Mummified Legs are Believed to be Queen Nefertari’s

kim kardashian

Archaeologists believe that a pair of mummified legs on display at the Egyptian Museum in Turin are likely to belong to the Egyptian Queen Nefertari, the favored Royal Consort of Pharaoh Ramses II (Ancient Egypt, New Kingdom, 19th Dynasty c. 1250 BC). An international team of archaeologists, including Dr. Stephen Buckley and Professor Joann Fletcher from the University of York‘s Department of Archaeology, came to this conclusion after a thorough analysis of the remains.

Using a variety of methods including radiocarbon dating, anthropology, paleopathology, genetics, chemistry and Egyptology. The team discovered that the dismembered legs belonged to an adult female of about 40 years of age.

A chemical analysis leads researchers to believe that the materials used in the mummification process are consistent with other 13th Century BC Ramesside mummies.

Researchers state in an open access PLOS ONE paper that all the objects found in the excavated tomb also reinforce their beliefs that they did in fact, discover the burial place of Queen Nefertari.

Professor Fletcher told the Guardian that Queen Nefertari’s “main role” was to be the decorative bystander when Ramses was flexing his pharaonic muscles at public events, and she was there as the eye candy.”

She was not only “a striking woman.” Fletcher believes she “exerted a quiet power behind the throne.”

Ramesses II called her ‘The one for whom the sun shines’.

Queen Nefertari’s position as a favorite wife afforded her an elaborate tomb in the Valley of the Queens. However, in ancient times, it was robbed by tomb raiders. Only several objects remained when the burial place was discovered by Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904.

The pair of mummified legs were one of those few objects.

Credit: Joann Fletcher, University of York.
Mummified legs. Credit: Joann Fletcher, University of York.

The legs were originally believed to belong to Queen Nefertari and sent to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, but this hypothesis was never confirmed.

It was only recently that experts began their examination of the legs to determine if they did, in fact, belong to the deceased queen. 

The legs were sent to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, where there were generally believed to have belonged to Queen Nefertari, although they were never scientifically investigated.

“Having studied the woman, and having looked as so many images of her beautiful face, I think there is a sense of immense irony that physically this is what we have got,” Professor Fletcher told The Guardian.

“She has been reduced to knees. But because we don’t give up – it’s like: ‘we have got the knees, well, let’s do what we can with them,” he said.

“This has been the most exciting project to be part of, and a great privilege to be working alongside with some of the world’s leading experts in this area,” Professor Fletcher said in a statement from the University of York. “Both Stephen and myself have a long history studying Egypt’s royal mummies, and the evidence we’ve been able to gather about Nefertari’s remains not only complements the research we’ve been doing on the queen and her tomb but really does allow us to add another piece to the jigsaw of what is actually known about Egyptian mummification.”

Queen Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, is one of the most well known ancient Egyptian queens along with Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut.

She was highly educated and was literate in hieroglyphics, which is thought to have been used in her diplomatic work. Very few ancient Egyptians could read or write in hieroglyphs.

In addition to her grand tomb, QV66, which is one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens, Queen Nefertari also has a temple that was erected for her by the Pharaoh Ramses, next to his own monuent.

About Jessica Paek

Freelance writer and proud pet mom to two dogs and a cat. Self-proclaimed Pinterest curator and D.I.Y. queen. My research interests include power hierarchies and historical linguistics.

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