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Amarna, Before and After


Wistman

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1 hour ago, Wepwawet said:

I think it will always be the case that while the metrics tell a scientific story, being able to look at the remains first hand, and from all angles, will give a better picture, even if the science says X is not related to Y. It's also a matter of how each of us sees them, for instance, going by those still with a recognizable face, Amunhotep II seems to be the odd one out in the Thutmosid line, looking more, in general terms, like Seti I, or maybe Yuya, though not in profile as Yuya has a serious hooter.

And, there is this about the centenary celebrations, which still have to the end of Sunday to go. https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/120358/Egypt-organizes-glamorous-ceremony-celebrating-the-centenary-of-discovering-Tutankhamun’s

I'll quote this from the article, which contradicts what Hawass said about two months ago.

This is a mess, not least with the magic roundabout of various press agencies quoting each other and nothing directly from the horses mouth.

And this https://newsrnd.com/life/2022-11-04-the-theory-that-tutankhamun-s-tomb-hides-secret-chambers-becomes-the-stuff-of-a-novel.rkI7IsGBj.html

From which I quote:

 

Excuse me for saying so but the celebratory convention has been marred by Hawass's premature, diva announcements in Sept. and his inability to realize them on the centenary date.  I wonder if Discovery Channel is as perplexed as we are. 

Ah, well.

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I wonder if there is an issue here of needing to get DNA from the teeth of KV21B, but her mouth is closed, and saying "open wide" won't help.

However, as I mentioned before, even if we do have a mess with this, I don't see that they would have had problems testing the boy, and there will still be the relationship between him, Tutankhamun, KV55 and the YL to be dealt with.

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6 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

I wonder if there is an issue here of needing to get DNA from the teeth of KV21B, but her mouth is closed, and saying "open wide" won't help.

However, as I mentioned before, even if we do have a mess with this, I don't see that they would have had problems testing the boy, and there will still be the relationship between him, Tutankhamun, KV55 and the YL to be dealt with.

Discovery Channel is featuring a  new documentary right now, first shown on Oct 19: King Tut: Century of Secrets, pretty good, more nuanced and in depth than usual, features Zahi's pontificating, but also has Dodson, etc. in spots.  This feature docu is followed by Tut's Toxic Tomb, which I've not seen yet.  Discovery Channel is clearly linking to the weekend's festivities in Cairo, congratulations Zahi. B)   Maybe something else will happen today, something about the KV35 prince would be nice. 

I won't hold my breath.  Probably just closing ceremonies.

Edited by Wistman
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22 hours ago, Wistman said:

Discovery Channel is featuring a  new documentary right now, first shown on Oct 19: King Tut: Century of Secrets, pretty good, more nuanced and in depth than usual, features Zahi's pontificating, but also has Dodson, etc. in spots.  This feature docu is followed by Tut's Toxic Tomb, which I've not seen yet.  Discovery Channel is clearly linking to the weekend's festivities in Cairo, congratulations Zahi. B)   Maybe something else will happen today, something about the KV35 prince would be nice. 

I won't hold my breath.  Probably just closing ceremonies.

Wistman,

In the Discovery Channel documentary, I liked the segment that said Tut rode a chariot to hunt wild animals near Giza.  That seems more realistic than some previous suggestions that Tut rode a chariot into a military battle.    

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On 11/6/2022 at 2:55 PM, Wistman said:

Discovery Channel is featuring a  new documentary right now, first shown on Oct 19: King Tut: Century of Secrets,

 

Managed to track this down hidden in the depths of Amazon UK. Massive recycling of older documentaries going back over 12 years. However, a good laying out of arguments, and the best "disection" of Tut's foot yet to be put forward. I had no idea that the worst part of his condition, the pain,  only lasted a few years before subsiding. On KV55, I would like to have seen Ashraf not just say the vertebrae indicate on older age, but to also address all the metrics that put KV55 at a younger age and explain the discrepancies, otherwise the argument will not go away.

And, I'll put forward an explanation for why Hawass has delayed his announcent. Being cynical, I would say that he may well have the results, but the entire centenary and conference has been totaly sidelined by COP 27, so he will wait until the fuss has died down and be more certain of some decent air time.

