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Age of Nefertiti, age of skeletons, etc
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Newmoon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:51 pm    Post subject: Age of Nefertiti, age of skeletons, etc Reply with quote

Moderator's note: Split from a previous discussion

Amenhotep 0 wrote:
The image clearly show her age well beyond the expected age of here death (ca.30 in Year 14, or 28 in Year 12).


Where and when were those exact ages hypothesized?

It seems to me it would be hard to say with any certainty what Nefertiti's expected age of death would be, since no one really knows when she died, or exactly how old she was in relation to Akhenaten. I admit I've always been of the mind she outlived Akhenaten by just a few years, but that is merely my theory, and I don't claim any proof. I also imagine her to have been of comparable age to Akhenaten, and if he is believed to have died at about age 35-40, she might have then been anywhere from 35-45 (with my personal bias at about age 40). The second limestone image would suggest someone about that age.

Amenhotep 0 wrote:
The “rough texture of the limestone” has nothing to do with it since the wrinkles are not random but radiating out from the eyes and the corners of her mouth, which is a typical sign of aging.


I'm not sure how this is different from what I suggested: "the lines about the mouth and eyes are becoming more prominent--a feature consistent with someone 'forty-ish'." It's a sign of aging, yes. However, palbebral, orbital, nasolabial, and oromental lines (the specific lines about the eyes and mouth shown in the bust) begin to appear well before someone turns fifty, usually beginning at about 35-40.

Amenhotep 0 wrote:
The bust has more smooth skin, but it was smoothed over with plaster and I suspect it was done purposely to make her looks younger.


Even without the plaster coating, the underlying image does not appear to represent a woman in her forties. It looks to me like a rough version of the same bust (of an individual aged 25-30-ish) that did not quite get the features right the first time. This is not unheard of in portraiture and artists aren't always spot-on the first time around. The underlying features don't even much resemble the "older" statuette of Nefertiti in this discussion, so it seems more a matter of the artist just missing the mark, and then using the plaster to bring the image more in line with actual features of Nefertiti.

In fact I'd say that the hidden image reminds of this rather "rough" stone version that shows an unfinished, unrefined effigy: recognizable, but definitely needing some polishing up.



There are also several Nefertiti sculptures showing inferior art work and which present her with a variety of less idealized features, none of which has any consistency with any other image depicted. So why don't we assume that any one of these other anomalous images shows the "true" Nefertiti? It really doesn't make any sense.



Yet the famous Berlin bust and the limestone statuette do show virtually the same features for a particular individual, one simply slightly older. Likewise these portraits seem more complete than the previously discussed effigies, so I will go with what most likely seems to be the most accurate, consistent, and complete representation of Nefertiti.



Amenhotep 0 wrote:
Even at 40 as Newmoon believes, it is way beyond the chronological constraint.


Actually, my words were that it appears to be someone 40, or approaching 40, suggesting an age of 35-40. This fits in with what is commonly hypothesized to have been Nefertiti's age at death.

But again, this holds true only for the statuette. The bust does not support an age of forty, even beneath its plaster, and seems more likely to be a case of an inferior rendering which was reworked to achieve a greater level of accuracy.
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Meretseger
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's always seemed to me that the limestone statuette's face is both shorter and wider than that of the bust.
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Newmoon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meretseger wrote:
It's always seemed to me that the limestone statuette's face is both shorter and wider than that of the bust.


This is true. But unless you are working with non-human, machine-like precision equipment, you're going to get some variation between portraits. Nonetheless, both images show certain distinctive features such as the uniquely rounded cheeks--even in the less idealized, older image (completely absent in the underlying stone version of the bust) and the increasingly noticeable inferior orbital groves that suggest a consistent, and probably accurate rendering of the queen.

Whoops, caught a blunder in my previous post: "the specific lines about the eyes and mouth shown in the bust" should be in the statuette. Sorry 'bout that. Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is brown sandstone head often identified as Nefertiti but some feel the shorter nose and softer features indicate a daughter, Meritaten perhaps. This head is also shorter and wider in the face than Nefertiti's bust. Could they be the same woman, a different woman than Nefer? Perhaps her daughter Meritaten? We have no way of knowing how long Meri lived after she ceased to be the center of power.
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Newmoon
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is this the head you're talking about? I've added it to the group for comparison.



