Amarna in the 21st century -  - ebook

Amarna in the 21st century ebook



This volume of KBSAÄ is dedicated to one of the dearly beloved topics of both Egyptology and the interested public: the so called Amarna-Period. Although brief in time – merely 17 years – this reign is seen as having left a major impact on Egyptian history, culture and religion. This volume brings together some recent researches concerning the Amarna-Period: Kristin Thompson: Stone Inlays from the Great Aten Temple: New Discoveries Natalia Klimczak: Who was Kiya Wolfgang Winter: Zur Chronologie der Beamtengräber in Tell el Amarna Heidi Köpp-Junck Ikonographische und textliche Belege für Frauen auf Streitwagen in der Amarnazeit Christian Huyeng Revolutionist or Reactionary? Akhenaten´s Archaism Grigorios I. Kontopoulos Tutankhamun’s widow pledge: True or False? A different perspective of diplomatic marriage as recorded in Suppiluliuma’s biography Barbara Kündiger Amarna am Bauhaus. Der Rekonstruktionsversuch des Amarnahauses 1916 und das Versuchshaus „Haus am Horn“ 1923

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Stone Inlays from the Great Aten Temple: New Discoveries

Who was Kiya

Zur Chronologie der Beamtengräber in Tell el Amarna

Ikonographische und textliche Belege für Frauen auf Streitwagen in der Amarnazeit

Revolutionist or Reactionary? Akhenaten´s Archaism

Tutankhamun’s widow pledge: True or False? A different perspective of diplomatic marriage as recorded in Suppiluliuma’s biography

Amarna am Bauhaus. Der Rekonstruktionsversuch des Amarnahauses 1916 und das Versuchshaus „Haus am Horn“ 1923


This volume of KBSAÄ is dedicated to one of the dearly beloved topics of both Egyptology and the interested public: the so called Amarna-Period. Although brief in time – merely 17 years – this reign is seen as having left a major impact on Egyptian history, culture and religion. This volume brings together some recent researches concerning the Amarna-Period.

The volume will present a wide range of topics and therefore can be seen as a good example of the Amarna research in the 21st century. 3500 years after Akhenaten´s death his reign still is a wide field for scientific research. New excavations will change expand our knowledge about the city Amarna while critical work on the texts, reliefs and statues can enrich our point of view concerning religion, culture and art of the reign of Akhenaten. One fact still remains very important: Egyptological myths are until today very much alive and it is our task to decide if we discuss what we want to see and want to conclude or if we work on the hard facts!

We hope your enjoy the lecture of KBSAÄ 3.

Gelsenkirchen, June 2015, the editors



Kristin Thompson

Inlays are among the most familiar of small finds from the royal buildings of ancient Akhetaten. During his single season at Amarna, SIR WILLIAM FLINDERS PETRIE found many hundreds of them, particularly in the Great Aten Temple (GAT) and the Great Palace. They were made of stone, glass, and faience, and he described them in his publication Tell el-Amarna (1894). The Petrie Museum of Egyptology in London contains drawers full of such inlays. PETRIE’S finds have also made their way into other museums internationally.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Egypt Exploration Society’s excavations also turned up many inlays in the GAT and Great Palace. Museums and other institutions contributing modest sums to the expedition received distribution objects in return, often consisting of fragmentary inlays, baboon figurines, and the familiar fired-clay moulds used for making faience jewelry.

Of the inlays, the ones made of faience are often the most attractive, since they typically contain portions of brightly painted scenes of nature. Even a small portion of an inlay may contain a blossom, a duck’s head, a fish’s scales, or a tiny calf gamboling through tall vegetation. Such fragments easily conjure up larger scenes of the teeming life created and protected by the Aten.

Stone inlays, though often made of beautifully colored materials, may have less obvious appeal. They tended to form parts of larger assemblies, the nature of which are often less evident from single inlays. The many stone inlays discovered in the front portion of the Great Aten Temple (GAT) represented such things as hieroglyphs, parts of cartouche borders, and elements in patterns set into architectural elements such as cornices. In isolation they are less evocative than the faience pieces, so museums are likely to keep them in storage rather than on display.

