Search for Nefertiti

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9780060585563: Search for Nefertiti

Her power was rivaled only by her beauty. Her face has become one of the most recognizable images in the world. She was an independent woman and thinker centuries before her time. But who was Egypt's Queen Nefertiti? After years of intense research, Dr. Joann Fletcher has answered the questions countless researchers before her could not. While studying Egyptian royal wigs, she read a brief mention of an unidentified and mummified body, discovered long ago and believed to belong to an Egyptian of little importance. This body happened to have a wig, which Dr. Fletcher knew was a clear sign of power. After examining the hairpiece and the woman to which it belonged, to the astonishment of her colleagues she identified this body as the missing remains of Queen Nefertiti. The search for Nefertiti had ended. She had been found. But the questions were just beginning. Nefertiti first rose to prominence in Egyptology in 1912, when a three-thousand-year-old bust of the queen was unearthed and quickly became a recognizable artifact around the world. But pieces of Nefertiti's life remained missing. The world had seen what she looked like, but few knew about her place in history. Virtually nothing is recorded about Nefertiti's early years. What is known about her life starts with her rise to power, her breaking through the sex barrier to rule as a virtual co-Pharaoh alongside her husband, Akhenaten. Upon his death she took full control of his kingdom. The Egyptian people loved her and celebrated her beauty in art, but the priests did not feel the same way. They believed Nefertiti's power over her husband was so great that she would instill her monotheistic beliefs upon him, rendering their own power obsolete. Egyptologists concur that it was these priests who, upon Nefertiti's death, had her name erased from public record and any likeness of her defaced. This ultimately led to her being left out of history for three thousand years.

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About the Author:

Dr. Joann Fletcher is an honorary research and teaching fellow at the University of York, where she teaches Egyptian funerary archaeology and mummification. The author of numerous articles and books, she also lectures widely. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

From Publishers Weekly:

Oftentimes, the best scholarship uses the investigation of one thing (such as a historical episode or a scientific anomaly) to speak to wider human and cultural truths. Fletcher’s study of the life of the legendary queen Nefertiti is scholarship in just this sense. A learned and intensely personal book, it spans Fletcher’s near-lifelong involvement with the study of Egyptian culture, from her first trip to Egypt as a teenager in 1981 to her most recent excavation in February 2003. Along the way, she provides the reader with a concise introduction to ancient Egyptian history as well as a rough guide to the shifting ideological landscape of professional Egyptology over the last 200 years. Colored by patriarchal assumptions and the personal ambitions of the men who first excavated the desert, Egyptology tends to focus on the most powerful men of ancient Egypt: kings ruling their country (and families) with unquestioned authority. This book is in part an attempt to correct such biases and challenge reigning assumptions about gender roles in ancient Egypt. Fletcher specializes in the study of "everyday" objects like hair, jewelry and clothing that are often passed over or discarded by Egyptologists. The sections of the book devoted to them offer compelling revelations about the identities of anonymous royal figures and the complex relations among and within dynasties. Ultimately, whether or not readers agree with the hypothesis Fletcher draws from her thrilling examination of the so-called Younger Woman (who she believes is Nefertiti) interred in tomb KV.35 in the Valley of Kings is irrelevant; this book is an inspiring record of a life devoted to the highest scholarship. 24 pages of color photos.
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