Sunday,24 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1208, (7 - 13 August 2014)
Sunday,24 February, 2019
Issue 1208, (7 - 13 August 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Evidence of Akhenaten

A sandstone engraving providing evidence of Pharaoh Akhenatun’s revolution against his ancestors’ religion has been discovered in Sudan

Excavations at the Sedeinga necropolis in northern Sudan have revealed important evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten’s revolution against his ancestors’ religion in the shape of a sandstone carving depicting the god Amun, as Nevine El-Aref reports.

The stone panel was found in two pieces beneath a sarcophagus in a tomb, apparently used as a support to hold the coffin. Studies of the carving show that the face and name of Amun were removed from the stone panel and later restored.

The tomb was not the first location of the engraving as it was originally part of a bigger wall decoration inside a temple dedicated to Akhenaten’s mother, Queen Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III.

Tiye was presented in her temple as the incarnation of the goddess Hathor and as a female sphinx, an honour that was reserved only for the pharaohs. Horns and a sun-disk were later added to her headdress in other images after her son Akhenaten abandoned the worship of Amun, focusing instead on the single god Atun.

Centuries after her death, Queen Tiye’s temple was destroyed and fell into ruin. Much of it has still not been unearthed, with the exception of parts of statues that depict her as a sphinx.

“All the major inscriptions with the name of Amun in Egypt were erased during Akhenaten’s reign,” archaeology team member Vincent Francigny, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, told the online archaeological site Live Science.

He said that archaeologists had also determined that after Akhenaten’s death the god’s face and hieroglyphs were restored.

“This restoration may have been done during the reign of his successor and son Tutankhamun, who with the help of Amun temple priests resurrected the old ancient Egyptian religion and the worshipping of the god Amun-Re,” returning Egypt to its former polytheistic religion.

In their article, Francigny and Claude Rilly, director of the French archaeological mission in Sedeinga, write: “The name of Amun and his face were hammered out and later carved anew, proving that the persecution of the god extended to this remote province during the reign of Akhenaten and that his images were restored during the following reigns.”


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