Many stone inlays and inlay fragments have been discovered during the first three years of the current reexcavation of the GAT (2012-14), often paralleling those found by Petrie. By the end of the spring, 2014 season, nearly 140 such fragments had been registered. They hint at the elaborate and colorful decoration that must have adorned surfaces in the large front section of the temple. They also display the high degree of creative skill to be found at Amarna. Sculptors worked in hard stones such as quartzite of various colors, local finegrained hard limestone, diorite, granodiorite, and white and green marble.

The task of trying to locate the original locale and context of these inlays has been enormously complicated by the fact that the front end of the GAT went through four distinct building phases. Evidence indicates that there was an early set of structures at the front end of the temple which were torn down and broken up at some point in the building’s history. The resulting architectural and sculptural fragments were used as fill. Some were mixed with the sand used to build up the ground level under parts of the new front structures. Other fragments went into the gypsum of the foundations of the long platforms upon which the later phase of the temple was constructed.

One major source of new pieces was a large spoil heap of material excavated from the front end of the GAT by the EES team led by JOHN PENDLEBURY during the 1930s and deposited on the denuded pylon. This material was sifted during the 2012 and 2013 seasons1. During the 2014 season, additional finds left behind in dumps by the 1930s team were made in a set of rectangular gypsum basins located between the front entrance to the temple and the entrance to the Long Temple2.

Thus the inlays represent a mixture of pieces. Some presumably came from the later phase of the temple and were found more or less in situ. Other pieces found abandoned in dumps by the EES could belong to either phase. Still other pieces were created during the earlier phase and have been found as they were reused by Akhenaten’s builders. These latter pieces had in many cases dropped from the foundations of the long platforms as the plaster deteriorated.

The sorting out and interpretation of the temple’s phases and its earlier excavations are part of the ongoing GAT project. This article seeks only to present a grouping of the types of finds made so far and to indicate where they were excavated.

PETRIE provides a vivid description of his initial discoveries of inlays in the Great Palace and the front of the GAT. It is worth quoting at length, since much of what he describes resembles what has appeared among the recent finds:

„Another branch of sculpturing was developed in the abundant use of inlaying. This was found only at the west side of the palace, and about the massive foundations near the entrance of the temenos of the great temple. It is but seldom that the inlaid hieroglyphs have lasted in their settings through all the shocks of the breaking up the stones; the more so as the hollows and the pieces are usually much rounded, and the workmen trusted more to the plaster than to fitting. A favourite stone for being thus inlaid, was the extremely hard smooth white limestone [i.e., indurated limestone]. In the temple enclosure parts of a cornice of this were found, and dozens of black granite [i.e., diorite and granodiorite] and red quartzite pieces for inlaying. Another block there was inlaid with glazed work; a flying duck, naturally painted, still occupying its place. In the palace some flakes for the blocks of stone were found with the hollows for the inlaying, and with some pieces still in place. These were black granite inlayed in yellow quartzite; white alabaster in red granite; black obsidian, red quartzite, red limestone, and black granite in white limestone. But most of the remains consisted of loose hieroglyphs, which had been lost out of the inlaying when the palace was quarried and destroyed. These pieces were mostly in black granite, and comprised borders of cartouches, kheper, maat, nefer, heq, and many other signs common in the inscriptions of this reign. The enormous labour required to form the slender signs in such a brittle material as black granite is truly astonishing. But in smaller work they economised by using glass rod for the thin lines while retaining stone for the wider pieces3.“

In 2004, a thin granodiorite fragment of a hieroglyph of the type PETRIE describes here was found near the front of the GAT (Amarna magazine S-5736; Pl. 1). This and dozens of other surface finds in both the rear and front parts of the temple hinted that a re-clearance of the temple was warranted.

II. Inscriptions

Most of the fragments from inscriptions discovered during the first three years of excavation appear to be sections of cartouche borders. These occur in a variety of stones.

Many of these border fragments are dark gray, made of diorite or granodiorite, as in Plate 2. One such piece (S-8244) has one flat, finished end, indicating that the cartouches were made in segments that were attached end to end. This would have been necessary, since making a single thin, large loop of such brittle stone would have been impossible without breakage.