As it seems this new round of testing was conducted around March or April this year, I'm not sure why they have been unable to get results by November when normal test results, say for ancestry, only take weeks, and while the procedures take longer for aDNA, these tests are being done by Gad and his team, and likely as a priority. Even multiple testing to make sure of the results is not going to take six months or so.

 

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Just when you think that Amarna cannot get more complicated and convoluted, step forward the Darnells to propose that Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten could be Meritaten.

They give their reasons in their latest book, Egypt's Golden Couple, and as so much is unknown or vague, are able to present an argument that cannot be dissmissed out of hand, though some will of course, and I'll admit to being very dubious about this.

Spoiler

I think the part where the reader has to take a leap that will for many be too far, is in not so much the main proposal itself, but that Meritaten continued in some cases to use her birth name alongside her prenomen and nomen as "king", thus explaining why she appears on Box 001K twice, according to this hypothesis, and also twice on the sequins.

 

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On 11/9/2022 at 3:04 PM, Wepwawet said:

Just when you think that Amarna cannot get more complicated and convoluted, step forward the Darnells to propose that Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten could be Meritaten.

They give their reasons in their latest book, Egypt's Golden Couple, and as so much is unknown or vague, are able to present an argument that cannot be dissmissed out of hand, though some will of course, and I'll admit to being very dubious about this.

  Hide contents

I think the part where the reader has to take a leap that will for many be too far, is in not so much the main proposal itself, but that Meritaten continued in some cases to use her birth name alongside her prenomen and nomen as "king", thus explaining why she appears on Box 001K twice, according to this hypothesis, and also twice on the sequins.

 

Since we're dealing here with hypotheticals, let me continue this logical fantasy:

Nefertiti, on the death of Akhenaten and holding in her hands full power, sighs discreetly and steps back into the shadows to let her daughter reign not as queen as she had but as full-on king, so that she herself could retire to a convent and feed the pigeons.

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39 minutes ago, Wistman said:

@Wepwawet  Just a quick question:  According to your understanding, how old was Meritaten when she became Akhenaten's wife?

I think she would be not younger than fourteen and not older than sixteen, so plus or minus X number of months either side of fifteen.

I work this out thusly. Probably born in year 2 as Akhenaten is not even married to Nefertiti at the start of his reign. She then first appears officiating with Nefertiti on recovered blocks of the Hut-benben which was built in year 2/3. As Nefertiti is still GRW to Akhenaten in Year 16, then Box 001K must have been made after the year 16 graffito because Nefertiti is now co-ruler Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten and Meritaten is GRW, either to Akhenaten directly, or as GRW to the co-rulers. Therefore Meritaten becomes GRW at some point after the year 16 Nefertiti graffito and before the death of Akhenaten in year 17.

Also worth pointing out, as I have before, that this would make Meritaten only aged about seven at the birth of Tutankhaten in about year 8, and, for good measure, Meketaten may well have been not more than ten at death. I added that because I think the idea that any of the multiple "babies" in TA26 was Tutankhaten should be put to rest.

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Hm, the TA26 death scenes and Tutankhaten. I've gone through parts of this before I know, but this needs to be teased out some more.

It has been proposed by numerous people, not least Marc Gabolde, that the baby shown in TA26 chamber gamma, the chamber with the death scenes of Meketaten, is in fact Tutankhaten. Gabolde says that the mother is Nefertiti due to how he sees the remains of inscriptions. Others believe that Meketaten is the mother, see the above post for why this cannot be so. There is an ongoing dispute as to whether the depiction of the baby is of a real child or of the ka of the deceased, the view that I hold. However, that is another argument and I'll just deal with what is possible, or impossible as regarding who may be the mother, and who the child may be, or not.

Firstly, when was this scene, and the similar ones in chamber alpha, made. The scenes in both chambers, while not naming all of the dead, are without doubt three of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and they are Meketaten, Neferneferure and Setepenre. All three are shown alive at the year 12 durbar, therefore the TA26 deathbed scenes date from after the durbar. The depictions of Nefertiti in the two chambers name her as GRW to Akhenaten, therefore these scenes date to before she became co-ruler Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten. This occured, as mentioned above, after the year 16 graffito naming her still as GRW, and before she appears as co-ruler before the death of Akhenaten in his year 17.

