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Nefertiti of Amarna

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3,400-year-old bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti

3,400-year-old bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

On August 17, 2003, the Discovery Channel premiered a report on the latest theory about what happened to the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti was the first wife of Amenhotep IV, best known by the name he chose for himself, Akhenaten. Akhenaten is famous for being the heretic head of the Amarna cult, who ruled as Pharaoh during the 18th dynasty of New Kingdom Egypt between 1379 and 1362 BC. Akhenaten was a heretic because he worshipped one god, Aten, not lots and lots, which is what the rest of the Egyptian world did before and after his rule. One of Akhenaten’s sons was Tutankhamun, the boy king who was buried in the only tomb we know about that was never found by looters.

It’s not hard to see why the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti continues to stimulate imaginations today. During Akhenaten’s reign, a heretical form of art blossomed: in particular, human images became realistic. Nefertiti’s lovely sculptured face was commemorated by busts and drawings in Amarna’s realistic style, the most famous of which is in the Museum of Berlin.

Nefertiti and Joann Fletcher

The Discovery Channel broadcast discusses Egyptologist Joann Fletcher’s investigations, suggesting that one of the mummies found in tomb KV-35 might be Nefertiti. KV-35 is a tomb in the Valley of the Kings excavated in the late 19th century by Victor Loret. It was built in the 19th dynasty for Amenhotep II, and was used as a place to cache mummies during the 21st dynasty. Fletcher and her crew were given permission by the Egyptian government to open and visit the room in KV-35 where the three mummies are still interred.

More Information on Egypt and Nefertiti

See the About.com Guide to Ancient Egypt for further info on the ancient Egyptian civilizations.

Is the mummy from KV-35 really the lovely Nefertiti? The Discovery Channel first aired the findings on Nefertiti on Sunday August 17th; and will no doubt be showing it again.

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