Another diorite piece with a series of grooves across its surface may represent the binding on the base of a cartouche (S-7737; Pl.3). Similar pieces of bindings were found near the back of the long platforms, where they had evidently been among many pieces from the earlier phase of the GAT re-used as fill in the gypsum plaster of the foundations. These include one in purple quartzite (S-7947, square U30), one in tan quartzite (S-7948, square T30), and two further pieces in diorite (S-7978, square U30).

Other inlays for cartouche bindings were found at the front of the long platforms. A large diorite fragment of cartouche binding (S-7979) came from square K31, and may have been found near the front of the temple and left as part of a dump by PENDLEBURY’s team. Similarly, a diorite binding of a large cartouche was discovered in square L26.

In comparison with the cartouche fragments, relatively few hieroglyphs have been discovered. A small flowering reed (S-7968; 4.5 cm high and only 2 mm thick) was found in square F32, where it might have been part of Pendlebury’s dump on the pylon. This piece was made on a considerably smaller scale than the nbbowl mentioned above and indicates a considerable range in the sizes of the inscriptions represented as inlays. Its delicacy recalls PETRIE’s remarks, quoted above, about the skill of Akhenaten’s artists in working with brittle stones, in this case diorite.

III. Pictorial Inlays

In comparison with the inlays from inscriptions, there are few that seem identifiably to originate in pictorial compositions. These are so scarce and were found so scattered across the excavated areas that there is no way to tell whether they were in situ or in dumps. Whether they belonged to the earlier or later phase of the temple is also impossible to determine.

A piece of yellow-brown quartzite represents part of the fingers of a hand, most probably an Aten hand in an offering scene (Amarna S-7562, Pl. 4). Another hand was skillfully carved in a locally occurring fine-grained yellow limestone, most familiar from the small statue of Akhenaten holding an offering table (Cairo JE43580). The hand has the thumbnail depicted, suggesting that it probably comes from a figure of Akhenaten or Nefertiti rather than an Aten ray (Amarna S-7531, Pl. 5). Other inlays in yellow limestone may be parts of the arms of the king or queen but are not clearly identifiable.

One notable granodiorite inlay represents a portion of an elaborate sidelock of youth from a princess figure (S-8202, Pl. 6).

A single duck’s foot in light-brown quartzite (Amarna S-7945) was discovered at the very front of the first pylon (square E34), possibly originating from the EES dump4.

All of these pieces are well under life-size, as are some tiny fragments of granodiorite beads from a crown inlay (Amarna S-7977 and 8290). An offering scene utilizing such small-scale parts would not have shown up well spread across a large wall. Despite the large scale of the architecture at the front of the GAT, there must have been panels appropriate for smaller scenes.

IV. Indurated-limestone Cornices with Inlaid Patterns

Petrie mentions having found pieces of white cornices in indurated limestone with recesses for inlays, along with the inlays themselves, made of diorite, granodiorite, and red quartzite. Seven fragments of the same or a similar cornice were found during the current excavations. All had recesses for inlays of a feather pattern. The largest of these, Amarna S-8326 (W 21.8 cm, H 10.3, D 13.5) retains portions of six such recesses (Pl. 7). The individual pieces for inlay in such a pattern have parallel sides, a convexly curved top, and a concavely curved bottom edge. The inlays Petrie describes presumably were of this type.

During three seasons additional such inlays have been found: seventeen in diorite, five in granodiorite, and seven in red quartzite. Although some are broken, several survive nearly complete, with chips around the edges (S-7750 and 7751; Pl. 8 and 9). In Plate 10, four of the inlays have been temporarily replaced in the recesses of S-8326 to suggest its original appearance.

The cornice pieces were presumably part of a small building, perhaps a chapel, constructed of indurated limestone. Pieces of walls and of apparent torus molding, along with other architectural elements, have also been recovered during the recent seasons. These require further study to determine the nature of the structure, and additional pieces may turn up in upcoming seasons. The building from which the fragments originated may have been part of the earlier phase of the front of the GAT, having apparently been included in the material broken up and used as fill in the construction of the later phase.

