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In addition, the facial features, dress and posture of the royal couple are remarkably similar. They both wear headgear of similar shapes, with Nefertiti wearing her typical flat topped crown and Akhenaten wearing what appears to be his blue crown the stela is damaged. Finally, the Aten holds two ankh symbols to the noses of the king and the queen, suggesting that even in the eyes of the Aten, Akhenaten and Nefertiti were analogous. All of these parallels in depictions of the king and queen seem to reflect their complementary nature.

As stated in the Great Hymn , the king was intended to function as the intermediary for the Aten on earth, which suggests Nefertiti was his female equivalent in this role. This idea is bolstered by the fact this stela was a shrine in a private house, implying that citizens of Amarna were meant to worship the entire royal family and not just the king. However, consensus now holds that Neferneferuaten was not the same person as Smenkhkare and that she actually was a female pharaoh based on the feminine endings on some of her epithets and the feminine spelling of her prenomen.

Early on, scholars suspected Nefertiti and Neferneferuaten were the same person because Nefertiti used the name Neferneferuaten when she was queen. However, even if Nefertiti did not reign as a king, she undoubtedly remains one of ancient Egypt's most famous queens.

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Arnold, Dorothea The royal women of Amarna: images of beauty from ancient Egypt. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cooney, Kara Washington D. Tell Edfu. Schools of the Trade. It has also been proposed that Nefertiti was Akhenaten's full sister, though this is contradicted by her titles which do not include those usually used by the daughters of a Pharaoh. Nefertiti's scenes in the tombs of the nobles in Amarna mention the queen's sister who is named Mutbenret previously read as Mutnodjemet.

The exact dates when Nefertiti married Akhenaten and became the king's great royal wife of Egypt are uncertain. Their six known daughters and estimated years of birth were: [14] [12].


Nefertiti first appears in scenes in Thebes. In the damaged tomb TT of the royal butler Parennefer , the new king Amenhotep IV is accompanied by a royal woman, and this lady is thought to be an early depiction of Nefertiti.

The king and queen are shown worshiping the Aten. In the tomb of the vizier Ramose , Nefertiti is shown standing behind Amenhotep IV in the Window of Appearance during the reward ceremony for the vizier.

Thutmose, Bust of Nefertiti

One of the structures, the Mansion of the Benben hwt-ben-ben , was dedicated to Nefertiti. She is depicted with her daughter Meritaten and in some scenes the princess Meketaten participates as well. In scenes found on the talatat , Nefertiti appears almost twice as often as her husband. She is shown appearing behind her husband the Pharaoh in offering scenes in the role of the queen supporting her husband, but she is also depicted in scenes that would have normally been the prerogative of the king.

She is shown smiting the enemy, and captive enemies decorate her throne. In the fourth year of his reign, Amenhotep IV decided to move the capital to Akhetaten modern Amarna. In his fifth year, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten , and Nefertiti was henceforth known as Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti. The name change was a sign of the ever-increasing importance of the cult of the Aten.

Face of Egyptian queen Nefertiti remade in 3D colour sparks ‘whitewash’ race row

It changed Egypt's religion from a polytheistic religion to a religion which may have been better described as a monolatry the depiction of a single god as an object for worship or henotheism one god, who is not the only god. The boundary stelae of years 4 and 5 mark the boundaries of the new city and suggest that the move to the new city of Akhetaten occurred around that time. The new city contained several large open-air temples dedicated to the Aten. Nefertiti and her family would have resided in the Great Royal Palace in the centre of the city and possibly at the Northern Palace as well. Nefertiti and the rest of the royal family feature prominently in the scenes at the palaces and in the tombs of the nobles.

Nefertiti's steward during this time was an official named Meryre II. He would have been in charge of running her household. The people of Kharu the north and Kush the south are shown bringing gifts of gold and precious items to Akhenaten and Nefertiti. In the tomb of Meryre II , Nefertiti's steward, the royal couple is shown seated in a kiosk with their six daughters in attendance. Two representations of Nefertiti that were excavated by Flinders Petrie appear to show Nefertiti in the middle to later part of Akhenaten's reign 'after the exaggerated style of the early years had relaxed somewhat'.

