A 3D model of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti’s face has sparked a race row – with many claiming it should be darker.
Working from the mummy, scientists from the University of Bristol brought the 3,400-year-old Queen – thought to be Tutankhamun’s mother – to life using 3D imaging technology.
Queen Nefertiti’s bust was created using 3D imaging technology
Then, paleoartist Elisabeth Dayes recreated Nefertiti’s face on the bust, with the entire process taking more than 500 hours.
“This remarkable face seems to be consistent with ancient representations of Nefertiti,” said Aidan Dodson, an Egyptologist at Bristol University who was involved in the project.
The badly damaged mummy of the woman nicknamed the “Younger Lady” was uncovered in a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings in 1898.
Nefertiti was believed to have been queen alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten from 1353 to 1336 BC, and may have gone on to rule Egypt herself after her husband.
Her iconic bust, believed to be created around 1340 BC, was rediscovered in 1912 and is now displayed in the Neues Museum in Berlin.
Who was Queen Nefertiti?
An Egyptian queen renowned for her beauty, Nefertiti may have been the mother of King Tutankhamun
Nefertiti ruled alongside her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, during the mid-1300s BC
It is believed she was 15 when she wed
She and the pharaoh helped establish the Aten cult: a religious mythology that defined Aten (the sun) as the most important god in Egypt’s polytheistic canon
Theories suggest she may have continued to rule Egypt after her husband’s death
Her iconic sanstone bust, rediscovered in 1913, is displayed at Berlin’s Neues Museum.
But, the latest 3D replica of her face is notably different: depicting a lighter skin tone, which some people claim is inaccurate.
Meanwhile, Lagos-based singer Jon Ogah said this representation of the queen was not her “true black self.” Others on Twitter also chimed in, poking fun at the model’s skin tone and labelling it a “lie.”
Similar debate was prompted by the recent revelation that Britain’s oldest complete skeleton (known as Cheddar Man) had “dark to black” skin, based on a groundbreaking DNA analysis.
The skin tone outrage aside, the new bust is being praised for its accurate depiction of the queen’s muscle tone and skin tissue depth.
“Nefertiti is remembered as one of the most beautiful women in history, but her accomplishments are anything but skin deep,” said Josh Gates, host of the Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown, the show on which Nefertiti’s new face was unveiled.
“She was a powerful pharaoh and ruled during one of the most prosperous times in the ancient world. But like many of history’s most important female figures, her legacy has been obscured.”