It definitely does have Nefertiti's unique features, though the juvenile appearance (incidentally invoked in the more natural style of the late Amarna period) suggests a younger individual. She appears to be at least an adolescent (or teen?). So if it does portray a princess, it probably is one of the older ones, and likely Meritaten (though a guess of Meketaten would not be completely unfounded).

It seems significant that the sandstone doesn't bear any of the features of the heads more commonly attributed to Meritaten--https://www.courses.psu.edu/art_h/art_h111_bac18/princess1.jpg--not that there's any finite proof this individual is actually Meritaten.

Alternately, there is at lease one princess does seem to have inherited her mother's features.



However, she does not look like the same individual from the brown sandstone (at least to me). Ultimately, it's all pretty much up in the air who this Nefertiti-ish individual represents, though I feel the features are so close to that of the queen, and rather unlike the princess who is most often represented as Meritaten http://www.seemsartless.com/photos/full/ago-tut-princess.jpg, the conclusion seems to point to it being a very youthful-looking Nefertiti, though the juvenile appearance may not have been intentional.
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Scribe2
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Neseret and Newmoon,

A couple of comments.

Newmoon,

the image you show which has the red 'blotch' on the side - I am sorry that i cannot find an identifier for it - shows several key features which are male. There is a significant brow bossing. Women in general do not have brow bossing, and it is notably absent in Nefertiti's other images. The forehead is vertically deep, and if that is a hairline shown, then it is in a very non-feminine altitude! The nose is long and the end points downwards. In general women's noses are shorter and the end is flat or points upwards. The crest of the cheekbone is right back on the zygomatic arch. In women the crest of the check is softer but continues forwards below the eye as the zygoma is a little deeper. All these feminine features are part of the normal imagery of Nefertiti. Also women tend to have a smaller upper lip, which also turns upwards, giving the upper lip-line a deeper look especially in the centre, and to my eyes these two figurines look quite different.

I do agree though that the 'older' Nefertiti is a convincing aged version of the classic bust, and in line with other small figurines hwich may have come from non-royal studios.

As to the width, we do all get slightly 'coarser' in our feature as we grow older. The crowns do, IMO, provide some distortion.


Neseret,

I have already posted on the ageing of skeletal remains from 300 years ago. I find that the science of dating even contemporary remains is fraught with assumptions that, as a clinician, I find hard to comprehend. I think this whole issue of trying to date a death age by looking at aggressively treated and handled skeletons produces such a wide margin of error, and has so many implicit assumptions, as to make it relatively useless in this context. The issues around cranial maturity are particularly worryng.

Sorry, but as a clinician, I don't rely on references but on my experience and judgement. As an Egyptologist and historian, though, I do.
But Neseret, there was a paper that came out some years ago in which African children were X-rayed, and spondylosis and minor lipping were found in children as young as 9 years old.

And it is idiomatic that trauma will accelerate any degeneration (ageing) process in joints, spine and so forth.
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stephaniep
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Alternately, there is at lease one princess does seem to have inherited her mother's features.


Couldn't she be Neferneferusten Tasherit?
Tasherit meaning looks like?
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, the "Older" looking bust of Nefertiti is one of the strong points used in the theory that she did not die or disappear in year 12.
Not only the face, but the body also shows that of an older woman, perhaps in her 40's or even 50's.
She was supposed to be in her prime (much younger) when she died/disappeared.

Pure theory on my part, but I really believe "something" unpleasant occurred between her and Akhnaten. She withdrew to the Northern Palace, which, technically, was hers and lead a very private life--watching (with some glee, I'm sure) the court drama unfold.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stephaniep wrote:

Tasherit meaning looks like?


It means "the little one", as in a namesake, like our "junior", or "the second".
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stephaniep
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read somewhere it meant looks like usually translated as junior or the second. Am I wrong?
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the North Palace was ultimately the residence of Princess Meritaten.
See http://www.amarnaproject.com/pages/amarna_the_place/north_palace/index.shtml

There are inscriptions of Meritaten found on a doorjamb, a column (these two are used as illustration at the bottom of the page), but her name apparently appears in several places.

