The Harem Conspiracy
This episode of overheard is sponsored by Viking National Geographic is dedicated exploration and Vikings to Viking takes travelers to the heart of the world cities including Amsterdam Budapest in Vienna offering a small ship experience along on Europe's iconic rivers with schorr excursion included in every port learn more at Viking cruises dot com where the National Geographic Museum here in Washington D._C.. For Magnificent New oh exhibition on Queens of Egypt so it's eight thirty in the morning museum hasn't even open yet and we're getting a special tour from archaeologist in residents read Hebrew and Scott Three hundred fifty artifacts Senate from the very very oldest collection of Egyptian antiquities actually in the world when Fred's not out in the field studying ancient trade routes are searching for never t._D.'s tomb. He's back here helping to curate this museum. Fred wines is is through the dimly lit exhibit. He points out perfectly preserved Royal Sandal a bust of Cleopatra some stone statues of Faeroese from the value of the Kings. That's a life sized sculpture of Tut mouse the first this is clearly a man who loves his job opening the boxes like Christmas three hundred fifty times over. Here's his big box. It has no label whatsoever. We know that we have to open the box and it's like wait wait. Oh It's doc does he brings us over to a long glass case so we have here an absolutely unique papyrus is about eighteen feet long describing this conspiracy that happened to new pop off. The feral Fred says the text is written in high radic a cursive form of hieroglyphics. It's really beautiful but the details written down here those are not pretty judicial judicial document. It's a record of a court proceeding in which the court has identified a couple of perpetrators who were scheming to assassinate feral Ramsey's the third it describes having the perpetrators traders plead guilty. It describes how the perpetrators were forced to commit. Suicide is all written down here thirty nine people were convicted of high treason. Some were disfigured others were executed or forced to kill themselves. This papyrus tells the story of an inside job. A conspiracy hatched by the Faeroese own family by one of his wives. I'm Peter Gwen and this is overheard. National Geographic a show where we eavesdrop on the wild conversations we have at Nat G._O.. And follow them to the edges of our big weird and beautiful world this this week a dynasty disarray a secret kept from linear and some new science that cracks the case wide open. It's remarkable how much we still don't know about ancient Egypt. egyptology is a field based on best interpretations. It's filled with mystery and this is a story that has stumped scholars for a very long time what happened to Ramseys the third. It's been a mystery for more than three thousand thousand years but thanks to science and some clever detective work by dog at archaeologists. We now have a better idea about what really went down. I I'm dirt archaeologist. I dig in Egypt Penn State University. Susan Redford food is well a dirt geologist had that's what I call myself. I dig scholars call. The papyrus frejus showed us the judicial papyrus of Turin. It's named after the museum intern Italy were it's normally housed but it's got another name. The HAREM conspiracy papyrus this document relates a conspiracy that was formed an instigated by the women of the Royal Harim Against Ramsey's the third to overthrow Oh him terezin rebellion and to also displace the crown prince. This isn't the usual stuff royal harems to ensure the family line. The Egyptian Pharaoh had a lot of wives they all lived in Harem. It started out as a special place in the palace but by the time of Ramsey's the third the harems had evolved into entire estates with their own many economies there was schools livestock agriculture dozens of wives even more kids in the wives had a very important job to keep the family dynasty going typically. There was a great royal wife and then there were several otherwise who suns could also be in line for the throne. I'm in the Haram had of been a hotbed of intrigue powder keg of different women <hes> especially if they board the king son's like Kusan gets to be on the throne next top priority was given to the firstborn son and as you might expect sibling rivalry was very real ever since she was a Grad student Susan's been fascinated by the Harem conspiracy papyrus and it really grabbed me of course. I think everybody loves a murder murder. Mystery Susan says scholars have known about this papyrus for a long time in the early eighteen hundreds of showed up at a market in Luxor a place that back then at least was like a garage sale for Egyptian antiquities it. Even cut into pieces probably so that it could be sold off in chunks for more money so it's hard to know how complete of a document it really is. That was obviously a lot of unanswered questions and there's a rather conspicuous omission. The women are not there where it includes the trial transcripts for the male perpetrators of the conspiracy and not the women the court records says next to nothing about them. Even though we know these women existed they were the kings property. The women of the Haram were Kings Chattel. We're never GONNA know their names or how many there were or what happened to them except for Tayo Taylor yeah the only woman mentioned by name in the papyrus and Susan thinks that Taylor wanted her son Pinta wear to become the next Phero she's accused of instigating the whole rebellion Egyptologists have speculated about who take hey a was for a long time one interpretation by an American archaeologist in the early nineteen hundred stuck but it didn't hold up for Susan one thing that caught my eye was that he mentioned that the assassination of the king was instigated by Tayo and he says this was a lesser wife of the king and that over the years had become entered repeated as though we're fact and I thought there's something funny about that because if she were a lesser wife of the king in the Harriman there were countless women in the Harine why follow her right because Tayo rally dozens of people to be her co-conspirators including several powerful figures the kings physician an army commander the royal magician to feel that she could raise a