Does Geography Determine Destiny?
Another strong female leader that ruled ancient Egypt as coregent and as the pharaoh was Nefertiti. Historians have described her as one of the most significant of all Egyptian women. She and her husband, the pharaoh Akhenaton, started a new form of religion in their kingdom. It was a sort of revolution of faith changing the whole structure of their ancient culture. They moved the capital to from the original capital at Thebes to Amarna. The high priests had much less power under this new religious structure, and the main god was shifted to Aten, the sun god. Using evidence like hieroglyphics and wall paintings, it is clear that she played a large role in court. She carried out duties of the pharaoh, and she drove her own chariot. The artwork proves that she was powerful and independent. Women were not on the forefront of politics at this time. It is possible that her strong role during the reign of her husband upset the social hierarchy and caused conflict among government officials and high priests.
Writings about Nefertiti seem to just stop, yet the imagined details used to complete the mysterious missing information are quite intriguing. We do know that she was married to the pharaoh Akhenaten who reigned from 1353-1356 BCE. Some Egyptians believed that she had great divine power and was a daughter of the gods.
Nefertiti’s story is being told with new uncovered evidence described in a powerful historical documentary. In the Valley of Kings, which is 400 miles south of Cairo, her mummy may have finally been identified. In the first few hundred years after her funeral, the royal tomb was found by grave robbers and her remains were mutilated. All the proof of rank had been torn away from her wrapped and preserved remains. The linen shroud and sacred wrappings were missing until recently. Two other mummies were in the same tomb and they were not harmed by the ancient criminals. Jewels and amulets have been found separate from the body and these trinkets have been confirmed as Nefertiti’s. Researchers could not positively confirm the identify the mummy until an English egyptologist named Joann Fletcher, (who specializes in ancient hair, its styling, and the wigs worn by people of ancient times) helped to make the connection between a wig that was likely Nefertiti’s and the mummy’s identity. Dr. Fletcher can confirm with forensic evidence that the wig is from 1400-1300 BCE and that it was created in Nubia for person of royalty.
The damage to the mummy thought to be Nefertiti’s was likely inflicted by grave robbers because it is similar to how all the carved and painted images of her were damaged after her death. This vandalism is connected to the damage found in her royal tomb. As a woman that had gained a high level of authority, she may have offended certain people so much that they wanted to hurt her in the afterlife. Her mouth had the most damage, and that is important because the damage would not allow her to speak her name to the gods and enter into the afterlife.