Saturday, March 14, 2009

Talatat Block Bearing a Possible Image of Nefertiti Discovered

With photograph.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced today that an archaeological team from the Vitelli Papyrological Institute of the University of Florence has discovered a talatat block from an Amarna Period monument reused in the construction of a Christian church at the site of Sheikh ‘Ibada (Antinoopolis).

The block (larger image) is carved in sunk relief with the image of a queen of the Amarna Period wearing the vulture headdress. Dr. Rosario Pintaudi, the mission’s director, believes that the queen depicted could be Nefertiti, the wife of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten. Although it is uninscribed, the style of the relief dates it to the Amarna Period.

The Italian mission is conducting a topographical survey of the site, and in addition to their excavation of two Christian churches, has been recording the remains of a nearby Ramesside temple. Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the discovery of the talatat block is important, as it adds to the body of known records of the royal women of Amarna.

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