Late dates do not favour those who think that Nefertiti is the mother of the chamber gamma baby, so I will work this out using the earliest dates, fair or not?

Let's have Meketaten dying in the first days of year 13, and according to Gabolde we have Nefertiti with her newly born son Tutankhaten depicted in the tomb. Also favouring the Nefertiti as mother camp, let's have Akhenaten dying in the last days of his year 17. This makes Tutankhaten five years old to within a few days. He will count his regnal years from the death of Akhenaten, not Ankhkheperure who can have no existance as a king as far as succession goes. Tutankhamun dies during his tenth regnal year, when is not know, but, again to favour the Nefertiti as mother camp, let's have him die in the last days of his year ten, making him fifteen years old, plus or minus only a few days, at his death. So, is the mummy of Tutankhamun that of a fifteen year old, and only just fifteen, or not. Of course it isn't, and nobody has ever argued for such a young age, the only quibble being was he 18 or 19. However, as I've been as generous as is possible with presumed dates of birth and death, fifteen is the maximum, and in fact, if he were the baby shown in chamber gamma it is far more likely that he will be somewhat younger than the absolute maximum. Just by putting the death of Akhenaten and Tutankhaum to the halfway point of the their final regnal years brings down the age at death of Tutankhamun in this scenario to only fourteen. Put the death of Meketaten to halfway through year 13 and Tutankhamun drops down to only being thirteen years and six months old at death, and even further from reality, and common sense.

So, if, as Gabolde and others state, the baby in the chamber gamma scene is Tutankhaten and his mother Nefertiti, how can this be squared with Tutankhamun dying fifteen years later aged eighteen or nineteen, time travel?

Aha, but what if he did count his regnal years from Ankhkheperure. Well, she is given one year as co-ruler and two by herself. However, this still only bumps Tutankhamun's age of death up to seventeen at the most , and then only if he was conveniently born right at the start of year 13, Akhenaten conveniently dying right at the end of his year 17, Ankhkheperure conveniently dying at the end of her year 3 and Tutankhamun conveniently dying right at the end of his year 10.

It's a matter of common sense and credulity that the baby, any of them, shown in TA26, cannot be Tutankhaten, and that Nefertiti cannot be named as his mother on the basis of the TA26 scenes. This does not rule out Nefertiti being his mother of course, but not on this line of argument which is past it's sell by date.

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To go with the above post, some calculations on why Tutankhamun will have probably been born in Akhenaten's year 8, or, if he counted his years from the death of Ankhkheperure, during year 9.

He is said by various authors to be aged eighteen or nineteen at death. By this it does not mean that he may have been eighteen and one month or nineteen and eleven months old, but by what his bones say in that he was younger than twenty and older than eighteen. Therefore I think it reasonable to put him at nineteen, plus or minus a few months, at death. I will assume nineteen exactly for the sake of clarity and not guessing how many months plus or minus as we just cannot know.

He rules into his tenth regnal year, and again I'll split the difference and go for a reign of nine years and six months. Deduct his regnal years from his age at death and we have him becoming king at age nine years and six months.

Presuming he counts his regnal years from the death of Akhenaten, and I'm going to give Akhenaten sixteen years and six months, then Tutankhaten will have been born right at the start of year 8. If he counted his years from the death of Ankhkheperure, and giving her two years and six months, it would put his birth halfway into year 9.

However, as I believe he counted his years from the death of Akhenaten, and taking into account the wiggle room due to not being able to narrow this down as we do not know how far into their last regnal year they lived, Tutankhamun will have been born at some point during Akhenaten's year 8.

 

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On 11/2/2022 at 2:49 PM, Wistman said:

 

Supposedly there was a myth (?) that the gods had hair of lapis-lazuli, and the Amarna royals and subsequent ones were emulating this with the blue hair.  Maybe it was just represented as such in their artworks.  Or who knows?  They could achieve much that still baffles us. :yes:  And for the royals, cost was no object.

 

 

I'd forgotten about this, but better late than never. The myth is the Book of the Heavenly Cow, from which we know that the skin of the gods was gold and their bones silver, or at least this was the case with Ra.

Translation by Wente.

