Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Khaemwaset, one of the sons of Ramesses the Great, is considered to be the first Egyptologist. He lived on in legend and folk tales hundreds of years after his death as an incredibly powerful Egyptian sorcerer. Today Khamwaset’s shabtis (magial funerary figurines) are found in museums around the world. Unfortunately, the shabtis of Khaemwaset have often been faked, leading some scholars to question the authenticity of all such objects that are not documented in dig records. However, one cannot simply discount all of Khaemwaset’s shabtis because there are numerous forgeries. Multiple methods are needed evaluate the authenticity of these often-faked objects. In this study, two complementary approaches; stylistic examination and X-ray Florescence (XRF) are used to evaluate a number of unprovenanced shabtis. These different approaches make it possible to group the shabtis by similarities in appearance, surface elemental composition, and the absorption of radiation post-production. Comparisons amongst these groups provide a clearer picture of their authenticity.