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The Mysteries of Nefertiti
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Chrismackint
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:51 am    Post subject: The Mysteries of Nefertiti Reply with quote

Just caught this documentary on the history channel.

Here is a synopsis:

http://www.historychannel.com.au/tv-shows/1485/the-mysteries-of-nefertiti

Goes into the science behind the authenticity of the bust and explores the possibility of it being a fake.

What I liked about it was how the presenter visited Amarna and Thutmose's house where the bust was found. It gave a sense of scale to the buildings that the wealthy in Amarna inhabited that you simply can not get from pictures or books alone.

They visited the reception room of Thutmose's house which was quite large, although smaller than I expected, and then moved onto the studio, which was very small and narrow although I can understand by ancient standards would have been considered large.

The documentary also explores the authenticity of the bust and this leads the team to investigate the modern forgery trade which takes them to Memphis where they discover an abandoned temple from the time of Ramses II which is being used as a quarry for stone that dates to the time of the pharoahs. The temple is just sitting in a muddy ditch surrounded by what looks like waste water. It was part of the great temple of ptah and you can see their are cartouches, columns and giant feet from statues amoungst the scattered stone work.

The presenter predicted all the stone would be poached by thieves because the ruins are unsuperised and abandoned.

The documentary then goes on to talk about how someone could have made a counterfit copy of the bust all those years ago using the pigments found at Thutmose's house and old stone from the time of the pharoahs.

However the thing for me that dispelled any authenticity rumors was that the plaster used on the outside of the bust matched exactly the components used in other plaster at Amarna, something which forgers working back in those days would not have been able to reproduce because the technology to find out the consistency of the plaster was not available at that time. Although the skeptics say that a forger could have just used plaster found at Amarna.

However my own conclusion is that it is highly unlikely that the bust is a fake simply because it has too many original ideas that a forger, who only mimics, would not have the ability to execute because they would lack the originality to do so.

The only thing that makes me wonder about the authenticity is that the bust is not cut off horizontally like all other Egyptian busts but instead is cut off vertically. Although the experts provide an example of another bust from Amarna that is also cut off vertically I still wonder why it is cut off so differently from other busts found at Thutmose's house showing Akhenaten.

I put this down to the fact that art during the Amarna period was not representative of normal Egyptian art and that it was highly experimental, which would explain why this bust of Nefertiti did not conform to the norms. However when you see other busts of Akhenaten cut off at the shoulders(horizontally), found at Thutmose's studio a tiny bit of doubt is put into your mind. Although the bust of Nefertiti dates from late in Akenaten's reign when art was undergoing rapid changes and this could explain why Nefertiti is cut off vertically.

Apparently the German authorities have forbidden any discussion about the authenticity of the bust and the presenter was unable to talk to someone who questions the bust's authenticity.

Anyway if you ever get a chance to watch this documentary I would say it was worthwhile checking out.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This documentary is being broadcast in the UK on Saturday 27th at 6.50pm on the channel More 4, and in HD on More 4 HD.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:13 pm    Post subject: Re: The Mysteries of Nefertiti Reply with quote

Chrismackint wrote:
... Apparently the German authorities have forbidden any discussion about the authenticity of the bust and the presenter was unable to talk to someone who questions the bust's authenticity. ...

Absolute hogwash! There is no "German authorities" (who would that be, please?) that could prohibit something like that. We do not live in a dictatorship here in Germany.

And if the authors of the broadcast are not be able to make a date with Mr. Rolf Krauss, then it is rather an evidence of their disability...
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The documentary crew called Dr. Dietrich Wildung who said he was unable to meet the documentary crew and the narrator commented that this was due to the German authroities not wanting to question the authenticity of the bust.

I'm not sure what they mean by 'German authorities'. It seems like the wrong term to use. It's possible the whole thing is just a fabrication by the documentary.