Another is a small inlay head Petrie Museum Number UC modeled from reddish-brown quartzite that was clearly intended to fit into a larger composition. Meketaten may have died in year 13 or Nefertiti, Akhenaten, and three princesses are shown mourning her. It dates to year 16 of the king's reign and is also the last dated inscription naming the king. Many scholars believe Nefertiti had a role elevated from that of Great Royal Wife , and was promoted to co-regent by her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten before his death.

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It is also possible that, in a similar fashion to Hatshepsut, Nefertiti disguised herself as a male and assumed the male alter-ego of Smenkhkare ; in this instance she could have elevated her daughter Meritaten to the role of Great Royal Wife. If Nefertiti did rule Egypt as Pharaoh, it has been theorized that she would have attempted damage control and may have re-instated the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Amun priests, and had Tutankhamun raised in with the traditional gods.

Archaeologist and Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass theorized that Nefertiti returned to Thebes from Amarna to rule as Pharaoh, based on ushabti and other feminine evidence of a female Pharaoh found in Tutankhamun's tomb , as well as evidence of Nefertiti smiting Egypt's enemies which was a duty reserved to kings. Pre Egyptological theories thought that Nefertiti vanished from the historical record around Year 12 of Akhenaten's reign, with no word of her thereafter.

Explanations included a sudden death, by a plague that was sweeping through the city, or some other natural death. This theory was based on the discovery of several ushabti fragments inscribed for Nefertiti now located in the Louvre and Brooklyn Museums. A previous theory, that she fell into disgrace, was discredited when deliberate erasures of monuments belonging to a queen of Akhenaten were shown to refer to Kiya instead. During Akhenaten's reign and perhaps after , Nefertiti enjoyed unprecedented power.

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By the twelfth year of his reign, there is evidence she may have been elevated to the status of co-regent: [25] equal in status to the pharaoh — as may be depicted on the Coregency Stela. It is possible Nefertiti is the ruler named Neferneferuaten. Some theories believe that Nefertiti was still alive and held influence on the younger royals. If this is the case, that influence and presumably Nefertiti's own life would have ended by year 3 of Tutankhaten's reign BC. In that year, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun. This is evidence of his return to the official worship of Amun , and abandonment of Amarna to return the capital to Thebes.

In , the discovery of an inscription dated to Year 16, month 3 of Akhet , day 15 of the reign of Akhenaten was announced. This inscription offers incontrovertible evidence that both Akhenaten and Nefertiti were still alive in the 16th year of his [Akhenaten's] reign and, more importantly, that they were still holding the same positions as at the start of their reign. This makes it necessary to rethink the final years of the Amarna Period.

This means that Nefertiti was alive in the second to last year of Akhenaten's reign, this pharaoh's highest attested regnal year was his Year 17 and demonstrates that Akhenaten still ruled alone, with his wife by his side. Therefore, the rule of the female Amarna pharaoh known as Neferneferuaten must be placed between the death of Akhenaten and the accession of Tutankhamun.

This female pharaoh used the epithet 'Effective for her husband' in one of her cartouches, [32] which means she was either Nefertiti or her daughter Meritaten who was married to king Smenkhkare. Nefertiti's burial was intended to be made within the Royal Tomb as laid out in the Boundary Stelae.

One shabti is known to have been made for her.

Nefertiti’s Disappearance

In , English archaeologist Nicholas Reeves announced that he had discovered evidence in high resolution scans of Tutankhamun's tomb "indications of two previously unknown doorways, one set within a larger partition wall and both seemingly untouched since antiquity To the north [there] appears to be signaled a continuation of tomb KV62 , and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment — that of Nefertiti herself. A third radar scan has eliminated the possibility that there are any hidden chambers. These two mummies, known as the ' The Elder Lady ' and ' The Younger Lady ', were identified as likely candidates of her remains.

More evidence to support this identification was that the mummy's teeth look like that of a to year-old, Nefertiti's most likely age of death.

The enduring enigma of Nefertiti | The Spectator

Also, unfinished busts of Nefertiti appear to resemble the mummy's face, though other suggestions included Ankhesenamun. However, it eventually became apparent that the 'Elder Lady' is in fact Queen Tiye , mother of Akhenaten. A lock of hair found in a coffinette bearing an inscription naming Queen Tiye proved a near perfect match to the hair of the 'ELder Lady'. On June 9, , archaeologist Joann Fletcher , a specialist in ancient hair from the University of York in England, announced that Nefertiti's mummy may have been the Younger Lady.