Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Search for Nefertiti

Joann Fletcher
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN 0 340 83304 1

This book and television show caused quite a scandal five years ago when Egypt's antiquities Majordomo Dr. Zahi Hawass felt that Ms. Joanne Fletcher had deceived him in drawing conclusions which Ms. Fletcher did not inform Dr. Hawass of. This was a breach in protocol and Ms. Fletcher and her prestigious English team were sent packing with Ms. Fletcher not being allowed to return to work in Egypt anymore.

Ms. Fletcher's charms are apparent right from the start of this 380-page book and it is not long before the book heats up and starts becoming fascinating. The authors knowledge on mummies is well justified from her research and intelligent view though she sure spends a whole lot of time talking about herself in the book.

Ms. Fletchers work at the Qasr el Einy medical center makes for some of the most interesting stories as well as her knowledge of the great royal women of ancient Egypt, an issue more often than not ignored. The exception being King Hatshepsut.

Funny enough the book contains pictures and a mention of the fake Amarna princess statue bought for L440 000 and of who's forger has now been convicted.

The argument for Nefertiti's greater than usual power is convincing and the Queen may today be more than a pretty face were it not for the erasure of her and her husband's reign.

The thought that there may never have been a separate King named Smenkara and that this name may actually have been one of Nefertiti's throne names is more than plausible and the fact that much of King Tutankhamen's equipment used in his burial was made for a woman and King Akenaten makes this assumption more than possible.

The book ends with the authors joint work in the tomb of Amenhotep II where the mummy known as younger women has long had the author believe the mummy to be the subject of her research Nefertiti.

Whether the mummy in question is Nefertiti is still up to dispute but the book itself is a good read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in Egyptology or mummies.

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