How old was Hatshepsut?
The ages of the many kings of ancient Egypt can only be estimated - this applies also to
Hatshepsut. Even the mummies that survived from the New Kingdom did not
contribute very much to the determination of their age - in contrast, the attempts
to determine the age of a mummy with scientific methods served to
confuse the situation. The scientific determination of age resulted in remarkable contradictions to well-known historical data
(duration of the reign and/or life) from identified royals. This could mean either that the identification of
a mummy in question is false (mistakenly labeled during the rescue and restoration
in Dynasty 21) or that the present scientific methods are still incorrect - possibly also both applies.
|For a long time it was considered that the mummy of Hatshepsut was either
(see also "Where is the mummy?"), so far "physical data" for an estimation of
her age were not available. The following estimation of her age at certain events in
her "career" should be regarded as a "minimum estimation" - starting
with different "basic" assumptions results in higher values.
|As described under "Genealogy"
the mother of Hatshepsut, Ah-mose, was probably not of royal origin (only the title
"Sister of the king" is attested for her but not that of the
higher-ranking title "Daughter of the king"). If Thutmosis I - as
assumed by some scholars - had married Ah-mose on his accession to the throne than
Hatshepsut was most likely a young girl when she became queen. Since it is generally admitted that Thutmosis I reigned for 13 years
(12 years, 9 months), Hatshepsut would be at minimum 12 years on her
|Hatshepsut may have married her half-brother, Thutmosis II,
most likely on the occasion of his accession to the throne. It is not known how old Thutmosis
II has been on his accession but he is always called a "youngster".
Therefore, bridegroom and bride might have been of a comparable age.
The length of the reign of Thutmosis II is also uncertain but today the majority
of scholars accept a reign of 3 years only. If Hatshepsut has married
her husband at approximately 12 years, then she could have produced her
only daughter, Neferu-Ra, between the ages of 13 and 14. A longer reign of Thutmosis II - in former times
it has been set as high as 13 years - would naturally allow more time
for this event, but the fact that she took over the regency for her small stepson Thutmosis
III after the death of her husband, also implies a short reign of Thutmosis
II (if one assumes that he had also married the mother of Thutmosis III after
his accession to the throne).
|As discussed on the page "Accession
to the throne - but when??", Hatshepsut has taken full
royal titles not later than "year 7, 4. Month of sprouting (Peret), day
2". Assuming an age of about 15 when she became "Regent" for Thutmosis
III then she was 22 in year 7. However, if she has taken full royal titles early after
the start of the regency as discussed by some scholars - the earliest
date discussed is year 2 see also "Accession
to the throne - but when?"), then she was already "Lady of
the Two Lands" with 17.
|The reign of Hatshepsut is set to approximately 22 years
(see also "End and Persecution" whereby
she has added the years of regency for Thutmosis III to her own regnal years.
Thus, if she has been 15 at the beginning of the regency than she was with
approx. 37 when the "Horus Maat-ka-Ra Hatschepsut" ascended to the sky
to unite with her predecessors.
|New reflections taking into consideration recent data about
mummy A from KV60
|However, if the mummy A which had been found on the floor of KV60 (Hawass, kmt 18-3, 2007) is
really Hatshepsut, then the investigations of the Egyptian Supreme Council of
Antiquities (SCA) inevitable require some different estimations.
|According to the data collected by the SCA this
lady (KV60-A) was obese in life, suffered from osteoporosis, had a soft
tissue mass in the pelvis (most likely a metastasis of an unknown primary
tumor), worn-down and rotten teeth. Most likely she suffered also from diabetes
mellitus. Furthermore, the investigations showed that she died between the
ages of 46 and 60 - that is, the estimations discussed above are most likely obsolete - approximately several years are missing somewhere.
|If one assumes for example that Hatshepsut died at the age of
52, then one may estimate on the basis of chronological data published for
example by Hornung, Krauss, Warburton (2006) when the following events might
have taken place in her life:
Hatshepsut has ruled for about 22 years what would mean that she was 30 when her
husband, Thutmosis II died and she became regent for her stepson Thutmosis III.
At least she ascended to the throne of the Two Lands at an age of 37.
her husband ruled at least for 3 years, if so Hatshepsut was about 27 when her
father died and she became "Great Royal Wife".
however, if one accepts that Thutmosis II ruled for a longer period, e.g. 13
years as some scholars do, then she was already 17 years old when she became
Hornung, Krauss, Warburton point out that Thutmosis I may have reigned for 10-15
years. If one accepts the 13 years Josephus (according to:
Hornung, Krauss, Warburton, 2006) listed for Thutmosis I then
Hatshepsut was around 14 years - calculated on a short reign of her
husband (3 years only) - or just 4 years - if Thutmosis II has reigned for 13
years - when her father Thutmosis I ascended to the throne.
|- in any case these rough calculations indicate that Hatshepsut
may have been born already during the reign of Amenhotep I.
|In connection with the reflections about the age of
Hatshepsut also another event is remarkable - in year 15 she celebrated
her jubilee ("heb sed" celebration). Surely, the entire reign of
Hatshepsut was "untypical" in some way, thus, a celebration of
the "heb sed" jubilee after 15 instead - as usual - after 30
years may also be simply regarded as "untypical". On the other hand, the
jubilee after 15 years is so much conspicuous that speculations about
the background are unavoidable. One attempt to explain the jubilees assumes that she started to count her regnal years with the day of her
father's death and, of course, by suppressing the regnal years of her husband, Thutmosis
II However, this would argue for a reign of about years of Thutmosis II and, thus, against the present
assumption of 3 years only.
|Another attempt to explain the jubilee assumes that she
was born in regnal year 1 of her father. If so she could have celebrated
her thirtieth birthday as a "heb sed" jubilee by simply adding
up the 3 regnal years of her husband and 15 years of her own reign to
the 13 years of her father!