Team Finds Remains of Long-lost Egyptian Queen in Italian Museum

Bust of Queen Nefertiti

An international team of archeologists believe they have identified the mummified legs of a long-lost Egyptian queen in an Italian history museum. Radiocarbon dating, chemical analysis, and anthropological analysis suggest the remains belong to Queen Nefertiti.

Prof. Joann Fletcher and Stephen Buckley who led the team said they are positive about the identification. They said that mummified knees “most likely” belong to the Egyptian queen.

Nefertiti and Cleopatra are the two Egyptian queens most known in the Western imagery. She is pharaoh Akhenaten’s favorite wife. Moreover, the two led a religious revolution that made Egyptians worship a single god, Aten or the sun disc. They also ruled during the wealthiest period for Ancient Egypt.

What’s moree, historic documents show Nefertari’s body was laid to rest in a beautiful tomb in the Valley of the Queens. Fletcher said she analyzed the tomb recently. Unfortunately, thieves had plundered the site in ancient times.

The Recent Study

In 1904, Italian archeologists had the first access to the tomb. The team sent the objects they found there to a history museum in Turin, in northern Italy. The items included two mummified legs. However, until now, no one knew whom these legs belonged to. Historians had believed that they may be a recent addition.

However, no one had scientifically  analyzed the remains. So, a team wanted to know whether they belong to the legendary queen.

According to a study they published in PLOS ONE, the remains belong to a woman in her early forties. Experts believe Nefertiti died in her late twenties or early forties. In addition, Dr. Buckley conducted a chemical analysis to see whether the substances used for embalming match the materials used during the queen’s times.

Buckley got help from other experts in his work. The research team found that the embalming techniques and substances matched those used in the 13th century BC. Fletcher described the endeavor as the most exciting in her entire career. She expressed his gratitude for being able to work alongside some of the most prominent experts in the world.

Fletcher, who had a lead role in the 2003 documentary film Nefertiti Resurrected, said she and Buckley have long studied royal mummies. She explained the new evidence not only helped them identify the queen, but it also enabled researchers better understand Egyptian mummification practices in her time.

About Queen Nefertiti

Nefertiti’s name translates into “a beautiful woman has come.” She ruled Egypt as wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten sixteen centuries ago. She and the pharaoh established a monotheistic religion in which there was only one god, the Sun God.

The couple also promoted a type of artwork that was different from anything created in Egypt until then. Nefertiti’s bust and Tutankhamun’s funeral mask are two of Ancient Egypt’s trademark symbols.

Scholars don’t know many details about her childhood but they believe she married Amenhotep IV when she was 15. He ruled Egypt between 1353 and 1336 BC. The couple had six daughters and one son. One of their daughters, Ankhesenamun, wed the teenage pharaoh Tutankhamun aka King Tut.
Image Source: Flickr