In 2005 I was invited by the Egypt Center to present my findings at a conference: Sex and Gender in Ancient Egypt presented by The Egypt Centre and the University of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History 19th-20th December 2005. I had no idea it would turn out to be such a controversial and newsworthy event.

Below are links to the major news stories which were generated by the debate in Swansea.

A Mystery, Locked in Timeless Embrace
New York Times, United States - Dec 19, 2005
Late Edition - Final, Section F, Page 1, Column 1.

The above article is now in the for pay archive of the NYT. But the same article is still online published by the International Herald Tribune
Egyptian puzzle of a silent embrace
- Dec 21, 2005

The Sunday Times, Britain
published their own account ( with an awful headline )
Mwah ... is this the first recorded gay kiss?

Times Online, UK - Dec 31, 2005

Other papers picked up on the NYT and the London Times articles and misstated some information. If one "googles" Niankhkhnum a list of all article will appear.

And some had their own take on it all:

The New Zealand Herald compared Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep to the characters in Brokeback Mountain! 07.01.06
Male-to-male kissing as old as the pyramids
"As the gay-cowboy film Brokeback Mountain causes indignant protests among old Wyoming ranch-hands, it emerges that such controversies are almost as old as art itself."

For the record:
Ahmed Moussa, not Mounir Basta, discovered the tomb. Basta was the Inspector of Antiquities who early on visited the newly discovered tomb and wrote about that visit.
Nadine Cherpion did not introduce the idea that they were "gay". She wrote about how husbands and wives were portrayed in the Old Kingdom and it is that article I used as evidence that the portrayals of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were most like the conjugal sentiment of the 5th Dynasty.
See my references and bibliography

Greg Reeder



Publications, Lectures, New Research and News About The Tomb

The American Research Center in Egypt / Northern California Chapter   and the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley invited me to speak about my paper: " Same-Sex Desire, Conjugal Constructs and the Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep", Sunday, February 25th, 2001 room 2040 Valley Life Science Building U.C. Berkeley Campus.

I published my paper "Same-sex desire, conjugal constructs, and the tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep" in the journal World Archaeology Volume 32 Number 2, Oct 2000  Editor Thomas A. Dowson .

The French scientific journal La Recherche took note of this in their December issue on page 10, including my photo of the two manicurists from their tomb.

The Ancient Egyptian Studies Association (AESA) invited me up to Portland to speak on October 1, 2000 at Portland State University.

The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada invited me back to speak. On February 25th, 2000 at 7 PM I presented my lecture titled "Outing The Ancients: Egyptologies of Same-Sex Desire." The presentation was filmed by Canadian Learning Television for a future broadcast. At the same time Toronto's QueerTelevision  filmed it and an interview with me. That interview is now online in QuikTime format at PlanetOut in their archives. Click here on the archives and scroll down under "Society/Culture" to "Queens of the Nile. A clearly-queer history of ancient Egypt (4:46 mins.)Watch in Quicktime (7.1 mb)." Or go directly to the Real Video or watch in Quick Time (7 MG's).

Also in Toronto at the ROM on February 26th, 2000, I spoke to the Symposium of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA)   all about the tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep.


In April 1997 I presented a paper before the annual meeting of The American Research Center In Egypt held that year in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The paper was titled "The Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep: New Perspectives." In it I compared how husband and wife were portrayed in tombs of the 4th, 5th and 6th Dynasties to how Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep were paired in their tomb. The iconographic evidence indicating that the two manicurists had a very intimate and special relationship with each other that compared most favorably with that of mixed gendered couples. My presentation was well received .

I was also invited to make a presentation to the annual Symposium of The Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada on November 8, 1997. I received an enthusiastic response to my presentation: "Same- Sex Desire, Conjugal Constructs and The Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep."


The international bad boy magazine of architectural interiors NEST (Spring 2000) featured a story about the Tomb of the Manicurists with my photographs. See  for ordering information.


On July 18, 1998 I presented my most recent findings to a meeting of the North Texas Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt ( ARCE/NT) in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News published an article about my presentation. Read the entire story HERE.





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