Kemp mentions:
"Many inscriptions found in the North Palace show that, whilst it may have been originally made for Nefertiti or Kiya (a queen prominent in the earlier part of Akhenaten's reign) it was later converted into a palace for the eldest daughter and heiress, Princess Meritaten."

and

"Copy of a fragment of column drum in the British Museum. Traces of hieroglyphs beneath the name Meritaten seem to be consistent with name of Kiya."

Sounds like Nefertiti may have stayed at the main palace? AKh may still have been sleeping on the couch though Very Happy
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neseret
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scribe2 wrote:
Neseret,

<snip>
Sorry, but as a clinician, I don't rely on references but on my experience and judgement. As an Egyptologist and historian, though, I do.
But Neseret, there was a paper that came out some years ago in which African children were X-rayed, and spondylosis and minor lipping were found in children as young as 9 years old.

And it is idiomatic that trauma will accelerate any degeneration (ageing) process in joints, spine and so forth.


Which is my point: the aging of the KV 55 remains is based primarily upon the spinal "lipping" being seen as evidence of an older age.

As you note, as archaeologists on EEF noted, and as I anecdotally noted, it is quite possible to have spinal lipping and be far younger than the older age ascribed by Hawass, Gad, et al. (2010) and in the Discovery Channel video.

The various physical and X-ray examinations have showed that, based upon about 9 sets of criteria, the KV 55 remains appears to belong to an individual who was between 20-25 years old at the time of death. 3 of the 4 examinations veered to a more narrow assessment of 23-25 years of age (Derry 1931, Harrison 1966; Filer 2000). At the time, G. E. Smith wrote to Ayrton in 1907 that he would place the age of KV 55 at "about 20 years of age" (Aytron 1907: 281). Later, Smith (it appears, under duress to "prove" KV 55 was the remains of Akhenaten) lengthened that age assessment to 30, but if you read his assessment carefully, he's not really convinced of this (Smith 2000 (1912)).

Personally, if the spinal lipping is all that can be said to assume an older age for KV 55, there appears to be a wealth of scientific and anecdotal information to contend with Hawass, Gad, et al.'s assessment.

Reference:

Ayrton, E. R. 1907. The Tomb of Thyi. PSBA 29: 277-281.

Derry, D. E. 1931. Notes on the Skeleton hitherto believed to be that of King Akhenaten. ASAE 31: 115-119.

Filer, J. 2000. The KV 55 body: the facts. Egyptian Archaeology 17/Autumn: 13-14.

Harrison, R. G. 1966. An Anatomical Examination of the Pharaonic Remains Purported to be Akhenaten. JEA 52: 95-119.

Hawass, Z., Y. Z. Gad, et al. 2010. Ancestry and Pathology in King Tutankhamun’s Family. Journal of the American medical Association 303/7: 638-647.

Smith, G. E. 2000 (1912). Catalogue Général de Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire. No. 60151-61100. The Royal Mummies. Service des Antiquités de L'Égypte: Catalogue Général de Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire. London: Duckworth.

HTH.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

neseret wrote:

Personally, if the spinal lipping is all that can be said to assume an older age for KV 55, there appears to be a wealth of scientific and anecdotal information to contend with Hawass, Gad, et al.'s assessment.


In the documentary on the discovery channel there is mention of 3 areas they looked at:
1. the sutures on the skull. These sutures were not completely fused.
2. With respect to the spine they referred to "ossification". This is the "lipping" referred to I think.
3. Signs of a mild degenerative disease (mild arthritis) in the leg and knee bones.

See: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/king-tut-unwrapped/
Look at the second video on the page. That one has the discussion about the age.

I'm not arguing for or against anything. Just giving people a chance to look at what was said in the documentary.

For as far as the age estimates go, there was mention on the EEF mailing list of an article by Melissa Fay Anderson:
Estimation of Adult Skeletal Age-at-death using the Sugeno Fuzzy Integral (2008)
http://edt.missouri.edu/Spring2008/Thesis/AndersonM-031809-T9480/research.pdf

I haven't had a chance yet to read the article, but it sounds interesting.
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stephaniep
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It definitely does have Nefertiti's unique features, though the juvenile appearance (incidentally invoked in the more natural style of the late Amarna period) suggests a younger individual. She appears to be at least an adolescent (or teen?). So if it does portray a princess, it probably is one of the older ones, and likely Meritaten (though a guess of Meketaten would not be completely unfounded).