rebellion with many high officials of the king following her to put her son on the throne and <hes> and have the the country go along with this. I thought this is not a lesser wife. This is not some faceless member of the Kings Haram. Susan knew there was definitely more to the story. I wanted to investigate all aspects of this case Marshall All the evidence to try to come up with a full picture of what occurred but the more she looked into the document the more curious it God for example right at the beginning the murder Phero Ramsey's the third makes strange appearance. He's talking from beyond the grave. He's saying I'm already dead. I'm already among among the gray gods and he's almost washing his hands as to what will become these conspirators so wait. The dead kings ghost makes it into the judicial document. It's kind of Shakespearean right but that's spectral cameo has confused a few scholars for a long time so even wondered if Ramsey's the third had survived the assassination attempt but Susan is pretty convinced of her interpretation he died from this. There's no question but how did he die. The court proceeding doesn't identify a murder weapon. There's no play by play of the crime scene but we do have some physical evidence. The body of Ramsey's the third he was found stashed in a tomb with a bunch of other royalty when this the mummy me of the king was examined and he was examined in the sixties when they only had x ray machines they x rayed all the mummies the royal mummies the mummy of Ramsey's the third we knew he was assassinated in a conspiracy but these initial pathological examination with the next ray it showed no wounds to the body and you would think the quickest way to dispatch the king would be with you know you stab him. Yeah Ah but it seemed like a natural death there were other bodies to tucked into the same tomb with Ramsey's the third were a handful of princes princes some queens and priests all these nicely embalmed mummies and then this other guy. We've called it the screaming man because he looks like he died in agony. His head is back in his mouth is open and now the interesting thing about this screaming man was that he wasn't embalmed bombed archaeologist had never found a mummy like this before he was wrapped in a sheepskin which back in the day was kind of trashy thing to wear to the afterlife. This was one Janke mummy. The examination showed something else to showed that his hands and his feet had been tied meaning. He probably put up a fight on his way out. Maybe he was executed. It looks that way but why is he being buried with royalty. None of it added up so Susan kept digging she headed to a place along the now called Medina Habu. It's a royal compound that houses the Mortuary Temple of Ramsey's the third. This is the Kings Temple. It's all about him. He's The star here there are massive reliefs carved in the walls showing palace life religious ceremonies scenes of Ramsey's the third in battle in the first half of his reign. He was almost a hero king he made a name for himself early on owned by fighting off to foreign invasions I from the Libyans and then later a really big one from the people's of the see they were almost unstoppable and till they they faced <hes> Ramsey's the third in Egypt but the temple walls girls don't tell the whole story scholars say the fighting took a serious toll on Egypt's economy and then other problems started to pop up droughts famine in the first recorded labor strike so you get the feeling. Failing <hes> that he's losing support <hes> those conspired against him. They seem to be quite confident that the people would go along with the a rebellion but a rebellion isn't pictured on the temple walls either though the walls only portray the Faeroese greatest hits the V._i._p.'s in his life. There was a scene in the back wall of the Temple <hes> that showed the king sitting at one end of the wall cut sort of a religious just seen and there were two senior princes these should the senior sons obviously the sons in line for the succession but in another relief Susan realized the order of succession had changed the first prince is there but the second prince is missing and I thought Oh my God went unnoticed other scholars had noticed that in this relief a new person a different son is now second in line to the throne so why would Egyptian Chin royalty remove and replace such a high ranking Prince in the family lineup. I thought there he is this has to be pen to wear Pinta wear a son of Ramsey's the third and the son of Tayo he he was named in the papyrus as a chief conspirator along with Tia in her followers. Okay so in the first relief Pinta was the son who was second in line to the throne but in the second relief he's been replaced. I think we're on from ground and saying that since it was Tayo and her son was involved that that they really honestly felt that the sun pent to wear should have been the next in line for the throne. That's that's why they plotted to overthrow the Pharaoh and if Tassone was already that close to the top then tail wasn't simply a lesser wife she was queen. This was a queen but Susan says the writers of the papyrus downplayed details rank in the aim to keep the skeletons of this family drama hidden in the closet. This was disgraceful. I didn't want this blackening the family so this is what we know Ramsey's the third was murdered and if the aim of the conspiracy was to play on the throne that was sorted and that's where Susan left the story when she published her book in two thousand two but there's new evidence. Maybe you've heard the phrase deadman till details but whoever came up with that clearly hasn't met Dr Sahar Salim spend maybe more time with the Mommy's than with my family but just don't tell them so so hard a paleo radiologist in Cairo she x rays and C._A._T.. Scans fragile ancient artifacts. I love my <hes>. My mommy patients the mummy patient his <hes> sometimes is better than the the human human because <hes> they don't move think of her as a mummy coroner minus the scalpel so hard and her team have scanned loss of royal mummies and in two thousand nine Ramsey's the third was on her table. There's a lot serenity in the face of illnesses the third there was nothing funny or peculiar so just or average well-kept mummy. The face is with strong features. Although