Quote

Once it came to pass under the Majesty of Re, the self-generated god, that when he had been in the kingship over mankind and the gods combined, mankind proceeded to contrive a plot against the person of Re now that His Majesty had grown old, his bones being of silver, his flesh of gold and his hair of genuine lapis lazuli.

 

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4 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

I'd forgotten about this, but better late than never. The myth is the Book of the Heavenly Cow, from which we know that the skin of the gods was gold and their bones silver, or at least this was the case with Ra.

Translation by Wente.

Thanks, that's rather wonderful.

On 11/13/2022 at 4:39 PM, Wepwawet said:

Hm, the TA26 death scenes and Tutankhaten. I've gone through parts of this before I know, but this needs to be teased out some more.

It has been proposed by numerous people, not least Marc Gabolde, that the baby shown in TA26 chamber gamma, the chamber with the death scenes of Meketaten, is in fact Tutankhaten. Gabolde says that the mother is Nefertiti due to how he sees the remains of inscriptions. Others believe that Meketaten is the mother, see the above post for why this cannot be so. There is an ongoing dispute as to whether the depiction of the baby is of a real child or of the ka of the deceased, the view that I hold. However, that is another argument and I'll just deal with what is possible, or impossible as regarding who may be the mother, and who the child may be, or not.

Firstly, when was this scene, and the similar ones in chamber alpha, made. The scenes in both chambers, while not naming all of the dead, are without doubt three of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, and they are Meketaten, Neferneferure and Setepenre. All three are shown alive at the year 12 durbar, therefore the TA26 deathbed scenes date from after the durbar. The depictions of Nefertiti in the two chambers name her as GRW to Akhenaten, therefore these scenes date to before she became co-ruler Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten. This occured, as mentioned above, after the year 16 graffito naming her still as GRW, and before she appears as co-ruler before the death of Akhenaten in his year 17.

Late dates do not favour those who think that Nefertiti is the mother of the chamber gamma baby, so I will work this out using the earliest dates, fair or not?

Let's have Meketaten dying in the first days of year 13, and according to Gabolde we have Nefertiti with her newly born son Tutankhaten depicted in the tomb. Also favouring the Nefertiti as mother camp, let's have Akhenaten dying in the last days of his year 17. This makes Tutankhaten five years old to within a few days. He will count his regnal years from the death of Akhenaten, not Ankhkheperure who can have no existance as a king as far as succession goes. Tutankhamun dies during his tenth regnal year, when is not know, but, again to favour the Nefertiti as mother camp, let's have him die in the last days of his year ten, making him fifteen years old, plus or minus only a few days, at his death. So, is the mummy of Tutankhamun that of a fifteen year old, and only just fifteen, or not. Of course it isn't, and nobody has ever argued for such a young age, the only quibble being was he 18 or 19. However, as I've been as generous as is possible with presumed dates of birth and death, fifteen is the maximum, and in fact, if he were the baby shown in chamber gamma it is far more likely that he will be somewhat younger than the absolute maximum. Just by putting the death of Akhenaten and Tutankhaum to the halfway point of the their final regnal years brings down the age at death of Tutankhamun in this scenario to only fourteen. Put the death of Meketaten to halfway through year 13 and Tutankhamun drops down to only being thirteen years and six months old at death, and even further from reality, and common sense.

So, if, as Gabolde and others state, the baby in the chamber gamma scene is Tutankhaten and his mother Nefertiti, how can this be squared with Tutankhamun dying fifteen years later aged eighteen or nineteen, time travel?

Aha, but what if he did count his regnal years from Ankhkheperure. Well, she is given one year as co-ruler and two by herself. However, this still only bumps Tutankhamun's age of death up to seventeen at the most , and then only if he was conveniently born right at the start of year 13, Akhenaten conveniently dying right at the end of his year 17, Ankhkheperure conveniently dying at the end of her year 3 and Tutankhamun conveniently dying right at the end of his year 10.

It's a matter of common sense and credulity that the baby, any of them, shown in TA26, cannot be Tutankhaten, and that Nefertiti cannot be named as his mother on the basis of the TA26 scenes. This does not rule out Nefertiti being his mother of course, but not on this line of argument which is past it's sell by date.

