Smenkhkare was the King of Egypt during the late 18th century for a very short time. However, he most likely co-reigned alongside his predecessor Akhenaton. The King only appeared near the end of Akhenaton’s reign.
The king’s identity and origin are controversial questions that resulted in inconclusive theories. Some speculate that Smenkhkare was actually the wife of Akhenaton, named Nefertiti. Those who believe in this theory speculate that Akhenaton simply wanted to give his wife kingly status through "Smenkhkare". Other scholars believe that the young pharaoh was actually Tutankhamen’s brother, based on evidence found within the tomb. To complicate the situation further, in the tomb of Akhenaton, Smenkhkare is presented alongside Meritaton, the eldest daughter of Akhenaton.
Archaeologist Edward Ayrton discovered a mysterious tomb in the Valley of Kings, Egypt during 1907 called KV55. Inside the tomb was a single body, as well as various artifacts. While the identity of the KV55 mummy is still in question, some evidence suggests that the body of the mummy belongs to King Smenkhkare.
A great deal of studies has been conducted on the KV55 mummy. A cranial and serological analyses have lead scientists to conclude that the mummy was closely related to the famous King of Egypt, Tutankhamen. Genetic testing done in 2010 concluded that the mummy was not actually Smenkhkare, but belongs to Akhenaton. However, many people dispute this study and still hold the mummy of KV55 to be the body of Smenkhkare based on conflicting evidence.
The phenomenon of KV55 is widely considered one of the most spectacular mysteries of Egyptology, and one that has divided the community with different theories. Very little information exists on Smenkhkare himself.
Also, the contents found in the tomb (KV55) are rather interesting. Wooden panels from a shrine that protected the sarcophagus of Queen Tiye were found in KV55. Also, found within the tomb were small clay sealing with the name of Tiye’s husband and king Tutankhamun. Furthermore, they found four mud bricks within KV55 that had the name “Akhenaten” inscribed. Other artifacts found include Glass, Jars, vessels of stone, and pottery.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (2010, March 25). Smenkhkare. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Smenkhkare
Ancient Egypt online. (2016). Smenkhare. Retrieved from http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/smenkhare.html
Hawass, Z. (n.d.). Mystery of the Mummy from KV55. Retrieved from http://www.guardians.net/hawass/articles/Mystery%20of%20the%20Mummy%20from%20KV55.htm
Cyberlinks. (n.d.). Smenkhkare. Retrieved from http://www.crystalinks.com/Smenkhkare.html