Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife of the Amarna Period

Apr 2019
208
UK
That's a good argument, and might also explain the ambiguities of the KV55 sarcophagus inscriptions while also not contradicting the texts on Akhenaten's sarcophagus.

It is also possible that there was no actual coregency of any length and it was only after year 16 that Neferneferuaten became "effective for her husband" due to as you say some incapacity or eventual death. Then you have the reign continuing, Smenkhkare the same person or not really, until Tut was old enough to rule. The only thing that has to be let go is the idea that Nefertiti or Smenkhkare ruled while Akhenaten was alive for any great length of time. The appearance of the adult Meritaten with Smenkhkare also fits the timeline better
 
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AlpinLuke

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Oct 2011
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Akhenaten would have done [again!] something really unique: he would have changed even his Throne Name [from Neferkheperure to Ankhkheperure]. This didn't happen, but dealing with the Amarna period means to deal with a historical moment when rules were no more.

Today we can hear a Canadian scholar sustaining [on graphic bases!] that two daughters of Akhenaten became Monarch after him and the most amusing aspect of this is that we cannot reject this or that option: we miss a documented context from which to start.

Now, about Smenkhkare and a possible coregency we've got only a jar with a not so clear inscription showing the cartouches of Akhenaten and Smenkhkare together [so it's not that easy to sustain that Akhenaten was Smenkhkare ...], but I've already had occasion to say that such an evidence is really weak. Overall because the inscription is far from being clear and the identification is "by exclusion".

But if the two Cartouches are confirmed, this doesn't exclude that Akhenaten became Smenkhkare ... again, we are dealing with the Amarna Period: that jar could show the evolution of the Royal individual, not a coregency.
 
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Apr 2019
208
UK
Whichever way you slice it we have 2 dated events and inscriptions that give us a big clue to the sequence of events - the Year 12 Durbar scenes where Neferneferuaten Nefertiti is shown on a throne superimposed by Akhenaten, and the couple being venerated. This is different to most depictions of queens standing behind, or in a supporting role or if next to appearing smaller than their King. This is always the case with Tiye, our closest example, and Akhensenamun on many objects from his tomb. So Neferneferuaten Nefertiti is clearly elevated above the status of most queens from that point on. Then the second object is the Year 16 inscription where she is still GRW - so you have 4 years minimum in that elevated but still queenly role.

Moving on you have Neferneferuaten (I'm 100% sure the same person as Neferneferuaten Nefertiti) appearing to be sole ruler, and named on objects with Akhenaten and Meritaten. This must have been from the very end of the reign of Akhenaten. The epithet "effective for my husband" appears. This is the second development of her role and was probably for some practical reasons, potentially Akhenaten being incapacitated in some way - we don't know.

Finally we have Smenkhkare in one tomb depiction with Meritaten as queen, and one object from the tomb of Tut with Akhenaten also. This either means that Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare (almost the same throne name) either shortly before her husband's death or immediately after, with the object indicating by association her legitimacy as ruler. Finally that Year 3 Smenkhkare inscription from Thebes indicating some independent rule for that king/queen.

The crux of the matter is, although the information we have seems to indicate the sequence of events where Nefertiti became Smenkhkare, there is still the possibility that Smenkhkare existed as a separate male individual as well. As with so many things we are lacking (unlike Tutankhaten) evidence of a prince named Smenkhkare, and yet there he apparently is, at the same time when Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was elevated. What we can say with certainty is that we have no evidence of Smenkhkare, Neferneferuaten AND Akhenaten together, while we do have both Neferneferuaten, Meritaten and Akhenaten named together as well as Smenkhkare, Meritaten and Akhenaten. You don't even have Meritaten's usual titles when shown with Smenkhkare or Neferneferuaten - usually she was explicitly named as the daughter of Nefertiti. So in conclusion I think it is very likely that the sequence was GRW Nefertiti (before year 8), Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (years 8 to 16), then Neferneferuaten (year 16+) and eventually Smenkhkare (sole rule up to a year 3, or coregent and sole rule).
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Whichever way you slice it we have 2 dated events and inscriptions that give us a big clue to the sequence of events - the Year 12 Durbar scenes where Neferneferuaten Nefertiti is shown on a throne superimposed by Akhenaten, and the couple being venerated. This is different to most depictions of queens standing behind, or in a supporting role or if next to appearing smaller than their King. This is always the case with Tiye, our closest example, and Akhensenamun on many objects from his tomb. So Neferneferuaten Nefertiti is clearly elevated above the status of most queens from that point on. Then the second object is the Year 16 inscription where she is still GRW - so you have 4 years minimum in that elevated but still queenly role.

