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Behind the scenes

For thousands of years the bust of Queen Nefertiti lay hidden in the desert sands of the ancient Egypt ruins of Achetaton (meaning horizon of light), near Tell el-Amarna. The bust was found during an excavation undertaken by the German Oriental Society, lead by Ludwig Borchardt on 6th December 1912, nearly exactly a hundred years ago. This forthcoming anniversary gave birth to the idea of the exhibition “In the Light of Amarna. 100 Years of the Nefertiti Discovery”.

Initial preparation took place after the opening of the Neues Museum, the location of the bust of Nefertiti. Prof. Dr. The Director of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Friederike Seyfried and her research team started to develop thematic concepts. From these early thoughts a story emerged that the exhibition is eager to tell. Soon the first key aspects were defined: Ludwig Borchardt´s excavation, the cultural history of the Amarna period and the bust of Nefertiti´s varied presentation chronicles, which is today an art object of superlatives. The next step consisted of selecting the most suitable objects from around the 5,500 finds originating from the Amarna excavations.

So far, mainly the key objects of this period have been exhibited in the Neues Museum. In contrast, for the jubilee exhibition a wide range of detailed objects from the collections storage of the Berlin museums will be displayed offering a comprehensive overview of life during this fascinating period of Ancient Egypt. There is still a long way to go before visitor can enjoy the discoveries, as many of the objects have to be scientifically restored and refurbished.