The documentary did talk to Henri Stierlin who expressed concerns about the preservation of the bust and the documentary crew wanted to follow up a letter Dr. Dietrich Wildung wrote to Henri Stierlin in which he touched on his concerns about the preservation of the Nefertiti bust. But when Dr. Dietrich Wildung became director of the Berlin museum where the Nefertiti bust was on display he abandoned pursuing his doubts about it's authenticity.

When comparing the bust of Nefertiti to Tutankhamun's wooden mannequin and wooden Tutankhamun bust found in Tutankhamun's tomb, discovered ten years after Nefertiti, it is clear from the similarities between them that the Nefertiti bust is indeed authentic and shares the same unique traits. Also one could conclude due to the gaudy colours of the Nefertiti bust that it is fake or looks fake, but when you compare the colours of the Tutankhamun and Nefertiti busts it is clear this gaudy style was the norm back in AE. We are just not used to seeing busts painted.

My only question is when you see photographs of the unearhting of Nefertiti in Egypt back in 1912, why is it that the plaster is so white in the part of the missing eye. I would have thought sediment would have discolored the plaster. Although saying this their are other plaster masks from Amarna that have retained their white colour, and look as if they were freshly made yesterday, despite being buried in sediment for thousands of years.
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Lutz
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, maybe you should, instead here in various posts shed crocodile tears over the disinformation by the media, look by yourself for the real sources?

In this case it would be the book by Stierlin and the various professional articles about the investigations (including x-ray and ct scan) and the scientific material analysis of the bust, which were published by Wildung together with various professional scientists.

And if Professor Wildung during the third move (in a few years) and during overseeing the building of a new edifice for the Egyptian Museum Berlin, one of the five major collections in the world, plain and simple has no time, even the seventh the same stupid questions again and again asking team of a second-rate popular science scandal broadcast to sacrifice, then I can absolute understand this.

And yes, I get at that theme emotionally ... And probably also feels again someone terribly offended by me, what in this case, however, does not matter for me ... Because I have lived through a section of this difficult period relatively close here in Berlin.

And it would have also played no role when Wildung would have given another interview. Not the (boring) truth is interesting, but the (supposed) scandal - which was / is actually just a private matter of Stierlin and Wildung, a question of trust and betrayal among longtime friends and colleagues.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "History" Channel is a joke among US historians and scientists. At this point, after researching much archival and primary evidence (much of which is well elucidated in the latest Neuen Museum exhibition), there is very little doubt that the bust of Nefertiti is authentic. What you saw is purely what's called, in the trade, "hype for ratings."

The best you can get for it is good pictures, sometimes. Many scientists are also misquoted, or selectively edited.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be clear, I should say that on the History Chanel historians and scientists are often either misquoted or selectively edited, much to their dismay, which is why many will not do these shows anymore.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never realized this. I shouldn't have said anything. I'm not questioning anyone's integrity just communicating what I saw in the documentary.

The media commentary is just my way of trying to stimulate discussion on here, it's not to be taken seriously, just my sense of humor, which happens to be very politically incorrect and in hindsight probably not suitable for this place.

The world has become so suffocatingly politically correct, everyone is always so serious, defeats the point of trying to have a conversation.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there's anything personal to these responses, so I wouldn't take them that way. I do think it can be helpful to consider carefully how to enter into a discussion about subjects that call into question the professional integrity of historians, archeologists and scientists. Sadly, the History Chanel, like a number of other entertainment shows, often misrepresents data and even the sources it uses to support its claims. While the programming can be entertaining sometimes it's best to take everything you view with a gain of salt and do as much personal research as you can. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the reasons why I don't like talking via the internet is because it's so easy to mix up the intention of what your reading and interpret it in a completely different way to how it was originally intended by the person who wrote it. This is a classic example. Stuff written with innocent intentions can end up offending. These things don't happen when your talking in the real world.