And therefore KV35YL cannot be she.  Nicely laid out, and generous with your application of dates to the timeline.  Yet, like Gabolde, Habicht in this 2022 paper sees Nefertiti as the YL: 

The Amarna Cluedo-game: Nefertiti, Smenkhkare and Ankhesenamun: The re-discussed identification of mummies from the Amarna period. Facts and scenarios

His three points relevant are:

Quote

Fact 4: The Younger Lady KV 35 is the mother of Tutankhamun

The genetic study of 2010 has confirmed what was already suspected from earlier morphological investigations: The so-called Lady Disciple from the mummy hiding place in King's Tomb KV 35 is Tutankhamun's mother. Thus, it is clear:

•    The Younger Lady KV 35 is the mother of Tutankhamun.

Fact 5: Source texts testify that Nefertiti is the mother of Tutankhamun

 In the original royal tomb at Amarna (tomb TA 26), a heavily destroyed relief is preserved in the 12th year of the reign. It shows a side scene of a wet nurse with a small child in infancy. The inscription is well preserved in parts and the beginning can also be deduced with great certainty due to the length of the text and small remains of the characters. Because of the length of the text, only the name Tutanchaton can have been written there. The names of the daughters are written much shorter in Egyptian and do not match the preserved remains of the characters. Moreover, all six documented daughters in year 12 had already been born for some time and were therefore no longer babies. This textual source very probably proves that Tutankhaton, the later Tutankhamun, was born in year 12 and that Nefertiti was the mother. Fact No. 5 also supports Fact No. 3, according to which it can be deduced from the choice of name alone that Akhenaten and Nefertiti must be the parents. Fact 5 thus testifies to us:

•     Nefertiti is the mother of Tutankhamun

Fact 6: The Younger Lady resembles Nefertiti

As early as the turn of the millennium, Marianne Luban and Joann Fletcher postulated that the Younger Lady must be Nefertiti, who was believed to have disappeared (Luban 1999; Fletcher 2004). Two forensic facial reconstructions attest to the great similarity between the Younger Lady and Nefertiti (Wortman 2003; Habicht 2011; Gates 2018).

The equation of YL KV 35 with Nefertiti is obvious. The only credible alternative for the identification of the Younger Lady can realistically be Meritaton. This has been considered as a second-best solution (Habicht, Bouwman, and Ruhli 2016) or postulated directly (Huber 2016).

Well, as long as he doesn't consider your nicely logical checkmate that is.  

:D

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9 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

To go with the above post, some calculations on why Tutankhamun will have probably been born in Akhenaten's year 8, or, if he counted his years from the death of Ankhkheperure, during year 9.

He is said by various authors to be aged eighteen or nineteen at death. By this it does not mean that he may have been eighteen and one month or nineteen and eleven months old, but by what his bones say in that he was younger than twenty and older than eighteen. Therefore I think it reasonable to put him at nineteen, plus or minus a few months, at death. I will assume nineteen exactly for the sake of clarity and not guessing how many months plus or minus as we just cannot know.

He rules into his tenth regnal year, and again I'll split the difference and go for a reign of nine years and six months. Deduct his regnal years from his age at death and we have him becoming king at age nine years and six months.

Presuming he counts his regnal years from the death of Akhenaten, and I'm going to give Akhenaten sixteen years and six months, then Tutankhaten will have been born right at the start of year 8. If he counted his years from the death of Ankhkheperure, and giving her two years and six months, it would put his birth halfway into year 9.

However, as I believe he counted his years from the death of Akhenaten, and taking into account the wiggle room due to not being able to narrow this down as we do not know how far into their last regnal year they lived, Tutankhamun will have been born at some point during Akhenaten's year 8.

 

At year 8, Kiya was at the height of her favor.  And there is possibility that she, who rose to such heights so quickly and inexplicably, was a full sister of Akhenaten with an Amunist nomen but renamed; she might very well have been a sister to Nefertiti as well, which would give further weight and plausibility to her royal stature early on at Amarna.  But we've been over this already so I won't belabor the point.

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5 hours ago, Wistman said:

Thanks, that's rather wonderful.

