In the 14th century BC, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV initiated a religious revolution in Egypt. He introduced worship of the sun disk Aten to eclipse the worship of all the other gods of Egypt. He changed his own name to Akhenaten, and he built a new capital city, Akhetaten, in which the pure worship of Aten could take place. The temples were roofless—open to the rays of the sun disk.
When Akhenaten died, his revolution died with him. His successor, Tutankhamun (yes, that pharoah!) oversaw the reversion back to Egypt’s traditional religion. The capital city, Akhetaten was abandoned to the sands of time. Its ruins are now part of the site known as Tell el-Amarna.
Some fantastic imaging by Archéovision has recreated some of Akhenaten’s old capital city in digital form. If you can, watch the clip below in fullscreen mode and in full HD (click on the HD symbol and choose the resolution). It’s a brief but impressive recreation.
Archaeologists from Basel University working in Egypt have stumbled upon the burial chamber of almost 60 mummies purported to belong to ancient Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. This is one of Egypt’s more well known dynasties, claiming the likes of Ahmose (credited with ousting the Hyksos from Lower Egypt), the imperial expansionist Thutmose III, the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV), and his son, the modern celebrity, Tutankhamun.
The mummies discovered are specifically from the time of father and son, Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III.
The scientists discovered mummified remains of at least 50 people in the center chamber and in three side chambers. Based on inscriptions on storage jars, Egyptologists were able to identify and name over 30 people during this year’s field season. Titles such as “Prince” and “Princess” distinguish the buried as members of the families of the two pharaohs Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III who are also buried in the Valley of Kings. Both pharaohs belonged to the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom) and ruled in the 14th century BC.
This is a remarkable find. Eric Cline (George Washington University) is hoping that among the mummies might be found some of Amenhotep III’s Mitannian and Babylonian wives. We’ll have to wait and see. But in any case, we have here not only a valuable insight into this period of Egyptian history, but also the actual remains of people who once lived and walked in this incredible part of the earth so long ago.