Moving on you have Neferneferuaten (I'm 100% sure the same person as Neferneferuaten Nefertiti) appearing to be sole ruler, and named on objects with Akhenaten and Meritaten. This must have been from the very end of the reign of Akhenaten. The epithet "effective for my husband" appears. This is the second development of her role and was probably for some practical reasons, potentially Akhenaten being incapacitated in some way - we don't know.

Finally we have Smenkhkare in one tomb depiction with Meritaten as queen, and one object from the tomb of Tut with Akhenaten also. This either means that Neferneferuaten became Smenkhkare (almost the same throne name) either shortly before her husband's death or immediately after, with the object indicating by association her legitimacy as ruler. Finally that Year 3 Smenkhkare inscription from Thebes indicating some independent rule for that king/queen.

The crux of the matter is, although the information we have seems to indicate the sequence of events where Nefertiti became Smenkhkare, there is still the possibility that Smenkhkare existed as a separate male individual as well. As with so many things we are lacking (unlike Tutankhaten) evidence of a prince named Smenkhkare, and yet there he apparently is, at the same time when Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was elevated. What we can say with certainty is that we have no evidence of Smenkhkare, Neferneferuaten AND Akhenaten together, while we do have both Neferneferuaten, Meritaten and Akhenaten named together as well as Smenkhkare, Meritaten and Akhenaten. You don't even have Meritaten's usual titles when shown with Smenkhkare or Neferneferuaten - usually she was explicitly named as the daughter of Nefertiti. So in conclusion I think it is very likely that the sequence was GRW Nefertiti (before year 8), Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (years 8 to 16), then Neferneferuaten (year 16+) and eventually Smenkhkare (sole rule up to a year 3, or coregent and sole rule).
On a boundary stela dated Year 6 Nefertiti is already Nefertiti Neferneferuaten [The rock tombs of El Amarna : Davies, Norman de Garis, 1865-1941 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive right page]. On the stelae with the Earlier Proclamation we can see both the forms [in this case there are traces of "aten" in what remains of the cartouche of the Great Royal Wife The rock tombs of El Amarna : Davies, Norman de Garis, 1865-1941 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive left page]. This is why I tend to indicate Year 5 as the moment when Nefertiti acquired that "Neferneferuaten".
 
Apr 2019
208
UK
That would make sense and also have some connection to Akhenaten changing his name - both the king and queen then have -aten names from the commencement of the new city.
 
Nov 2019
2
Moscow
A great dramatization of the Amarna period and its fall is Mika Waltari's The Egyptian, [Link removed by mod]
 
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AlpinLuke

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Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Nov 2016
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Germany
Queen Nefertiti may be one of two mummies already found, says leading Egyptian archaeologist
Unfortunately, it is not possible here to discuss any findings based on DNA tests. I hardly dare to raise concerns about the possible inadequacy of the test methods...
 
Apr 2019
208
UK
We have to consider that if Nefertiti and Ankhesenamun ended up in KV21 maybe that is their actual tomb, and they were not deemed worthy of anything better at the time. Given that the former is likely to have been out of favour given her close association with Akhenaten and the Aten religion, and the latter was likely the queen in discussion with the Hittites about marrying one of their princes, perhaps both never received a high status burial at all, and Zahi's search for tombs is a waste of time?

Without getting into hot water over the subject we cannot address, if test results lead to this conclusion the issues over the identity of the KV55 body come back into play again. Simply, KV55 can not be the father of both Tut and KV21A (supposedly Ankhensenamun). KV21A is likely the mother of the foetuses from KV62, and Tut is 99% certain to be the father. The context the foetuses were found in strongly implies they are Tut's children anyway.

So, if KV21B is Nefertiti and KV21A Ankhensenamun, we need to reconsider the identities of KV55 and we still have no clue who KV35 is. I am going to revisit this at Egyptian Dreams so the evidence can be unpicked properly as it gets a bit in-depth.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,365
Italy, Lago Maggiore
We are not going to discuss how they have obtained or will obtain [if they will obtain] definitive results about the relations of KV21A and KV21B with other mummies.

In this context we can discuss the possible reasons why mother and daughter had buried there and if KV21 can be considered their actual tomb.

And as noted by @rymerster, if Nefertiti is there we will have to discuss again the identity of other bodies as well. Sure she wouldn't be the "Younger Lady" and the presence of Ankhesenamun as KV21A makes it difficult that KV55 is Akhenaten.
Anyway to dodge this problem someone has suggested that the mother of the two foetuses in Tut's tomb was an other wife, a minor one. But now that we could have mother [Nefertiti = KV21B] and daughter [Ankhesenamun = KV21A] we could determine if that mummy is Ankhesenamun ... [if KV21B will result her mother]. Obviously KV21B could be the mother of a secondary wife of Tut, so not Nefertiti.

Historically we cannot sustain that Tut had those foetuses from a secondary wife. We know only Ankhesenamun. So ... of KV21B is mother of KV21A ... KV21B is probably Nefertiti.