the Imbaba's they had the repping so tight that they flattened the nose of the king so horses there must have been miles of winning around the Faeroese body and so so we'll glued. She says that he was hard to unwrap anyone who tried probably got frustrated and gave up so harden unwrap him either instead. She slid him into a C._A._T.. Scanner the machine took thousands and thousands of of images and they just keep rolling the skins for hours and hours and look at each one of them. You you just get more and more acquainted with the mummy. The images were then transformed transformed into three dimensional composites so Sahara could see the Phero from all angles outside and inside and when I just put them together I just stood up of my mom my disk and I started dancing because I was very heavy imagine and can see what is inside the mummy and what the embalmers placed inside the abdomen of Ramsey's the third or four figurines of the sons suggestion God horus these were figures you might find painted on earns in ancient Egyptian. Tombs looks like a person another jackal baboon a hawk. This is like one of the most joyful moments in this hard study that I do to get to know something and to see it for the first time and there was a lot to see the body was filled with treasures the embalmers even try to put specific kind of Aminat the horse which has the characteristic of giving the healing power amulets replaced in his neck and around his feet that means that the this areas they need attention. They need to be healed for the body to be used in the drive after a sound s complete as possible so harsh is this is the idea behind mummification. It's to preserve the buddy eighty in order to be to be there for the life. After this is the exact buddy they are going to us but this mummy was wrapped include unusually tight so horses that's because the embalmers wanted to hide his injuries and. They remained hidden for a very long time. Remember those X. Rays done in the nineteen sixties the ones that made it look like Ramsey's the third died of natural death well Sahar scans should something different the there there. Was this a wide deep cut wound and the front of the lower neck. It's so deep that it reached the boone. This is sort of a fatal wounds that nobody nobody could escape. It's fate to really really bloody. Then there was something else and there is another one in the left foot the big to was totally chopped off and there was no evidence of healing. This is something that happened just prior to death to patch the Pharaoh up for the afterlife. The royal embalmers made a prosthetic toe they placed healing ambulance Oliver's body and they used lots of clue the murder of Ramsey's the third was coming into focus yeah. I'm bringing the crime scene back to life. We we got to know the plot with different assailants pending in different positions using different weapons so this is a really bloody crime scene that if you imagine happening in the palace witnesses yet a lot of chaos a lot of chaos and there was more to discover to a still someone else to be examined remember the other mummy who was found in the same tomb as Ramsey's the third the screaming mummy this money smelled smelled really bad he was Hastily Preserved Not cleaned oiled and wrapped no he was sprinkled with salt wrapped in a sheepskin stuffed into a crudely-made wooden box and he's still had his brain in guts which was really strange. embalmers always took those out but now with this guy. No one knew for sure who he was so Sahar check the D._N._A.. And she confirmed that the screaming mummy was related to Ramseys the third there is ninety nine percent that relationship is a father and son Shahar thing she knows who it is into where done too or was mentioned in papyrus that but <hes> he was forced to kill himself we've found that there were marks of maybe ropes at the neck it could be. They just asked or just forced him to to hang himself. It could be like that so we have Pinta where we have Ramsey's third but we're Taylor. I don't think we have her mummy. Archaeologists Susan Redford has a theory ancient Egyptian sometimes used fire as a form of punishment. They talked about <music> out when they burn people alive that then they're they've gone to dust I also they won't go into the afterlife and then that their ashes are strong on the road for donkeys to walk over. This is just about the worst fate imaginable for an ancient Egyptian total obliteration. Nobody know afterlife. That's the end of you. That's it that said well. That's it until until thousands of years later when some dog archaeologists decide that's not it. I think that as an Egyptian this is something that I have to do. I honor the bodies I examined I look at them them as my great ancestors the great kings that they deserve all the respect and the honor and I hope by doing what I'm doing is I'm bringing kingpin back to life and that is how their stories live on to learn more about the Harem conspiracy check out the links are Shonno's right there on your podcast APP and be sure to subscribe to overheard National Angiographic Overheard National Geographic is produced by Robin Miniature. Emily Oxen Show Water Kristen Clark Brian Ryan Gutierrez and Jacob Pinter our editors Casey minor and Ibi Caputo Lonsdale soup composed our theme music and engineers are episodes with additional help from jail chef ski and Ruth Michelson Special. Thanks to the Pineapple Street media and P._S._U. Penn State. This podcast is a production of national geographic partners. Susan Goldberg is our editorial director. I'm your host Peter. Gwen thanks for listening and see all next tweet I there I'm fred. He burnt the archaeologist in residence at the National Geographic Society. If you'd like to learn about the Harem conspiracy an ancient Egyptian scandal and explore the judicial virus of Turin for yourself you can the papyrus scroll is part of our Queens of Egypt exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D._C.. which has been extended by popular demand until September fifteen? Two Thousand Nineteen hope to see you there. Hey we want to tell you about start here. It's an award-winning Daily News podcast more partners A._B._C. News. It features all the top stories the day in just twenty minutes from the latest out of Washington to the foreign story.