Nefertiti: The Fascinating Queen (Sample Par. Draft)
Nefertiti, the ancient Egyptian queen whose name is often translated as something similar to "a beautiful woman has [arrived]," is one of the most fascinating women in all of Egyptian history. She is known both for her beauty and for her power, and many people are still searching for her "lost mummy.” Though her early life is disputed, Egyptologists are certain that she ruled in during Egypt's 18th Dynasty (14th century, BCE) alongside her husband, the pharaoh Akhenaton (Biography, last 3). The two made many sweeping changes to Egyptian society, including the establishment of monotheism: Everyone was made to worship the" Aten," a deity represented by a solar disc and understood to be the sun itself. The royal couple also moved the capital from its traditional location in Thebes to the planned, desert city of Armana (Brier, last 2). Nefertiti during this time is depicted in the art as ruling alongside her husband--even racing chariots with him! These radical changes must have upset a great deal of the "old guard," who greatly valued stability (Nef Res, last 2).
Nefertiti's very unusual life has garnered the attention of many Egyptologists. What has added to the sense of mystery surrounding the legendary queen is that she eventually disappeared from the historical records, and her mummy has never been identified. About thirteen years ago, Egyptologist Joanne Fletcher made a compelling case that an unidentified mummy in The Valley of the Kings, a mummy that had been moved to protect it from ancient tomb robbers, was actually Nefertiti. Fletcher even put out a documentary
with the help of the Discovery Channel's "Discovery Quest" and a book, going so far as to strongly imply that Nefertiti ruled as pharaoh after her husband's death (Nef Res, last 3). Fletcher's claims were controversial, and were later disputed by several Egyptologists, including Dr. Zahi Hawass, who was at the time Egypt's "Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs," making him Egypt's leading native archaeologist. Hawass put out his own documentary, which suggests that the disputed Mummy, "Lady X," was not the correct age to be a likely candidate for identification as Nefertiti, (Hawass, Nef. Dynasty, last 2). A very new theory suggests that Nefertiti's intact tomb may be in a sealed, recently discovered chamber in the tomb of her stepson, the legendary King Tut. The discovery and theory have reignited the exciting quest for her mummy: Radar tests are currently underway to help scientists get a better idea of the theory’s validity (Ap, Last 2). Whatever these latest archaeological investigations yield, Nefertiti will likely remain a very compelling figure to anyone interested in ancient Egypt or powerful women in history.
Ap, Tiffany and Ian Lee. "King Tut's Tomb: '90%' Chance of Hidden Chambers." CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
Brier, Bob. The History of Ancient Egypt [Course Outline Book]. Chantilly, Virginia: The Teaching Company. 1999.
Nefertiti and The Lost Dynasty. Perf. Zahi Hawass. National Geographic Channel, 2007. DVD.
Nefertiti Resurrected. Perf. Joann Fletcher. Discovery Channel, 2003. DVD.
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