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New look at heretic pharaoh Akhenaton's reign

Analysis of remains from a cemetery at the city of Tell el-Amarna is painting an unsettling picture of the reign of the famously monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten.

According to researchers led by University of Arkansas bioarchaeologist Jerome Rose, the remains of bodies found in the commoners’ cemetery in Tell el-Amarna -some 200 miles south of modern Cairo- show signs of a hard life which contrasts to the idyllic images of everyday life pictured in the high ranking officials’ tombs.

Sometime around 1350 B.C, Akhenaten rejected the traditional pantheon of Egyptian gods and moved his capital to Amarna, where he established a religion dedicated to the worship of the sun god Aten. The new city, complete with palaces, lavish villas for all the King’s men and houses for the hopeful who followed Akhenaten in his daring project, was surrounded by a  number of cemeteries allocated according to the King’s ideas about the cosmos. While the King and his family was to be buried in a massive tomb hewn in the bedrock, similarly glamorous monuments, decorated with reliefs showing life in the royal court had been prepared for the elite members of the society.  As for the commoners (forming the 90% of the city’s population) there was a special cemetery where they were to be buried in a basic way. The so-called South Tombs cemetery consists of tightly packed graves marked by piles of rocks....

Read entire article at Archaeology News Network