And therefore KV35YL cannot be she.  Nicely laid out, and generous with your application of dates to the timeline.  Yet, like Gabolde, Habicht in this 2022 paper sees Nefertiti as the YL: 

The Amarna Cluedo-game: Nefertiti, Smenkhkare and Ankhesenamun: The re-discussed identification of mummies from the Amarna period. Facts and scenarios

His three points relevant are:

Well, as long as he doesn't consider your nicely logical checkmate that is.  

:D

I think plenty of people have done the same maths as me about this, and years before me, but unfortunately do not present their workings, why, as it could have nipped in the bud a lot of erroneous discussion about the TA26 death scenes, or at least that element which thinks the chamber gamma baby is Tutankhaten.

What Habicht's paper, and books by numerous authors on the subject reveal, is personal bias in wanting certain elements of this to be true, even if the grounds for this "truth" are shaky, or even illogical.

It is though puzzling why there is this inability to do some simple maths, and even the Darnells, usually solid, in their book about Tutankhamun take it as read that he is the baby shown in TA26, and there is no discussion as to how they come to this conclusion, it is just stated as being so with no other option available. Reeves does put the birth of Tutankhamun to about Akhenaten's year 8, though does not show how he gets to this, probably the same way I do, but in such a contentious area it would help to show your workings. I'm still waiting for Dodson's latest book, but in other books he also gives year 8, though also gives year 11 to take into account if Tutankhamun dated his reign from Akhenaten or Ankhkheperure. Bob Brier completely sidesteps this and does not even mention the TA26 scenes.

Then there is, and I've mentioned this before, an attempt to get around the problem by having some of the daughters born much earlier than thought, for instance Geoffrey Martin said that he thinks Meritaten was born five years before Ankhenaten became king, which is staggering considering that Nefertiti is nowhere to be seen when he became king. Martin also thought that the baby in question in chamber gamma was Tutankhaten, with Meketaten being the mother and dying in childbirth. As he has shunted the births of the daughters back in time he can explain how Meketaten will be at least twelve, and not a more reasonable seven, or at least under ten. No attempt is made to explain the discrepancy between Tutankhaten being born after the year 12 durbar, and the TA26 scenes are reckoned by all authors I have read to date to year 13 or 14, and him dying 19 years later. Even having him dating his reign from Ankhkheperure, there will still be around four or five years to account for that are not covered by the reign of any king that we can see, in fact it would need either the reign of Ankhenaten to be extended to about year 21/22, or the reign of Ankhkheperure to be extended, or a combination of both.

On the documentary from ZDF that Habicht mentions in his paper, I think the problem here might be a personal bias about Smenkhkare by the producer, who in his desire to show epigraphic evidence for a joint rule by Akhenaten and Smenkhkare presented a limestone tablet with the cartouches of Ankhenaten and "Smenkhkare" side by side. I think I mentioned this some weeks back. The problem being that while there would in fact have been a joint rule, the cartouche he claimed to show Smenkhkare was a cartouche of Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten due to her epithets. On this being pointed out to the producer he simply denied that he was wrong, and when a German Egyptologist stepped in, and in meticulous detail very clearly pointed out the error, the producer did not make further replies. How many people would have watched this documentary, which is very much main stream in Germany, and not knowing any better, will now believe a falsehood, or at best an explanation for an object that while being acceptable in the 1970s, as was pointed out in the discussion with the producer, is now in the realm of being a "zombie fact".

 

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Guy de la Bedoyere's report on his recent visit to Akhetaten, with an extensive photo gallery.  Nothing new, but it may be of interest to understand the state of things there, and get a sense of the place.

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His book is well worth a read, taking a leaf from Ridley and his book on Akhenaten and doing his best to cut through the fog and personal bias/opinion. He quotes Ridley at the start of the Amarna section, "There is no statement in Amarna studies which cannot be contradicted", and adds to it with his own take on the tar pits, "Generations of Egyptologists have continually re-examined and rearranged the limited and confusing evidence to uncover what really happened, but often going round in circles. Much remains unknown"

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2 hours ago, Wepwawet said:

His book is well worth a read, taking a leaf from Ridley and his book on Akhenaten and doing his best to cut through the fog and personal bias/opinion. He quotes Ridley at the start of the Amarna section, "There is no statement in Amarna studies which cannot be contradicted", and adds to it with his own take on the tar pits, "Generations of Egyptologists have continually re-examined and rearranged the limited and confusing evidence to uncover what really happened, but often going round in circles. Much remains unknown"

The book won't be released here in the states until Jan 2023.  Good to know you liked it.

