Saturday, 19 June 2021

Thames Valley Ancient Egypt Society

DR AIDAN DODSON, from Bristol University, introduced a packed audience at the March meeting to “The Mysteries of Nefertiti” — one of the best known and most beautiful faces of the ancient world and an immediately recognisable iconic image from pharaonic Egypt.

Her name means “The beautiful one has come”.

Dr Dodson acknowledged that facts about her life are few and what is confirmed is rather a “moving feast”.

She was definitely married to Akh-en-aten, the heretic king of the 18th dynasty, and she definitely gave birth to six daughters.

She probably married Akh-en-aten after he became king but rapidly achieved a prominence unusual in royal wives — being shown as equal to pharaoh with special attributes or actions usually reserved for the king himself or favoured goddesses.

Dr Dodson went through the evidence which could identify her parentage and a connection to the royal dynasty and whether the boy king Tut-ankh-amun was her son.

This could be borne out by the DNA testing carried out on various mummies in 2010, which suggested that the naked and unnamed mummy with a battered face called “The Younger Lady”, found in tomb KV35 in the Valley of the Kings, could be Nefertiti herself.

A facial reconstruction from the head of this mummy was uncannily like the famous Berlin statue head.

For a long time it was thought that she was disgraced during Akh-en-aten’s reign and retired from royal life or died but recent new evidence indicates she may have outlived her husband, becoming one of the very few female pharaohs.

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