With its long neck, large almond-shaped eyes and high cheekbones, Nefertiti's extant bust is considered the epitome of feminine beauty. Now archaeologists seem to have come close to identifying the queen's mummy, which will finally give us the opportunity to show the world her real face and see if it matches the sculpted image. Archaeologist Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former Minister of Antiquities, is excavating in the Valley of the Kings in present-day Luxor and claims to have discovered two mysterious, as yet unnamed, mummies.
He believes one of them is Nefertiti, while the other is her third daughter Anhesenamon, the former wife of Tutankhamun. "In October we will be able to announce the exact identity of the objects found," Hawass told Newsweek. "I'm sure we will be able to identify which of the mummies is Nefertiti."
As it became known, the mummies were found in tombs numbered KV21 and KV35. According to the scientist, DNA analysis and computer tomography of the head will help to determine their identity. This, according to Hawass, "will give the most accurate image of the famous queen." "We have hardly found 30 percent of what is hidden underground. Modern Egypt was built on the site of ancient Egypt. And so the heritage that remains hidden from view is enormous," the archaeologist added.
Nefertiti ruled during the 18th dynasty, her life years date from 1370 to 1330 B.C., when Egypt was a strong and prosperous state. However, her death coincided with a period of social instability that led to oblivion. Nefertiti ruled with her husband, Amenhotep IV. He carried out a number of major reforms, in particular, converting the country from polytheism to the monotheistic cult of the solar disk, representing the god Aton. Amenhotep changed his name to Ehnaton and built a new capital, Akhetaton, away from Thebes.
However, the pharaoh was unpopular with the people, and soon after his death Tutankhamun restored the pantheon of gods and destroyed the monuments associated with his predecessor. Nefertiti died in 1331 BC. For a long time it was thought that she was buried next to her husband in the royal tomb of Akhetaton. But excavations in modern Amarna, which emerged on the site of the ancient Egyptian city, have yielded no results, and the scientists returned to the idea that Ehnaton's wife still found eternal rest in the Valley of the Kings. In addition, in recent years, Egyptologists have speculated that her remains may be in a secret room, which can be entered from Tutankhamun's tomb. The answer to this question was given in 2018 during a radar probe of the tomb, which showed that it had no branches. It was also rumored that one of the mummies discovered by Giovanni Belzoni in 1817 during excavations at Luxor was Nefertiti. A century later, DNA testing also failed to yield a positive result.
The interest in Nefertiti revived in 1912, when German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt discovered a beautiful bust of the queen by the sculptor Thutmose at the ruins of Akhetaton. According to the scientist, the stone face struck him then with its "liveliness".
Probably, such effect the sculptural image of Nefertiti has due to the correspondence of the "golden section" - the system of parameters, which the ancients derived on the basis of the perfect proportions of the human body. Moreover, the name of Nefertiti can be translated as "the beauty walking", which also played a role in the emergence of the myth of the extraordinary beauty of the Egyptian queen.
The hieroglyphic tablet found next to the bust described her as "the chief woman of all noble men, great in the palace, with a perfect appearance." Some Egyptologists believe that Nefertiti briefly ruled the country under the name Nefernefruaton. She did so alone after the death of her husband, until the throne was taken by Pharaoh Tutankhamun.