A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Tomb of the Nefertiti Bust Sculptor?
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETS—French Egyptologist Alain Zivie believes he may have discovered the tomb of the artist Thutmose, the official sculptor of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s court and the genius who is thought to have created the famed bust of Nefertiti. That iconic sculpture was found in a studio belonging to Thutmose in Akhenaten’s capital of Amarna in 1912. In 1996, Zivie’s team was excavating in a subterranean gallery in the necropolis of Saqqara thought to hold only mummified animals. To their surprise, the archaeologists uncovered a small tomb holding the remains of a man identified as Thutmose and his wife dating to the Amarna period (ca. 1353–1336 B.C.). The rich depictions of Thutmose and his wife together on a double coffin, as well as the discovery of a colorful ivory palette similar to one discovered in Amarna, fueled Zivie’s suspicion that the Thutmose of the Saqqara tomb and the Thutmose of the Amarna studio were one in the same, and that the master was responsible for the exquisite art in his own tomb. Still, Zivie allows that his case is not ironclad, saying “the story is unfinished.”
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