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@Wepwawet  Here's a short recent paper you may be unfamiliar with: 

Figurations in the study of Egyptian religion: The case of Akhetaten, 2022, Janne Arp-Neumann

from the exposition:

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Current approaches: Akhetaten as an update of tradition

In the last decades it was pointed out by several Egyptologists, that the “persecution” [iconoclasm during the Amarna period] had not affected all the gods everywhere, but specifically Amun(-Re) and the gods and goddesses related to him, e.g. the goddess Mut, and only in selected contexts.  Subsequently, the term “studied alterations” has been used instead of highly interpretative expressions such as “savage attacks”.  In addition, it was highlighted that the alterations were aimed at specific “cultic forms” for “actualizing the solar, royal, and ancestral powers”, meaning that the temples were updated and consequently still in use during this time.  In a study on a very similar and also partly related phenomenon (i.e. the supposed persecution of the names and images of the god Seth) the term “transformations” was proposed to address, in as neutral a way as possible, any chisel work on images and names in wall decoration and statues that took place after they were created.  The question remains as to why Akhenaten’s update of cultic forms, by transforming reliefs and statues and by founding a new city, was not maintained by his successors and why he became subject to damnatio memoriae himself.  Previous explanations – arguing that the reign of Akhenaten was a traumatic experience for the people, and that the trauma was later processed by persecuting the king after his death – are based on too many unprovable assumptions to be convincing.  An important observation, on the other hand, that should be given more consideration in interpretation, is that Akhenaten’s person was tightly woven into the fabric of the cult of the Aten at Akhetaten.  His successors had the choice either to follow his line closely and become a new Akhenaten at Akhetaten, or to return to Thebes. With this limited choice, it was only a matter of time before one of Akhenaten’s successors made the latter decision.  For Tutankhaten, the option to turn back to Thebes to take care of the transformed monuments there must have been more promising in comparison.  There was the chance to complete the update which Akhenaten had only just begun when he had left that place.  Starting with Tutankhamun, as he called himself after leaving Akhetaten, many new ideas and elements, which were developed at Akhetaten were employed also in Theban monuments and elsewhere.  With this perspective the changes in the cult for Amun-Ra in the so-called ‘post-Amarna period’ need to be reassessed in the future.

The paper seems to me to be a little short on development of its theme.  And the above intriguing notion might have been further expanded upon and supported as well, such as the agency of minor Tutankhamun at the start of his kingship under a regency of rivals, and fails to show how contradictions of power via religious adhesion/evolution versus national economic and military considerations at the time would have impacted the decision to stay or leave Akhetaten, for instance.  Any thoughts?

https://www.academia.edu/87125134/Figurations_in_the_study_of_Egyptian_religion_The_case_of_Akhetaten

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5 hours ago, Wistman said:

Any thoughts?

 

Yes, a few. I had not seen this paper before and it will need some carefull thought to make a decent opinion. However, I think that, yes, the paper is too short, for instance while mentioning Amunhotep III and/as the Dazzling Aten, this needs far more attention as I think the actions of Amunhotep III, built on those of Thutmose IV, are critical. An example of how critical are the depictions of Amunhotep III on both the Day Barque and the Night Barque, which he had no place on at all while still alive, and this links, IMO, to where the paper mentions the Amarna tombs being on the west bank of the Nile instead of the east, and the absence of Osiris.

Whether or not Akhenaten was a monotheist we can never know, only guess at, but I do agree with the paper that he did not intenionally set about starting a "monotheist revolution", but for the royal family and elites, monotheism probably happened without them even thinking about it, and they would not have had that term, or even one like it, anyway.

