Senenmut: Was the Man Behind the Door a Power Behind the Throne
According to Egyptologist Peter Dorman, “Senenmut may justifiably be described as one of the most eminent and influential persons of the Eighteenth Dynasty.” Living during the reign of Thutmosis III and Hatshepsut, he achieved high rank with titles including Tutor of the King’s Daughter (that is Hatshepsut’s daughter, Neferure), Overseer of all the Works of the King, and High Steward of Amun. His duties in the administration of the religious estate included being Overseer of the Double Granary, the Fields, the Garden, and Cows of Amun. Both monarchs, but especially Hatshepsut, showered him with gifts of statuary and other signs of their esteem. We will look more closely at the facts that are known about his life and the questions surrounding his death. Many of his statues and structures show deliberate defacement. Was he a casualty of the proscription against Hatshepsut or did she herself decide to punish his presumptions? Many sensational theories about Senenmut have been promulgated over the years, and these continue to appear in books and the spiel of tour guides. However, a comprehensive examination of newer as well as well-known evidence shows many of the suggestions can be discounted. What remains is still a remarkable story.
Dr. Bonnie Sampsell was a professor of genetics. She has spent the last twenty years traveling to Egypt and studying Egyptology. She is the author of a book, The Geology of Egypt: a traveler’s handbook as well as numerous articles in The Ostracon. She has also been published in Kmt and Al Ahram Newspaper. She serves as Guest Curator of the Egyptian Collection at the Wayne County Historical Museum in her hometown of Richmond, Indiana.