tell el amarna

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.

Remains of a painted plaster pavement displaying a prisoner, from the ruins of a palace of Akhenaten. 

Egyptian Museum, Cairo

The pavement was discovered near Amarna in 1891 and it was decided that it be left in situ and a shelter was constructed over it. In 1910 some villagers of El-Hagg Qand îl (Tell el-Amarna) - apparently out of spite - broke in and destroyed most of it. The pieces were brought to the Egyptian Museum Cairo and the whole reconstructed from drawings made of it while it was still complete.

Hans Ollermann’s photo

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History Meme || {1/9} Kings or Queens
N E F E R N E F E R U A T E N  N E F E R T I T I ●

Nefertiti ruled alongside Akhenaten during the eighteenth dynasty. She lived in Tell El Amarna, a city constructed by the pharaoh to worship their god Aten. There, they safeguarded their family and their beliefs—it became the center of Egypt’s new religion.

During her reign as queen, Egypt went about many radical religious changes. Hundreds of years of culture and worship had been exchanged for a new radical concept— Monotheism. The old gods had been disregarded, temples shut down, and priests forced to change their ways. Many historians believe this transition could have been hostile and was not adopted so easily by the citizens or priests. 

Her reign with Akhenaten was unlike the traditional ways Egypt had seen. She was more than just a typical queen and helped to promote Akhenaten’s views. Her reign was only 12 years, but she was perhaps one of the most powerful queens to ever rule. 

Nefertiti is also known for her elegant beauty. Her bust has been an icon for many women and for many modern cosmetic lines. Many societies around the world have adopted the queen as a symbol of true beauty.