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Amarna was one of the most fascinating and enigmatic periods in ancient Egyptian history. Amarna (or Akhetaten) was a city founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th century BC, and it served as the  capital of Egypt during his reign.

What makes Amarna such a unique period in Egyptian history is that Akhenaten introduced a radical new religious and artistic style that diverged from the traditional polytheistic beliefs and artistic conventions of ancient Egypt. Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti, worshipped the sun god Aten as the supreme deity, and this new religion was  depicted in art with a distinctive, elongated style that was quite different from the traditional Egyptian art.

Amarna was a city built entirely from scratch, and it was designed to reflect the new artistic and religious ideas of Akhenaten. The city featured grand temples, palaces, and homes, as well as  tombs for the royal family and their courtiers.

Despite its relatively short lifespan (Akhenaten ruled from 1353-1336 BC), Amarna continues to capture the imagination of scholars and the general public alike. The art, religion, and culture of this period provide a unique window into the mind of one of ancient Egypt's most intriguing rulers.

Join us as we explore the history, art, and culture of Amarna, and delve into the mystery and intrigue of this fascinating  period in ancient Egyptian history.

A majestic sculpture of Pharaoh Akhenaten under the sun disc of Aten. Source:  y EOL STUDIOS /Adobe Stock

How Akhenaten Demolished Centuries of Egyptian Tradition (Video)

In the historical upheaval orchestrated by Pharaoh Akhenaten , the once polytheistic tapestry of Egyptian beliefs unraveled. Akhenaten, a radical monarch, discarded centuries-old traditions by...
The teratoma tumor, including teeth, which was discovered within the Amarna crypt. Source: A. Deblauwe / Amarna Project

3,000-Year-Old Ovarian Tumor with Teeth Unearthed from Egyptian Tomb

A new study has highlighted the oldest documented instance of a teratoma discovered within the 3,000-year-old burial chamber of a young woman found in an ancient Egyptian cemetery. Teratomas are a...
Gold sandals and toe covers discovered in King Tut’s tomb, part of “The Discovery of King Tut" exhibition in New York City. (Mary Harrsch / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

These Objects Reveal Intimate Details of Tutankhamun's Life (Video)

Renowned Egyptologist Professor Joanne Fletcher curated a captivating exhibition in Barnsley, exploring the life of the famous pharaoh Tutankhamun. The exhibition not only celebrated Tutankhamun's...
Akhenaten plaster bust on the left and Smenkhkare plaster bust on the right of the funerary mask of Tutankhamun. Berlin’s Neues Museum. Behind is the sunrise near Amarna, Egypt. (Image: Courtesy Jonathon Perrin)

The Tut Is Not My Son!

It could be quite the talk show: Who is King Tut’s real father? The host would be handed an envelope with the paternity test results. The audience hushes, clutching their seats, biting their nails...
Fusion of elements: 1) the central city of Amarna, looking east (photo by author), a statue of Akhenaten, with the famous Minoan fresco from the Knossos Palace, “Ladies in Blue”, circa 1500 BC. (Public Domain)

Fair Winds Trade From the Aegean to Egypt’s Amarna

What do Queen Nefertari’s silver earrings , King Tutankhamun’s olive leaf collar, and an exquisite blue glass mixing vessel from Egypt have in common? They were all either a direct product of trade...
Avian artwork reproduced in facsimile painting from the Green Room found at Amarna’s North Palace. Source: Public domain

Exquisite Avian Artwork Created Sensory Relaxation Chamber for Egyptian Queen

Back in the 1920s, archaeologists working at Amarna’s North Palace in Egypt uncovered a “masterpiece of ancient Egyptian art.” This was the palace of Meritaten, the daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten and...
Ring bearing hieroglyphs found at Tel el-Amarna excavation. Source: MOTA

Intriguing Collection of Gold Jewelry Found at Amarna Burial

An Egyptian-English mission excavating a necropolis at Tel el-Amarna in Egypt has uncovered the burial of a young woman wrapped in textile and plant fiber matting. She carried a full complement of...
Karnak temple in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. Source: Calin Stan / Adobe Stock

The Ten Essential Ancient Egyptian Cities: Relics of Egypt’s Storied Past

The various civilizations which developed within ancient Egypt were some of the most technologically advanced and beautiful of their time, giving birth to some of the greatest cities the world has...
Ancient Legacy And Future Applications Of Glass

Ancient Legacy And Future Applications Of Glass

Today, glass is a mundane material mostly used in construction but in history it was among the treasures of kings and their royal dynasties. The history of glass-making dates back to at least 3,600...
Revealing the Face and Identity of the Controversial Mummy KV55

Revealing the Face and Identity of the Controversial Mummy KV55

Ever since mummy KV55 was discovered in 1907, it has generated deep interest, debate, and controversy. The big issues have been identifying the KV55 mummy in ancient Egyptian history and combining...
Considering how important the illumined sun disk was to Akhenaten and the Amarna period, it would be fascinating if we could detect any possible connection, correlation and perhaps even causation between historical events and ancient Egyptian solar eclipses of the Amarna era. Source: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin / CC BY-SA 4.0

