Nefertari was known as one of the most beautiful and influential female rulers of her time. She was married to Egypt's most powerful and renowned Pharaohs, Ramesses II. Ramesses ruled from 1290 to 1224 BC. As she was in such a high status, upon her death she was laid to rest in one of the mostly ornately decorated tombs of Egyptian Queens in the Valley of Queens. Unfortunately, over the years, a great deal of her tomb has been stolen by thieves. Italian archaeologists excavated tomb QV66 in 1904 and found a scattering of objects which they took back to a museum in Turin, among them were fragments of a mummy which had been ripped apart by looters
MummificationThe mummy was fragmented by looters, the remains now consist of the legs which are in three pieces. One is a fragment of femur (thigh bone), patella (knee) and tibia (one of the bones of the lower leg). The other is another piece of tibia, and a third is a partial femur. One of three leg fragments found in QV 66, the tomb of Nefertari, wife of Ramesses the Great. The wrapped fragment is just over 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. It consists of part of a thigh bone, the knee joint and part of one of the bones of the lower leg (the tibia).
The fragmented mummy was unidentified for many years. A new study shows the remains belonged to an adult woman of between 40 and 50 years of age. X-ray analysis show signs of possible arthritis on the bones found in QV 66. As well as possible calcification in the arteries that runs alongside the tibia. Both arthritis and arterial calcification are signs of age, and possibly indicate minimal physical labor. Estimated that she stood between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches (165 to 168 centimeters) tall.
The chemical composition of the embalming materials match that known to have been used in the 13th Century BC, and this, combined with her physical attributes and pieces of a pink granite sarcophagus, bricks and jewellery inscribed with her name, and a pair of woman’s sandals which match her statistics have led the archaeologists to believe the mummified legs found belonged to Nefertari. Radio-carbon dating, however, estimates the mummified remains to be about 200 years older than when Nefertari is thought to have lived.
An attempt to analyze DNA from these mummified remains failed because of age and contamination.
QV66 and is the largest and most beautiful tomb in the valley. Thieves stole all the queen’s grave goods in antiquity, including her sarcophagus and much of her mummy. Egyptologists found only fragments of Nefertari’s body and a bare scatter of grave goods in the tomb. The tomb is known for the beautiful and well preserved wall paintings.
Also found in the tomb were coffer lids, pottery pieces, fabric scraps and 34 wooden shabtis. Many of the objects were inscribed with Nefertari's name.
Pappas, S. (2016, December 1). Mystery Mummy Legs Belonged to Egyptian Queen Nefertari. Retrieved November 19, 2017, from https://www.livescience.com/57054-mummy-legs-of-queen-nefertari-identified.html