complex interplay of power, ambition, and destiny in the corridors of ancient Egyptian royalty. Through these whispers of conspiracy, we catch a fleeting glimpse of the human drama that unfolded amidst the grandeur of the pharaohs, reminding us that even in antiquity, the echoes of ambition could be as profound as the pyramids that dotted the Nile’s edge.

“Unknown Man E” believed to be Pentawer, Ramesses III’s eldest son who participated in the “harem conspiracy” to overthrow his father and put himself on the throne.
“Unknown Man E” believed to be Pentawer, Ramesses III’s eldest son who participated in the “harem conspiracy” to overthrow his father and put himself on the throne.

Discover Your Connection to the Tomb of Two Brothers Within Haplogroup H-Z19008

Finally, Nakht-Ankh from the Tomb of the Two Brothers, belongs to haplogroup H-Z19008.

In the ancient sands of Egypt, a tale of family and nobility unfolds, illuminating the pages of history with the discovery of Nakht-Ankh and the Tomb of the Two Brothers. These hallowed grounds, unearthed in 1907 near Akhmim, have gifted us a profound glimpse into the lives of two distinguished men, Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht, who graced the 12th Dynasty with their presence.

Nakht-Ankh, a revered scribe, stood as a testament to the reverence of knowledge in ancient Egyptian society. His intricate hieroglyphs, etched on the tomb’s walls and coffins, tell stories of noble lineage and illuminate the importance of literacy in an era when the written word held unparalleled power. Beside him lies Khnum-Nakht, a fellow scion of a prominent lineage, their shared legacy intertwined with their father, the esteemed governor Ruiu.

As we wander the echoing halls of the Tomb of the Two Brothers, we find not merely mummies and artifacts, but a living testament to familial bonds and social hierarchies of ancient Egypt. The exquisite craftsmanship displayed in the artifacts reveals the skilled hands of artisans long gone, their artistry immortalized in the intricate details of the tomb’s treasures.

In the enigmatic script of ancient Egypt, Nakht-Ankh and his brother whisper their stories to us, reminding us of the enduring mysteries that lie beneath the sands. Through this remarkable discovery, their legacy lives on, casting a timeless aura that captivates the hearts of modern explorers, weaving a tapestry of nobility, kinship, and the rich heritage of an ancient civilization.

Comparison of the skulls and statuettes of Nakht-ankh and Khnum-nakht. After Murray (1910: pl. 17)
Comparison of the skulls and statuettes of Nakht-ankh and Khnum-nakht. After Murray (1910: pl. 17) From "Interpreting the ‘Two Brothers’ at Manchester Museum: Science, Knowledge and Display" (Price et. al. 2023)

Mummies in the Americas

People have historically been mummified all over the world. If you find yourself not from a lineage near Egypt, may I interest you in the New World? There, you’ll find the Spirit Cave Mummy, the oldest real mummy in North America and the Aconcagua mummy.

Spirit Cave Mummy remains still wrapped in material it was laid to rest in.
Spirit Cave Mummy remains still wrapped in material it was laid to rest in.

Discover Your Connection to the Spirit Cave Mummy From Haplogroup Q-Y166185

A remarkable specimen, the Spirit Cave Mummy from haplogroup Q-Y166185, aged at approximately 9,400 years old, casts a new light on ancient civilizations. Wrapped in the enigma of time, the mummy, was unearthed alongside a trove of artifacts and plant remnants, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of those who once roamed the same lands we tread today. Its impeccable preservation has unveiled secrets of antiquity, allowing scientists to dissect long-buried mysteries — from dietary habits to cultural rituals — painting a vivid portrait of an ancient people.

In recent times, the Spirit Cave Mummy has captivated the scientific community with its silent secrets. Through meticulous DNA analysis, a cryptic genetic link between this ancient soul and modern Native American populations has been unveiled. This revelation stands as a pivotal milestone, illuminating the intricate tapestry of ancestry and migration patterns woven into the very fabric of the Americas.

In the dim glow of history’s lantern, the tale of the Spirit Cave Mummy takes a poignant turn, echoing with legal and ethical reverberations. Native American tribes, guardians of their ancestral legacy, including the venerable Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, stepped forward, their voices echoing through time, proclaiming the mummy as kin deserving of a dignified resting place. They sought repatriation in harmony with their sacred cultural traditions. In a landmark moment of cultural respect, the United States government heeded their call, orchestrating a solemn return. In the quietude of 2016, the Spirit Cave Mummy found its way back to the embrace of the land that cradled it millennia ago, allowing the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe to usher their ancestor into a final, reverential slumber.

Thus, the Spirit Cave Mummy’s journey through time came full circle, its spirit now at peace, cocooned in the ancestral tapestry it once belonged to, a testament to the enduring strength of tradition and the quiet triumph of cultural preservation.

Explore Your Connection to the Aconcagua Mummy in haplogroup Q-Y166275

Further south you will find the Aconcagua mummy, a poignant discovery atop the towering peaks of Mount Aconcagua. The remains found are believed to be that of a seven-year-old boy from the Inca civilization.

A portion of dissected lung from the mummy. A small piece of 350 mg was used for DNA extraction. The ph
A portion of dissected lung from the mummy. A small piece of 350 mg was used for DNA extraction. The photo of the mummy has been taken from 49. Original source: the University of Cuyo Publisher (Argentina) from the paper "The complete mitogenome of a 500-year-old Inca child mummy" (Gómez-Carballa et. al. 2015).

Preserved by the unforgiving elements, this young soul’s mummy has not only provided a window into the Inca’s burial customs and way of life but also yielded genetic secrets. Through meticulous analysis, researchers have identified the mummy’s Y-DNA haplogroup as Q-Y166275, connecting this young Inca boy to a specific lineage, further enriching our understanding of the ancient civilizations that once thrived amidst the Andean heights. His silent presence echoes through time, telling the story of a young life lost in the mists of history.

Regardless of your haplogroup, taking our Big Y test, along with the new Discover™ tool included in every Y-DNA result, will directly connect you with notable people of the past.

For example, my results connect me with notable figures like Bennett Greenspan (Founder of FamilyTreeDNA) and Matthew Lowe (famed pirate). I am in no way equating the two, but they were the ones that stuck out the most to me when I first opened this part of my results. Pirates are another story for another Halloween. One character at a time.

Which real mummy should you dress up as this Halloween? Take a Y-DNA test and see how you connect with the dead! It’s easier than an online quiz, and more historically accurate.

Jeremy Balkin - FamilyTreeDNA Blog

About the Author

Jeremy Balkin

Customer Service Manager at FamilyTreeDNA

Jeremy Balkin has been active in genetic genealogy for 11+ years and has been writing his whole adult life. Through helping customers daily, helping his team, and continuing to write, he hopes to continue to connect with more people on the subject using his own blend of knowledge and humor.

Working for FamilyTreeDNA itself has shaped the past quarter of his life, and mostly for the better. It has become a part of him, and he hopes to never lose it. In his free time, Jeremy likes to spend time with his nine-year-old son and girlfriend, Gillian.

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