The find spots of the inlays offer little evidence as to the building’s original location. They have originated from the entry area and back of the lengthy front part of the GAT. Of the feather-pattern inlays, ten were found in grid square T30, near the back of the long platforms, where they had been used as fill in the gypsum foundations. An additional six were found in nearby squares S30, U30, and W33. In contrast, only five were found in the area of the front pylon (squares E32, F32, and F33) and possibly were part of the dump material left there by the EES expedition. Others were found scattered in an EES spoil-heap south of the Long Temple, one in the plaster-basin dumps, and elsewhere.

V. An Intact Glass Inlay from an Offering Scene

Petrie’s description of finding blocks with intact inlays in both the GAT and the GP, quoted above, is tantalizing, and perhaps more such fragments remain to be found in the GAT. During the first three seasons, however, only one small intact inlay has been discovered (S-7898, Pl. 11). This piece of light tan quartzite contains the upper portion of a sistrum, probably held by a princess in the common pose of standing behind her parents in an offering scene.

On the left is a short fragment of black glass. PETRIE’s remark that “in smaller works they economised by using glass rod for the thin lines while retaining stone for the wider pieces” seemingly applies here. The sistrum head in the relief is 2.6 cm. wide, and the inlay is less than a centimeter.

It seems unlikely that the piece formed part of a vertical line dividing registers of an inscription. Possibly it represents a stretch of a cartouche border naming Nefertiti as the princess’ mother, but the surface is not rounded enough to suggest such a border.

The inlay is held in place by gypsum which has been copiously and not very meticulously applied. The gypsum has oozed out at the sides and even smeared over portions of the inlay’s top surface. To compound the problem, the recessed channel prepared for the inlay appears distinctly too large for it, so that the inlay is sunk deeply into it, leaving the recess’ sides partially visible. This detail follows another passage from PETRIE’s description of the inlays he discovered: “It is but seldom that the inlaid hieroglyphs have lasted in their settings through all the shocks of the breaking up of the stones; the more so as the hollows and the pieces are usually much rounded, and the workmen trusted more to the plaster than to fitting.5”

PETRIE would have been describing pieces like one he discovered, considerably larger than S-7898 and containing glass inlays in various colors. It is now in the Petrie Museum (UC190)6. As with S-7898, some of the recesses seem distinctly larger than the inlays, with the white gypsum visible around the outlines of some of them and generous coatings of gypsum remaining in the rounded recesses that have lost their inlays.

No doubt some of the inlay work at Amarna was exquisite, but the actual fitting of the inlays into the recesses seems to have been a weak point in the creative process. This would have been especially true for glass inlays, where a separate team of artists would have prepared the stone walls with recesses to receive these inlays. They probably did not work closely with the artisans dealing with the glass inlays.

S-7898 was found in grid square K31, in the area of the southern-most of the row of three gypsum basins. It was probably left there as a part of the PENDLEBURY-era dump.

VI. Marble inlays in the GAT: Some preliminary remarks

In PAUL T. NICHOLSON and IAN SHAW’SAncient Egyptian Materials and Technology, the section on marble says that, “The only demonstrated uses of the Gebel Rokham marble are Eighteenth-Dynasty sculptures, including several statues of Thutmose III and a few other objects of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun7. In Amarna: City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, JULIA SAMSON8 identifies two inlays in the Petrie Museum (UC680 and UC245249) as being made of marble. The feather-pattern piece (second row down, second from left) is green in color, though this was not apparent from the black-and-white photograph in the book. The other piece, the small spatula-shaped object in the top row, third from left, does not appear to be green and may not be part of the group of marble fragments.

The current excavation at the GAT has yielded 33 pieces of extremely fine-grained stone inlays, eleven of them white and 21 green. These are almost certainly marble10. The find-spots were scattered across the front end of the temple and the eastern ends of the long gypsum platforms. Most of the white ones were discovered in the E and F squares covering the PENDLEBURY dump area around the front pylon, but one came from S32, near the back of the platforms. Many of the green fragments also came from the area of the pylon dumps, but a few were apparently left by PENDLEBURY’s team in the basin dumps, and three came from the back of the gypsum platforms. Thus the original location or locations of these marble pieces in the temple decoration so far remain elusive.

