Her name is synonymous with beauty; and unlike history's other renowned women, such as Helen of Troy, we don't have to take the classical historians' word for it. Nefertiti's reputation rests on hard evidence – an exquisite bust of the ancient Egyptian queen that survived for more than 3,000 years.
Now researchers have discovered that the bust, one of the world's most famous objects, which is housed in the Neues Museum in Berlin, was given the ancient equivalent of a Photoshop airbrushing.
The television historian Bettany Hughes told The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival yesterday that last week she was part of a team that carried out a CT scan on the bust – one of ancient Egypt's best-known objects after the death mask of Tutenkhamen, who some believe to be her son.
Inside the statue they discovered a second limestone likeness of the queen, who died around 1330BC aged between 29 and 38.
"That statue is still very beautiful," she said, "but not as beautiful. It showed her nose was bent, and that she had wrinkles around her eyes. It's a real portrait of a real woman. We're now going to a tomb in the Valley of the Kings where we think Nefertiti's sister is to see if the dynasty has the same features."
The ancient Egyptian facelift: 'Beautiful' Queen Nefertiti had a 'bent nose and wrinkled eyes'
An ancient Egyptian queen who was been hailed for thousands of years as the perfect example of beauty may not have been such a looker after all, researchers have claimed.
The 3,300-year-old carved bust of Queen Nerfititi with her aquiline nose and high cheek bones has won her admiring fans around the world.
But a delicately carved face in the limestone core of the famous bust suggests the royal sculptor at the time may have smoothed creases around the mouth and fixed a bumpy nose to depict the 'Beauty of the Nile' in a better light.
TV Historian Bettany Hughes was part of a team that made the discovery which is supported by earlier research from German scientists who studied the 20 inch bust of Nefretiti whose name means 'the beautiful one has come'.
Ms Hughes and her team carried out a CT scan of the bust and discovered a second limestone model with a bent nose and wrinkles around the eyes which may have been used as a template for the bust.
NY Daily News
A new study suggests world-renowned Egyptian beauty Queen Nefertiti, whose name means, "A beautiful woman has come," was not quite as good-looking as depicted down the years.
Researchers discovered that the 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust of Nefertiti, one of the most recognized items in Egyptian art, may be hiding wrinkles and a less-than-perfect bone structure.
Television historian Bettany Hughes, a scientist who performed a CT scan on the statue, told the Independent that a carved model inside the elegant 20-inch statue shows the queen had a bent nose and wrinkles around her eyes, the Independent reports.