Thank you for this excellent collection of portraits.

In the Pharoahs of the Sun catalog, the woman on the left is called Nefertiti. It's a softer look, and is consistent with Catalog No, 45, also Cairo Museum number JE 44870. I'm sorry I couldn't find a better link, but you can scroll down to find it here.

http://bmsap.revues.org/document3983.html

It it also of quartzite and shows Meritaten with a softer face as well and could be said to be from the same artist's hand.

It was fortunate that a number of master artists lived at the same time in Egypt and were given a climate where they could create a body of extraordinary artwork that still excites passion 4,000 (around) years later.

A lot of the variation in portraits is because no two people are going to depict a realistic portrait in the same way and the same artist is never going to exactly duplicate his/her own work.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anneke wrote:
neseret wrote:

Personally, if the spinal lipping is all that can be said to assume an older age for KV 55, there appears to be a wealth of scientific and anecdotal information to contend with Hawass, Gad, et al.'s assessment.


In the documentary on the discovery channel there is mention of 3 areas they looked at:
1. the sutures on the skull. These sutures were not completely fused.


Which argues for a younger age: however, as noted, such evidence alone would not equal a younger age.

However, I urge people to note that cranial suture closure is not the only determinant of a younger age, as found by Derry (1931), Harrison (1966), or Filer (2000). There, no less than 9 different criteria were covered by these 3 authors, all of which argued for a younger age to the KV 55 remains between 20-25 years of age.

They rather glibly gloss over this in the Discovery Channel video, however. None of these other criteria were even discussed, which is, IMO, very misleading.

anneke wrote:
[2. With respect to the spine they referred to "ossification". This is the "lipping" referred to I think.


They are referring to osteophytes (bone spurs), which form along the spine. Anterior or posterior osteophytes tend to develop within the concavities of scoliosis or kyphosis, and thus are not necessarily related to age determination. Since the KV 55 remains shows evidence of both this bone spurs on the spine and even more seriously, femoral osseous collapse, one has to realise that both are evidence of the scoliosis also present in the KV 55 remains.

An image of the "lipping" (spurs) can be see on an X-ray of a scoliotic man of 69 here. As you can see, these spurs are very advanced, with the bone "lipping" almost completely enclosing the space between the spaces between vertebrae. However, similar "lipping" has been seen on ancient individuals younger than 30, according to an archaeologists on EEF, and as reported by Scribe2 in another post, even in Nubian children as young as 9 years of age.

Again, anecdotally, similar lipping was noted on my cervical spinal by the age of 18, and as my spinal scoliosis developed more from mid-teens onwards, such bone spurs could be detected clearly on my lumbar vertebrae since about age 24.

anneke wrote:
3. Signs of a mild degenerative disease (mild arthritis) in the leg and knee bones.


According to Resnick (2005), such degeneration of the femur and knee bones is related to the scoliotic symptoms of some individuals. This would make sense, as pressure of scoliosis in the spine also puts pressure on the hips and legs of an individual.

anneke wrote:
[See: http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/king-tut-unwrapped/
Look at the second video on the page. That one has the discussion about the age.


Yes, but sadly, this was heavily glossed in the video over as definitive determinants for age: as noted above, the presence of scoliosis takes such 'lipping' away as a an age determinant. Rather, the 'lipping' is more as evidence of pathology of the spine. Arthritis and osteophytes are not clear age determinants, as you can easily have these same conditions show up even in children.

To me, it's sad that Hawass and the Discovery Channel present this information as "clear" evidence of age when it is, in fact, no such thing.

Reference:

Derry, D. E. 1931. Notes on the Skeleton hitherto believed to be that of King Akhenaten. ASAE 31: 115-119.

Filer, J. 2000. The KV 55 body: the facts. Egyptian Archaeology 17/Autumn: 13-14.

Harrison, R. G. 1966. An Anatomical Examination of the Pharaonic Remains Purported to be Akhenaten. JEA 52: 95-119.

Resnick, D. 2005. Osteophytosis of the femoral head and neck. Arthritis & Rheumatism 26/7: 908 - 913.
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