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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Trenches Egypt Nefertari tomb paintingThe tomb of Egypt’s Queen Nefertari, the favorite wife of Ramesses II (r. 1279–1213 B.C.), in the Valley of the Queens, was ransacked in antiquity and her mummy torn apart by robbers. Now, a multidisciplinary team has analyzed a pair of legs found in the tomb to determine whether they were hers. Measurements and X-rays of the legs, displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy, have established that they belonged to a woman who was at least 40 years old and stood around five feet six inches tall. In addition, materials used to embalm the legs are consistent with mummification traditions of Nefertari’s time. While radiocarbon dating returned results predating her presumed lifespan by 200 years, Michael Habicht of the University of Zurich notes that this could be due to a broader challenge facing scholars attempting to radiocarbon date samples from Egypt’s New Kingdom. Although the identification is far from definitive, he says, the legs most likely did belong to Nefertari.

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