The Real Story of Mysterious Queen Nefertiti
Queen Nefertiti was once the most beautiful and powerful woman in Egypt, renowned throughout the ancient world. But she vanished without a trace, lost to the sands of Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Only in the last century did archaeologists discover that this legendary queen really lived at all. Since then, though, only fragments of her story have emerged. Host, an explorer and survival expert, is determined to put the pieces together and uncover the true story of Queen Nefertiti. Who was this mysterious woman? Why did she disappear? And can her mummy still be found today? To find out, he’ll follow a trail of clues into Egypt’s most sacred and secret places, exploring dark tombs and coming face-to-face with the truth of at least one ancient mummy’s identity.
Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC — ca. 1330 BC) was the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshiped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc. With her husband, they reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history
Nefertiti had many titles including Hereditary Princess (iryt-p`t); Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt); Lady of Grace (nbt-im3t), Sweet of Love (bnrt-mrwt); Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy); Main King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-niswt-‘3t meryt.f); Great King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-niswt-wrt meryt.f), Lady of all Women (hnwt-hmwt-nbwt); and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w-mhw).
She was made famous by her bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum, shown to the right. The bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. It was attributed to the sculptor Thutmose, and it was found in his workshop. The bust is notable for exemplifying the understanding Ancient Egyptians had regarding realistic facial proportions. Some scholars believe that Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferuaten after her husband’s death and before the accession of Tutankhamun, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.
There are many theories regarding her death and burial but, to date, the mummy of this famous queen, her parents or her children has not been found or formally identified. In 1898, archeologist Victor Loret found two female mummies inside the tomb of Amenhotep II in KV35 in the Valley of the Kings. These two mummies, named ‘The Elder Lady’ and ‘The Younger Lady’, were likely candidates of her remains.
The KMT suggested in 2001 that the Elder Lady may be Nefertiti’s body. It was argued that the evidence suggests that the mummy is around her mid-thirties or early forties, Nefertiti’s guessed age of death. More evidence to support this identification was that the mummy’s teeth look like that of a 29-38 year old, Nefertiti’s most likely age of death. Also, unfinished busts of Nefertiti appear to resemble the mummy’s face, though other suggestions included Ankhesenamun.
Due to recent age tests on the mummy’s teeth, it eventually became apparent that the ‘Elder Lady’ is in fact Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaten and that the DNA of the mummy is a close, if not direct, match to the lock of hair found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. The lock of hair was found in a coffinette bearing an inscription naming Queen Tiye. Results have discovered that she was the daughter of Yuya and Thuya, who were the parents of Queen Tiye, thus ruling her out as Nefertiti.