Feb 8, 2018 | By Benedict

Historians have used 3D imaging technology to reconstruct the face of King Tut's mother. The researchers say the long-unidentified woman, nicknamed the “Younger Lady,” could actually be Queen Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Who was the Younger Lady? It’s a question that has intrigued ancient historians for generations, and it’s not hard to see why.

When Victor Loret first discovered the mysterious figure in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings in 1898, he thought it was a boy, since the head had been shaved.

That theory was soon debunked, but questions remained: who was this woman and what was her relation to the other mummies found near her? Some of these questions were answered when DNA studies confirmed that the Younger Lady was the mother of Tutankhamun, an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty.

But that still left other questions: who exactly was the mother of Tutankhamun?

With the aid of 3D imaging technology, a group of historians has now made the bold claim that the Younger Lady is in fact Queen Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten.

The possibility has been mooted before, but it is controversial for a couple of reasons. Firstly, historians aren’t certain whether the husband of the Younger Lady, buried with her in the same tomb, is Akhenaten, Smenkhare, or someone else. And secondly, even if it is Akhenaten, that wouldn’t necessarily imply that the Younger Lady is Nefertiti, since Pharoah Akhenaten had another wife, Kiya.

So why do these historians think the Younger Lady is indeed Nefertiti? Well, they’ve made a digital reconstruction of the woman’s face by 3D scanning the remains of the mummy, using a professional paleoartist to turn that visual information into a realistic human face.

That paleoartist is Elisabeth Daynès, known for her recreation of King Tut in 2005, who sculpted a lifelike bust of the Younger Lady's face so that historians might get a clearer picture of what the Ancient Egyptian woman looked like.

And guess who it ended up looking like… Yes, the bust is pretty similar to well-known depictions of Queen Nefertiti.

“This remarkable face seems to be consistent with ancient representations of Nefertiti,” says Egyptologist Dr. Aidan Dodson of Bristol University, who was given special permission to examine the Younger Lady’s remains. “It's extraordinary. When taken alongside the latest reading of the genetic data, this provides us with truly exciting evidence that the mummy of the Younger Lady is none other than Queen Nefertiti herself.”

Josh Gates, who is presenting the two-part special of Expedition Unknown about the discovery on Travel Channel, is similarly convinced.

“This is a unique and exciting moment that allows us to look into the past and help restore the dignity of an incredibly significant woman,” Gates says. “The bone structure and the features are remarkably consistent with ancient depictions. I believe this is the true face of Nefertiti.”

Of course, Gates kind of has to say that, since he’s selling a show based on the premise, but do other experts agree?

In short, not really. The news is still fresh, but Raymond Johnson, director of the Epigraphic Survey project and Research Associate and Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, has jumped in to say that other historical evidence outweighs the evidence provided by Daynès’ artistic impression.

“In no text is Nefertiti ever identified as a royal daughter,” Johnson argues. “If she had been a daughter of Amenhotep III and Tiye, it would have been clearly stated in her inscriptions, and there are hundreds of texts that survive mentioning Nefertiti with no mention of her parents.”

Others who have seen the reconstruction are unhappy about the complexion of the Younger Lady’s skin, which has been depicted as fair. Some even say it looks more like Barbra Streisand than Nefertiti.

Convinced? The second part of the documentary airs next week, but this looks like a debate that won’t be settled for a long, long time.



Posted in 3D Design



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Nicholas Krautner wrote at 2/17/2018 8:46:15 PM:

Wow! You would know that they based the skin color off the original Nefertiti artifact If you actually had watched the show. Further more, they made no claims as to the actual skin color.

Lollmann wrote at 2/12/2018 1:15:24 AM:

Daniel Diaz, Stop this craziness, Man of Yah: Genetic analysis now shows that the Egyptians are a Semitic-related people probably from the Levant. They were not Black (not that there would be a problem if they were, just after the truth).

Kermit wrote at 2/11/2018 11:48:25 PM:

This is not queen Nefertit. This is paleoartist Elisabeth Daynès.

Daniel Diaz wrote at 2/11/2018 9:08:26 PM:

You had all this technology at your disposal and still came up wth white skin? I strongly believe that this is not the face of Nefertiti, Gates.

Stop this craziness wrote at 2/11/2018 2:42:49 PM:

This cannot be for real? Never met a green eyed white woman named Nefertiti. They should be ashamed.... lol this is a joke

Man of Yah wrote at 2/11/2018 2:53:53 AM:

More white washing from the euorpeons. Another sad day in our history...

Brook Boshaw wrote at 2/9/2018 9:17:33 PM:

Will they do a racial reconstruction on Ankhenaten's skull? I hope so. I just want to see if art imitates life. Did he actually have the elongated face like that on wall carvings and sculptures? Or was it all completely exaggerated?

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