Egyptian Eclipse Enigmas: Wild Solar Influences in the Amarna Age

The Amarna age of ancient Egypt lasted only twenty years, a relatively tiny slice of time, yet it irrevocably altered the course of the country’s art, religion, and language. From ~1350-1334 BC a...
Do Akhenaten’s Links With Shavuot Shed New Light on Moses? – Part 2

Do Akhenaten’s Links With Shavuot Shed New Light on Moses? – Part 2

Buried beneath the themes of first fruits and wheat offerings lie deeper connections between Shavuot and Akhenaten. These are suggestive and persuasive and go far beyond delicious foods and...
The origins of the Jewish festival Shavuot’s traditions are obscure. But what if they could be linked to Pharaoh Akhenaten, offering a new view on Moses? Pictures: Representation of Moses’ famous crossing of the sea. 	Source: Vlastimil Šesták / Adobe stock

An Akhenaten Connection to the Harvest Festival of Shavuot - Part 1

The Jewish festival of Shavuot is taking place around the world. It is an ancient celebration of the spring harvest of grains and first fruits. It is the year’s first wheat harvest, and Jews around...
One of the Amarna graves found with a head cone. Source: Courtesy of the Amarna Project via Antiquity Publications Ltd

First Examples of Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Found at Amarna

Ancient Egyptian art frequently depicted people wearing cone-shaped headgear, but for a long time no physical examples were found. Now, an international team of archaeologists report the discovery of...
A shofar is sounded under the light of the sun. Source: Rafael Ben-Ari /Adobe Stock.

“Shofar Away”: An Akhenaten Connection to the Jewish New Year

The lone blast of the shofar trumpet stretches out across the hills, illuminated by the first rays of the morning sun. The distinct sonorous call marks the important day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish...
Akhenaten, relief of the pylons of the house of Panehsy, Chief Servitor of the Aten. It depicts Akhenaten making offerings to the Aten.

Pharaoh Akhenaten: An Alternative View of the Heretic King

Amenhotep IV, also known as the Pharaoh Akhenaten, was destined to be remembered for his attempt at a religious conversion of ancient Egypt; one that saw the old gods put aside and replaced by a...
Faience amulet of the head of Bes from the Late Period, 26th to 30th Dynasties. The deity was worshipped and invoked by ordinary Egyptians as a protector against malevolent forces; design by Anand Balaji ( Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Deriv)

Bes, The Protector Deity: Exuberant Harbinger of Health, Happiness and Vitality – Part II

Few gods achieved the fame that the lion-dwarf Bes managed to garner. He was not only a popular god among the elite in ancient Egypt, but in time was worshipped by people of every strata of society...
Top Image: Painted limestone block from Amarna shows Akhenaten worshipping the Aten; while his daughter, Meritaten, shakes a sistrum; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum, New York); Deriv.

Was Meritaten the Ephemeral Ankhkheperure? Death of Nefertiti and Succession Games in the Royal Court – Part II

Given the virtual lack of royal males who were old enough to rule, disarray over who would assume the throne after Akhenaten’s death seems to have plagued the Amarna family. Having accorded...
Detail of a talatat block from Amarna supposedly shows Kiya with her unnamed daughter. It is also suggested that this is Nefertiti and Meritaten; design by Anand Balaji (Photo credit: Brooklyn Museum, New York); Deriv.

Was Meritaten the Ephemeral Ankhkheperure? Discovering the True Identity of Amarna’s Female Pharaoh – Part I

During the final years of the Atenist heresy, an obscure ruler came to the throne of Egypt. No one is certain about the identity of this person - especially if it was a man or a woman. Akhenaten’s...
Colossal statue of Amenhotep III in the British Museum. (Public Domain) Background: Detail of Amarna letter: Royal Letter from Abi-milku of Tyre to the king of Egypt. (CC0)

To the King, My Sun, My God, the Breath of My Life… Amarna Letters Paint Remarkable Picture of Ancient Egyptian Rulership

“Your city weeps, and her tears are running, and there is no help for us. For 20 years we have been sending to our lord, the king, the king of Egypt, but there has not come to us a word from our lord...
One of the four elegant canopic jar stoppers made of Egyptian alabaster that was discovered in a niche in Tomb 55; design by Anand Balaji

Quest for the Greatly Beloved Kiya: Her Mysterious Origins and Role in Court—Part I

Kiya, a secondary wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten is one of the most shadowy royals of the Amarna Period. Virtually nothing is known about her origin or the reasons for her disappearance. All that is...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: A World of Confusion in Akhetaten—Part II

The population that inhabited Akhenaten’s brand new city, Akhetaten, in Middle Egypt was ill at ease with the massive religious uncertainty their monarch had unleashed. A question mark hung over not...
As an amulet, the popular Wedjat eye symbolized health and protection; design by Anand Balaji

Religion and Magic in Amarna: Battling Forces from Different Realms—Part I

The ancient Egyptians held magical practices in high esteem and used it for a variety of purposes in almost every sphere of life. Their worldview was not restricted to that which occurred on earth,...
Detail of the Berlin bust of Nefertiti; and the latest 3D sculpture of the queen based on the mummy of the Younger Lady; design by Anand Balaji

Bust of Contention: Nefertiti’s sculpture raises issues of Race and Color—Part II

The recent attempt at reconstructing the face of the iconic beauty, Nefertiti, by basing her looks on the mummy of the Younger Lady found in KV35 has caused an enormous uproar among Egyptophiles all...