The white ones included an apparent cartouche border (S-7666, Pl. 12) and a small, complete piece with curved, tapering sides and a concave indentation on each end (S-7749, Pl. 13). The nature of S-7749 is unclear, though it may represent a small part of a plant, fish, or bird11.

Most of the green-marble pieces found in recent seasons at the GAT are flat with a matte surface and beveled undersides, as in Figures 14 and 15 (S-7630, recto and verso). Three, however, are worked in a way that may suggest the pieces were all part of a scene or decorative border representing vegetation. One small, delicately carved piece with grooves and a scalloped edge represents a flower (S-7730, Pl. 16). It is 1.7 cm high, 1.9 wide, and. 2 deep; the darker green patches are chlorite12. Another piece contains a fan of uneven grooves that suggest a clump of grass or other plants (S-8246, Pl. 17). Two joining pieces retain the full width and height of a single small tile crossed by parallel grooves along the length (S-8245, L 6.2 cm, W 2.5, D. 7; Pl. 18). If the grooves run vertically across the piece, it might conceivably represent the stems of an area of large plants, possibly reeds.

Although PETRIE does not mention such inlays in his publication, he discovered a large number of them. There are at least 78 in the Petrie Museum. Others may have been distributed to other museums that supported PETRIE’s work. Most of the ones in the Petrie Museum are green. Again, many are flat, but there are others with grooves similar to the stem-like ones on S-8245. There is the blossom referenced above. Others have uneven grooves surfaces suggesting large clusters of pointed leaves, as in Figure 19 (UC1541, H 6.3 cm). A few are rounded at one end and taper toward the other, perhaps representing large individual leaves.

These and other similar pieces in the Petrie Museum tend to confirm that the green-marble inlays originated as parts of inlaid scenes depicting vegetation. There are no other pieces that suggest any other subject matter. How the inlays with decorated surfaces related to those with flat surfaces is unclear. Possibly the flat ones fitted together to form the surface of a body of water beside which the plants grew. Perhaps further seasons will turn up additional pieces that will clarify the nature of such scenes.

The new discoveries of stone inlays from the front end of the GAT enhance PETRIE’s original description. They suggest that the entryway into the temple was a colorful area decorated with a variety of fine stones. Looking at them with a little imagination, we can envision some of the splendor of the largest temple in ancient Akhetaten.

1 KEMP, in: JEA 98 (2012), 10; JEA 99 (2013), 21.

2 The 2011-12 report contains a plan laying out the grid numbers for the pylon and Platform Building (apparently a small palace) which were the find spots for many of the inlays mentioned in this essay. See Pl. 7, p. 12. The 2012-13 report contains a larger-scale plan laying out the numbered grids for the gypsum-bases area. See Pl. 12, p. 25. See BARRY KEMP’s forthcoming report on the 2014 season in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.

3 PETRIE, Tell el-Amarna, 11-12. An example of white inlays, whether of “alabaster” (i.e., travertine) or some other white stone such as marble, inserted into a granite architectural element is on display in the Amarna cases of the Petrie Museum. Search UC257 at:

4 (For images of this familiar type of inlay, see SAMSON Amarna, Pl. 44, p. 73, middle row, far right.)

5 PETRIE, Tell el-Amarna, 11.

6 See the museum’s website: This piece is also conveniently reproduced in SEYFRIED (ED.), Im Licht von Amarna, 265.

7 ASHTON/HARRELL/SHAW, in: NICHOLSON/SHAW (ED) Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, 45.

8 SAMSON, Amarna, 72-73, pl. 44.

9 Search the Petrie Museum’s online catalogue for images: UC680,

10 I am grateful to James Harrell, who joined the team at Amarna for four days during the 2014 spring season and generously helped in identifying these fragments as almost certainly being marble. He suggested Gebel Rokham as a likely source for colored marble in the New Kingdom. Ongoing scientific research on parallel pieces in the Petrie Museum, made possible by ALICE STEVENSOn and the museum staff, will likely confirm the identification and the source.

