Queen Nefertari’s mummy was torn to pieces by ancient robbers, but now her legs may finally be identified. Nefertari was the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great. A pair of unidentified mummified legs were on display in an Italian museum, and they have now been analysed for the very first time.
The legs consist of fragmented thigh bones, a kneecap and a proximal tibia part. The research indicated that Nefertari was very slim and tall.
“She is the only queen from the Ramesside era to have been likely identified so far,” Egyptologist Michael Habicht at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, Switzerland, told Seeker. “Nefertari is one of the truly great and important queens of Egypt and plays in the league of Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra.
“We know that she gave birth to four sons and four daughters and that she attended the opening ceremony of the rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel in the year 24 of Ramses II’s reign. After that event, she disappeared from history.”
“Although no absolute certainty exists, the results speak in favour of an identification of the remains as Nefertari’s,” lead author Frank Rühli, head of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, told Seeker.
The results are not definite, though. Identification can’t be done with absolute certainty as some of the analysis failed, and her burial situation (QV66) has been disturbed. DNA testing was inconclusive as the samples turned out to be contaminated.
“The most likely scenario is that the mummified knees truly belong to Queen Nefertari. We have the fact that the remains were found in her tomb, together with objects naming her alone and no one else,” Habicht said.
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