Within the Deir el-Bahri cache DB320 was the mummy of an unknown man labelled “Unknown Man E.” Found amongst more than fifty kings, this mummy was unique. Discovered in 1881, it wasn’t long before the mummies began to be unwrapped; as it was the custom during that period. Gaston Maspero supervised the opening of the coffin of Unknown Man E in 1886, and found that the man had been wrapped in sheepskin. This was rather strange considering that the ancient Egyptians thought of sheepskin as ritually unclean. The unwrapping took place, but there was more surprises ahead: Unknown Man E’s face looked like he was screaming in agony, his hands and feet were bound, his abdomen was constricted, and there was no incision in his abdomen for removal of his organs. This coupled with the fact that the coffin in which he had been laying in was unmarked, led to the assumption that this man had died a very unnatural death, and introduced the theory that he had been buried alive.
Many theories exist into why he was buried in this manner. It’s been suggested that maybe he was poisoned, due to how his face was contorted and how his abdomen was constricted. Another thought, is that he was a foreigner that was buried in Egypt: This idea comes from a letter that may have been sent from Ankhesenamun to the Hittite King, Suppiluliumas, to request a son of his to be sent to her for to marry because she had just been made a widow (her young husband, Tutankhamun had just died). It’s believed that his son, prince Zannanza was murdered by the Egyptians on his journey to meet Ankhesenamun as they didn’t wish to see a foreigner on the throne of Egypt. Was prince Zannanza Unknown Man E? Due to more recent studies of this mummy it seems more likely to be one of two other explanations: Either he was an Egyptian that was away on a military campaign and died, leaving the foreigners to do what they thought was best until he could be sent back to Egypt. Or equally possible, is that Unknown Man E is in fact Penteweret; the son of Ramessu (III). Penteweret was found to have been involved in the Harem Conspiracy (a plot to take the life of the king), and it’s possible that he was made to commit suicide as his punishment. This theory would also explain why he was discovered in a tomb amongst kings, if he had been royalty himself.