Egyptologist Claims To Have Discovered Queen Nefertiti's Mummy
Hawass: We have barely found 30 percent of everything that is underground. Image | Phillip Pikart at Wikipedia | CC-BY-3.0
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CAIRO - Dr. Zahi Hawass, a famous Egyptologist said that he is optimistic the mummy he is presently researching is that of Queen Nefertiti.
Dr. Hawass used to be the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in Egypt and has spent tens of years researching ancient Egyptian records as well as digging in ancient crypts and is now readying an exhibit about women in pharaonic Egypt called "Daughters of the Nile." Dr. Hawass announced to the Spanish newspaper El Independiente during an interview, “I'm sure I'll reveal Nefertiti's mummy in a month or two.” Queen Nefertiti also known as Neferneferuaten Nefertiti existed around 1370 to 1330 BC, and was wedded to Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti was the monarch during a time of great prosperity and was the mother of King Tutankhamun. It is assumed by several Egyptologists that after Akhenaten passed away, Nefertiti came into power as queen. There are some who disagree with this, including Dr. Hawass. MSN quoted Dr. Hawass as saying, "I am still looking for two things: [Nefertiti's] grave and her body. I really believe that Nefertiti ruled Egypt for three years after Akhenaten's death under the name of Smenkhkare". Although crucial ancient Egyptian items and several pharaohs have been found, Queen Nefertiti has yet to be officially labeled.
Dr. Hawass said, "We already have DNA from the 18th dynasty mummies, from Akhenaten to Amenhotep II or III and there are two unnamed mummies labeled KV21a and b," he said. "In October we will be able to announce the discovery of the mummy of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, and her mother, Nefertiti. There is also in tomb KV35 the mummy of a 10-year-old boy. If that child is the brother of Tutankhamun and the son of Akhenaten, the problem posed by Nefertiti will be solved... I am sure that I will reveal which of the two unnamed mummies could be Nefertiti," as quoted by MSN. The ancient Egyptians preserved the bodies of their most esteemed people through the process of mummification in an extended operation that took up to 70 days, the Smithsonian Museum stated. To begin with, all of the inner organs with the exclusion of the heart were extracted in order to slow the decomposition process. This was usually done with uniquely hooked instruments to draw out the brain in segments through the nose. After that, most of the organs were then placed in jars and interred with the body. Once that process had been concluded the body would then be dried out utilizing natron, which is a special type of salt that would be covered on the inside and outside of the body. The bodies were then swaddled in linen and laid in a crypt. Despite having been a significant area of fascination and curiosity for nearly 100 years, it is speculated that there are still many unexplored tombs and stores of old stockpiles within the sands of Egypt.
Dr. Hawass said, "We have barely found 30 percent of everything that is underground. A few days ago a mission found tombs inside several houses in Alexandria...Modern Egypt is built on the Ancient. And that is why the heritage that remains hidden is immense," as quoted by MSN. Some of these undiscovered treasure troves may be lost to the sands of time before they can ever be researched, Dr. Hawass said, "I sincerely believe that [the main threat to the conservation of Egyptian heritage] is climate change and the question is: How can the tombs of the Valley of the Kings be protected? If we leave the situation as it is now, in a century, all the graves will have completely disappeared. We have to equip ourselves with a protection plan, especially for tombs and temples. Once a year I usually take a picture of the Kom Ombo temple walls and every time I go back 5 percent of the reliefs have faded. We must work to control climate change," as quoted by MSN. Dr. Hawass proposed the idea of a retainment system where Egypt would open and then close the crypts as a way to protect antiquity. "There must be a center to control climate change and tourism," Dr. Hawass said. "Tourism is the enemy of archaeology, but we must seek an intermediate point between the need for tourism for the economy and the preservation of Egyptian monuments. It is something extremely important."
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