I've got a thick skin so never take anything personally and don't expect anything I say to be taken personally. In the past on another forum I have had people take my posts to heart and as a result take everything I say out of context and treat it as a negative and paint a picture of me that is the opposite to reality.

The whole netiquette thing is beyond me. When leaving replies I never know if it is seen as rude either if I reply or don't reply. Everything with computers I am starting to find mind numbingly complicated, from the coding to the basic day to day operations to the social interactions, which isn't encouraging me to continue using them or the internet. I don't need my life to be so complicated and will leave you guys to come up with your own topics around here Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feels personal. Can't believe I am getting the blame. Just trying to start a topic and keep this place alive. Whatever happened to being citizens of history and treating those that come before you with respect.

Doubtful either of you will make it 8 years on here with attitudes like that.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If here lies and calumnies are unreflective reproduced about processes and people I know very well, I will respond accordingly.

Otherwise, I can only repeat myself: Well, maybe you should, instead here in various posts shed crocodile tears over the disinformation by the media, look by yourself for the real sources?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"You can prove a fake, but you can't prove originals. That's an epistemological problem," Stefan Simon told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Simon is a material scientist who directs the Rathgen Research Laboratory, which belongs to the association of national museums in Berlin. As a scientist, Simon's main allegiance is to the evidence. At the same time, though, his employers have a clear interest in disproving Stierlin's theory.

That, though, is a difficult prospect. Radiocarbon (C-14) dating measures the decay of radioactive carbon isotopes, necessitating samples of organic material. Nefertiti, though, is largely free of such material. A bit of wax was allegedly found in Nefertiti's right eye. When it was carbon-dated a few years back, scientists concluded that might be more than 3,300 years old.

Still, the wax sample's path from the bust's eye to the laboratory was long. It was obtained in 1920 by Friedrich Rathgen, the chemist who first directed the laboratory that now bears his name. For decades, Rathgen's sample lay in a small specimen bag in the museum before finally being dated, opening the door to doubt.

The paint used on the bust yields even fewer clues as to its age. The pigments are all made from minerals, meaning carbon dating cannot be used. Simon points to the network of fissures and cracks in the paint on the surface of the bust. "I cannot imagine that one could reproduce that artificially," he says.

But Stierlin is unimpressed by such details. "People who know how to counterfeit paintings can also reproduce this craquelé effect," he says, referring to an artistic technique that makes surfaces show very small breaks so as to seem old.

Simon also points out that the complicated painting technique used on the bust, leading him to believe that it much older than 100 years. Under a microscope, Simon has found at least five different layers of paint layered one upon the other: first a layer of white paint with blue undertones, then white, then yellow, then blue, then red.

"Everyone knows that Borchardt possessed large quantities of pigment," Stierlin counters. He claims that Borchardt used the samples for experimentation.

The organic agent used to bind the paint is also not available in sufficient quantities to enable testing. The traces of straw in Nefertiti's headdress could, in theory, also be used. But testing would have be refined such that only a very tiny amount of material is used to avoid harming the bust, Simon says.

And then there's the matter of the left eye. According to Stierlin, Nefertiti never had a left eye. The right is made from quartz and beeswax darkened with soot. If there was a bit of telltale wax where the left eye once was, it could be tested. But up to now, no one has tried -- perhaps out of fear of damaging the statue. Simon says that there are traces of paint of the same type used in the right eye.

The sculpture is composed of the so-called Amarna-mix, a blend of gypsum anhydride plaster applied on top of a limestone base. The material is named after Tel el-Amarna, a small city in central Egypt founded by Pharaoh Akhenaton in the 14th century B.C. That is also where the bust of his queen would be found in 1912.

"This special blend was unknown before 1912," said Simon says, which would mean that Borchardt and his contemporaries could not have known its exact composition. Currently, researchers are comparing material used in the Nefertiti bust with that utilized in statues of her husband, Akhenaton, and other artifacts from the Amarna period. A model of her husband is also currently in Berlin -- lying in storage in much worse condition.