The restoration stele of Tutankhamun is I think a red herring along with the damnatio memoriae. The same happened when Hatshepsut took power, and it happened again when Thutmose III eventually became sole king. Usually not getting a mention in the literature, Akhenaten did this to his own father, not in the removal of the Amun element of his name later in the reign, but right at the start, as shown on talat from the Karnak temple, where the still Amunhotep IV bemoans the state of the land and the temples he has inherited from his father, which would be an odd thing to do if there had been a co-regency. Complaining about a predecessor, even engaging in some damnatio memoriae, was common. It was not malice, just a way of bigging yourself up, making yourself look good particularly if your predecessor was a "giant", as Amunhotep III was, and also Hatshepsut. In the context of what the paper is arguing though this needs more thought, though I do think it was more of a bureaucratic decision than one of a presumed need to obliterate Akhenaten and his city. Likewise, as I've mentioned before, I do not go along with these notions of hatred either to the Amun priesthood by Akhenaten, or from them to him, they are, after all, his employees, the HP at least being appointed by the king.

It's a bit late so I'll look more at this tomorrow.

Edited by Wepwawet
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Here is Guy de la Bedoyere's review of his recent visit to Tutankhamun's wet nurse Maia's tomb at Saqqara, with brief introduction and gallery of photos from inside the tomb.

 

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Bedoyere is good at making his points very clearly, and including background information that is often not included in some of the more popular books out there, for instance referencing earlier practises in the 18th Dynasty and explaining them rather than either ignoring them or just saying something was so with no explanation. Here I'm talking about the status of crown princes who have no "theological place" even if they certainly do have a place in practice. I'll add to Bedoyere by pointing out that in all the instances were we would expect to see a crown prince, we do not because of the theological nature of those places, for instance on temple walls. Who would this "Son of Horus" be when Horus never had a son. The appearance of crown prince Thutmose at the funeral chapel of Apis I is a rare exception. Clearly in the 19th Dynasty this "hiding" of princes stopped.

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On the move by Tutankhamun back to Memphis, I do think that it was primarily for practicle theological reasons. As Akhetaten was a city only for the worship of the Aten, despite what the citizens were doing in private, if a descision is made to return to orthodoxy, then it would have required a massive building programme to build umpteen new temples for the Theban Triad and other deities, so why bother when the temples already exist. I would think that in practicle terms Akhetaten was better placed to be the capital than Thebes under Amunhotep III, but not as good as Memphis, and of course the capital was moved even further north under Ramesess II and yet again to Tanis some time later.

How much of an element of wanting to forget about Akhenaten there was, and there had to be a strong element, I don't know, but I don't think it was the overiding cause of the move. What I wonder is just when it was finally abandoned as a city, perhaps not until into the reign of Ramesess II, I don't know, though until his reign there was still a Greatest of Seers of the Aten, a position created by Akhenaten. Where would he have been based, Akhetaten perhaps until the Aten cult was eventually proscribed.

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1 hour ago, Wepwawet said:

On the move by Tutankhamun back to Memphis, I do think that it was primarily for practicle theological reasons. As Akhetaten was a city only for the worship of the Aten, despite what the citizens were doing in private, if a descision is made to return to orthodoxy, then it would have required a massive building programme to build umpteen new temples for the Theban Triad and other deities, so why bother when the temples already exist. I would think that in practicle terms Akhetaten was better placed to be the capital than Thebes under Amunhotep III, but not as good as Memphis, and of course the capital was moved even further north under Ramesess II and yet again to Tanis some time later.

How much of an element of wanting to forget about Akhenaten there was, and there had to be a strong element, I don't know, but I don't think it was the overiding cause of the move. What I wonder is just when it was finally abandoned as a city, perhaps not until into the reign of Ramesess II, I don't know, though until his reign there was still a Greatest of Seers of the Aten, a position created by Akhenaten. Where would he have been based, Akhetaten perhaps until the Aten cult was eventually proscribed.

Also, some have made a point about the vast expense of building Akhetaten.  In the last years of Akhenaten's reign, the Hittites were threatening Egypt's possessions in the Levant, the supplications of the Mittani king and others for military support and gold as defense subsidy went unheeded; slowly the Hittites won these lands and as such the huge tribute to Egypt shrunk to a trickle.  This tribute from vassal states was one of the major sources of Thutmosid wealth, peaking during the reign of AIII.  Thus the source of extra wealth being denied the Egyptian state, building projects of massive scale were no longer possible.  To build a series of new temples at Akhetaten would have been prohibitive, so a sacerdotal return to Thebes was preferred just as a governmental return to Memphis was, with the stone works at Akhetaten used as a source for building programmes elsewhere rather than expanded.

Edited by Wistman
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