11 There is at least one white-marble fragment in the Petrie Museum, UC46530, searchable online at It is probably another fragment of a cartouche border.

12 Again there is a parallel piece in the Petrie Museum, UC1546, though it is less finely carved, with the spaces between the tips of the petals not carved out. Search at



“Stone,” ,5-77 in: N


, P


T./ S


, I



Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology,

Cambridge 2000.


Tell el-Amarna, 2011-12,



98 (2012), 1-26.

Tell el-Amarna, 2012-13,



99 (2013), 20-31.


Tell el-Amarna.,

London 1894, rep. Warminster 1974.


Amarna: City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Nefertiti as Pharaoh.

London 1978.


In the Light of Amarna: 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery.

Berlin 2012.

List of Plates13

Pl. 1 Granodiorite hieroglyph, probably slightly over half of a nb-bowl, from near the front of the Great Aten Temple (Amarna S-5736).

Pl. 2 A fragment of an unusually thin cartouche border in diorite (Amarna S-7631).

Pl. 3 A probable binding for the bottom of a cartouche, in diorite (Amarna S-7737).

Pl. 4 Quartzite hand, probably from an Aten ray (Amarna S-7562).

Pl. 5 Hand of Akhenaten or Nefertiti, in yellow limestone (Amarna S-7571). Note the roughened, recessed area, probably prepared for an inlay of paste.

Pl. 6 Part of a princess’ complex sidelock of youth in granodiorite (Amarna S-8202).

Pl. 7 A fragment of an indurated-limestone cornice (Amarna S-8326) with recesses for inlays in a feather pattern.

Pl. 8 A red-quartzite inlay from a feather pattern on a cornice (Amarna S-7751).

Pl. 9 A granodiorite inlay from a feather pattern on a cornice (Amarna S-7750).

Pl. 10 Temporary insertion of two granodiorite and two quartzite inlays into S-8326.

Pl. 11 An intact black-glass inlay next to a sistrum in an offering scene (Amarna S-7898).

Pl. 12 A probable white-marble fragment of a cartouche border (Amarna S-7666).

Pl. 13 A probable white-marble fragment of an inlay (Amarna S-7749).

Pl. 14 Recto of a flat green-marble inlay (Amarna S-7630).

Pl. 15 Verso of the same inlay.

Pl. 16 Small inlay of a flower (Amarna S-7730).

Pl. 17 Green-marble inlay, perhaps a clump of grass (Amarna S-8246).

Pl. 18 A green-marble tile with parallel grooves (Amarna S-8245).

Pl. 19 A green-marble tile suggesting vegetation (UC1541).


Plate 1

Plate 2

Plate 3

Plate 4

Plate 5

Plate 6

Plate 7

Plate 8

Plate 9

Plate 10

Plate 11

Plate 12

Plate 13

Plate 14

Plate 15

Plate 16

Plate 17

Plate 18

Plate 19

13 Kristin Thompson is the Registrar of Stone Fragments for The Amarna Project. Figures 2-6, 8-9, and 11-15 are by Gwil Owen. Figure 1 is by Barry Kemp. The others are by the author. Figure 19 is copyright the Petrie Museum and reproduced with permission.



Natalia Klimczak

The possibility of the reconstruction of any historical person starts to get more realistic when there are sufficient sources. Unfortunately in the case of the royal spouse Kija, wife of Akhenaten, this is not an easy task.

The majority of sources we have are just pieces of broken monuments, reliefs, and inscriptions. Therefore it seems to be a very big challenge to find the “real” Kija behind that.

Only her name, written in the forms kiya, kiw, kia, kaia and one title are known for her. This title is m.t mry.t .t, which means “The Great Beloved Wife”, a unique title in the history of Egypt. We cannot be sure that Kija is her only name or maybe just a rn nfr, but until now archaeologists could not identify another name which can surely be connected with her.

All evidence found at archaeological sites and the obscure title suggest that she has been an important person at the royal court of Amarna.