The secrets held by Nefertiti seem almost endless, despite the bust having been an object of all manner of tests for years. Why, for example, was so much oripiment, a toxic arsenic sulfide, used in the yellow paint? And just how solid is the bust? In a recent examination using a remote sensing technique known as video holography, Simon and his colleagues found damaged areas around the statue's headdress and upper chest. The scientists are particularly worried about the condition of the layered paint, bits of which have been flaking off for years.


source: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/berlin-s-nefertiti-debate-calling-the-queen-s-authenticity-into-question-a-625719.html

Quote:
It wasn't until 1924 that the director of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, Heinrich Schäfer, held an exhibition -- against Borchardt's will.

Did Borchardt Forge Artifacts?

However, a seemingly farfetched accusation remains to be cleared up. The renowned Egyptologist Rolf Krauss, a curator at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin for more than 20 years and the custodian of the Nefertiti bust, claims that the folding altar used as compensation for the bust was fake.

Krauss theorizes that Borchardt, consumed with ambition, had the magnificent panel, with which he enticed Lefebvre, made by skilled stonemasons in Cairo.

But could the excavator have been capable of such contemptuous fraud? Some, who believe Borchardt was a hatchet man, say he could.

It is true that the scholar had been working at the German consulate general in Cairo since 1899. His official title was "academic attaché." But in reality Borchardt's job -- in the struggle against the other imperialistic powers, England, France and the United States -- was to fill Germany's museums with treasures from the days of the pharaohs.

His approach was often crude. In 1908, British Egyptologist Alan Gardiner accused him of "tactless and brusque behavior." Gardiner also claimed that the German had established a network of academic spies in the Nile Valley.

When confronted at home, the accused admitted that he had illegitimately acquired "a large number of photographs, drawings, private letters and foreign documents, and so on." In a letter to the foreign ministry, a colleague complained that a man who had "compromised German academia in such a way cannot remain in his position."

But the Indiana Jones of the German Empire survived the scandal. He was simply too good at what did. Borchardt often roamed through the souks of Cairo, where bearded merchants offered stolen antiquities for sale, as well as fakes made to look old with etching acid. Borchardt himself described the dealers' tricks. For example, it was common that "the men scratch off old paint, crush it and apply it with a binding agent."

There is even evidence that Borchardt made forgeries himself when he was a student. He imitated a cuneiform tablet and wrote logarithms onto it. A scholar fell for the practical joke.

Its interest peaked by the rumors, the restoration laboratory (set up by Italians) in Cairo examined the folding altar some time ago. When it was placed under ultraviolet light, it turned out that the supposed weathering was only a "darker base color" that had been painted onto the limestone.

"I think this is absolute proof of forgery," says Egyptologist Christian Loeben. His colleague Dietrich Wildung, however, calls the whole thing "rubbish."

Because the laboratory analysis remains unpublished to this day, the accusation cannot be thoroughly evaluated. It remains unclear how honestly Borchardt behaved 100 years ago when, using picks and shovels, he exposed the astonishing monuments from an era when the world held its breath and Akhenaton brought down the gods.


source: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/new-findings-about-nefertiti-as-berlin-exhibition-opens-a-870731-2.html
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look I see you have already had this discussion as it popped up in a search result while I was investigating the origins of the Nefertiti bust.

Link to earlier discussion: http://forum.egyptiandreams.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=6330&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

Can't help but feel I have unknowingly opened a can of worms. I'm not interested in wasting brain cells getting into a discussion about the authenticity of Nefertiti.

AE were so inconsistent with their artwork that it is an impossibility to make any kind of informed decision about authenticity. Looking at the other two gold masks of Psusennes I and Amenemope and the striking differences between the two how can one possibly find any rationality in artwork from this culture. If you didn't know they ruled one after the other you would think they came from opposite time periods in AE history.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the snotty remark above.
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