Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt
Who Was Who
Amarna Period chronology
The City of Akhetaten
Amarna in Museums
The Talatat Wall
Tomb KV 55
The Royal Tomb
Famed throughout the ancient world for her outstanding
beauty, Akhenaten's queen Nefertiti remains the one
of the most well known of the queens of Egypt.
The famous statue of Nefertiti, found in a sculptors workshop
in Akhetaten, is one of the most immediately recognisable icons
from this period of history. It has escaped the excesses of the
Amarna artistic style, and survived the wholesale destruction
of Akhenaten's monuments after his death.
Little is known about the origins of Nefertiti but it seems unlikely
that she was of royal blood. Her father was possibly a high official
of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten called Ay, who went on to become
Pharaoh after Tutankhamun.
Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters, although the succession
after his death is uncertain as there is no record of a male
heir. It is possible that Akhenaten's successors Smenkhkare
and Tutankhaten were his children by
another royal wife called Kiya who became his principle queen
for a short while after year 12 of his reign.
Nefertiti seems to have taken a hitherto unprecedented level of importance in the Amarna period art. As in the example shown above from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford she is often shown making offerings to the Aten, and appears to be almost the Pharaohs equal in terms of status.
As with Akhenaten there is no trace of Nefertiti's mummy. Some
jewelry bearing her cartouche was found outside the royal tomb
at Akhetaten but there is no real evidence that she was buried
there. From surviving record it seems she either fell from favor
or died at around year 12 of Akhenaten's reign. In this case
her burial may have been elsewhere.
It is interesting to consider that the busts on this page were
found in a sculptors workshop at Akhetaten. It seems that when
the city was abandoned they were left behind because such was
the anti Atenist feelings that no one wanted them.
Akhet © 1997 - 2008 Iain Hawkins