DODSON summed up some “facts” about Kija in his book about the Amarna Age:

„Her origins are wholly obscure; a suggestion that she might be Tadukhepa, a princess from the North Syrian state of Mitanni who had been sent to Egypt as a diplomatic bride, is interesting but without direct evidence. Kiya is known from a range of monuments and objects, but in most cases they have been usurped by other persons during Akhenaten’s reign: her coffin was adapted for a pharaoh’s burial, while most of her relief representations were recut and relabelled for Princess Meryetaten (or on occasion Ankhesenpaaten), implying disgrace.”14

Especially the idea of a disgraced Kija seems to be a reasonable explanation for her sudden disappearance but as long as we have painful gaps in the biography of the Beloved Wife of Akhenaten it is not more than a hypothesis.

First of all, we only know that pictures of Kija have been re-cut into portraits of other members of the royal family, mostly Merit-Aten. That is not a certain proof of her falling in disgrace. Although it is hard to understand what happened to Kiya as time passed, every theory connected with the fact that she disappeared is mere imagination.

We do not know the exact date of Kija´s death although the last time she is detected is around the year 12/13 of Akhenaten. Therefore researchers may try to reconstruct the events that create the mystery of Kija and her disappearance in comparison to known facts but as long as we do not have more artefacts and archaeological finds, we cannot create the proper answer for this problem.

The speculations do not start with her disappearance but in fact with her origins. As DODSON already mentioned, one theory is, that in fact she is identical to the Mittani-Princess Tadukhepa. Other, more recent ideas see her as a sister of Akhenaten. This is connected to the results of a new DNA-analysis15.

According to this analysis the mother of Tutankhamun was a woman known as Younger Lady whose body has been found in the second Cachette. The mummy of this young woman had been found in 1907.

FLETCHER16 identified the mummy with Nefertiti in 2010, before the DNA analysis while SCHLÖGL still thinks that the body of the young lady is that of the famous main queen of Akhenaten17.

The problem: The DNA tests showed – without doubt – that the older lady, a mummy found directly next to the younger lady, is queen Tiy, mother of Akhenaten and wife of Amenhotep III. The mummy labelled with Amenhotep III. could be identified as the father, the older lady as the mother of the younger lady. The male mummy found in the tomb KV 55 is identified as the father of Tutankhamun, and the son of the elder lady and of Amenhotep III. The younger lady is Tutankhamun´s mother. Those facts are certain. SCHLÖGL thinks that in fact the mummy called Amenhotep III is Ay, while the mummy of queen Tiy does belong to his wife Ti.

Regarding to inscriptions found in the tomb of Ay, Nefertiti was his daughter and the sister of Mutnedjmet. The theory of SCHLÖGL cannot explain who the mummy of the man in tomb KV 55 is. He calls him Semenkhkara and suggests he is a son of Amenhotep III and Tiy, while the DNA analysis made clear that he is a brother of the younger lady.

We do not know which of the several sisters of Akhenaten the younger lady is, but the important role and special title of Kija could be a hint that in fact this mummy belongs to her. For sure the mummy is not Nefertiti.

Apart from the mysterious mummy, probably the most important resource of knowledge about Kiya are four canopic jars found in KV55. They stay separated: one of her jars is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the other three are in Cairo. They are very characteristic examples of New Kingdom art with the face of the lid carved as a portrait. Since the day of their discovery in 1907, the faces have been variously identified as Nefertiti, Tiye, Merytamen or Kiya. Analyses by KRAUSS18 proved that the face of a woman with a long slender nose, sensuous lips and sloe eyes probably belonged to Kiya. The lid of the jar represents for sure one of the royal women of Amarna. She has got a hair-dress known as the Nubian wig. It was a very fashionable hairstyle for the noble and royal women of this period. The most striking evidence for sure are his reconstructions of the erased inscriptions.

