Did children build the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna?
New evidence from Akhenaten’s capital suggests that a ‘disposable’ workforce of children and teenagers provided much of the labour for the city’s construction
There’s a whiff of magic about the site of Tell el-Amarna that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. It’s partly down to the effort of imagination needed to conjure a great capital of ancient Egypt from the sea of low humps stretching between the cultivation and the desert cliffs, and partly the long shadows cast by its founders – the ‘heretic’ pharaoh Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti.
Amarna came and went in an archaeological moment. It rose and fell with Akhenaten and his religious reformation, under which Egypt’s ancient pantheon of gods was briefly usurped by the worship of a single solar deity; the Aten. Read more.