There are also some reliefs with her name or appearance, fragments of statues, amulets, vases, fragmentary kohltubes, a wine-jar docket and other types of artefacts. Two of the biggest collections of objects connected with Kiya are in Cairo and New York. One of the most popular motives is the history of a sarcophagus19, now the part of Cairo Museum collection, which possibly belonged to Kiya, later adapted for purposes of a king´s funeral. Only in the case of very few objects we can read Kiya's name so it's likely that artefacts from her tomb where used once again in ancient times, as we can proof for the canopic jars.

Using only the available sources for the reconstruction of the person Kija, we do not have much information. Most of her pictures are destroyed and her name was erased or over-written. We cannot decide if all this happened during the lifetime of Akhenaten or was partially done during the general damnatio memoriae of the Amarna Kings that started under Haremhab. The re-cutting of a name does not necessarily mean that the person was disgraced as the example of queen Tiaa shows. Her name was put into inscriptions during the time of Thutmosis IV instead of the name of queen Hatshepsut-Meryt-Ra.

Therefore we cannot surely detect her social, political or religious role in the life of the Amarna court. The “fact” that she did not play a role in the religious life like queen Nefertiti must be as speculative as the thoughts about her uncommon royal title. In fact the only clear facts we have are that a person called Kija lived at least during the first twelve years of the reign of king Akhenaten, that the Maru-Aton belonged to her as did a sun-shade in the Aten-Temple and that this woman is marked as a secondary queen by her title great beloved wife.

Every attempt_of creating a valuable biography of Kiya seems to be unrealistic.

A problem seems to be that in the eyes of many researchers Kiya became one of the lesser important personalities connected to the history of Amarna. Many researchers already have made an attempt to connect all the facts we have about the city of Akhen-Aten and its citizens and find the best answers for many question. Unfortunately as long as we have many gaps in the history of this period we cannot answer them properly. We can only hope that one day Amarna Period will become less mysterious and more researchers will work on that time.

14 DODSON, Amarna Sunset, 16.

15 HAWASS/GAD/ISMAIL ; ETALII, in: JAMA 303 (7), 638–47.

16 FLETCHER, Search for Nefertiti..

17 SCHLÖGL, Nofretete: Die Wahrheit über die schöne Königin.

18 KRAUSS, in: MDAIK 42 (1986), 57-80.

19 DODSON, Amarna Sunset, 48.



Akhenaten, King of Egypt, London 1997.


The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt,

London 2004.


Amarna Sunset: Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, Ay, Horemheb, and the Egyptian Counter Reformation, Cairo 2009.


''Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun's Family", in:


303 (7), 638–47.


Search for Nefertiti, London, 2004.


Kija - ursprüngliche Besitzerin der Kanopen aus KV 55 , in: MDAIK 42 (1986), 57-80.


The Complete Tutankhamun, London 2000.


New Light on Kiya from Texts in the British Museum,

in: JEA 74 (1988), 100.


Nofretete: Die Wahrheit über die schöne Königin, München, 2014



Die hier zu betrachtenden Felsgräber der hohen Beamten Echnatons befinden sich im südlichen und nördlichen Gebirgssegment, das die um 1346 v. Chr. gegründete Residenzstadt Achetaton, beim heutigen Tell el Amarna, umgibt.

Auf den Felsstelen, die das Siedlungsgebiet beiderseits des Nils eingrenzen, beschreibt der Herrscher in Form eines Gottesprotokolls des Aton neben der Anlage der Stadt auch die Schaffung von Grabstätten im Gebirge des Ostens. Der Personenkreis der dort zu Bestattenden umfasst die Mitglieder der Königsfamilie, die Hohepriester des Aton, die Gottesväter und Diener des Aton, die Beamten und schließlich das gemeine Volk.20

Die Gewährung einer Grabstätte durch den Herrscher stellt für die Beamten den höchstmöglichen Ausdruck des königlichen Wohlwollens dar. Nach REEVES21 folgt die Herstellung der Grabanlage als staatliche Auftragsarbeit einem vorgegebenen Plan. ROEDER ergänzt:„…die Entwerfer der Bildwände in den Privatgräbern haben in Amarna Vorlagen und Musterbücher besessen, nach denen die königlichen Reliefs in den Tempeln und Palästen schon ausgeführt worden waren.22