The Ancient Egyptian Mourning Ritual, existed also in Amarna?

During the reign of Akhenaten many things changed in Ancient Egypt. The new Pharaoh modified the artistic canon, his residence, the religion, the cult…but what happened with the death?

Documents coming from that period of the history of Ancient Egypt show a belief on Aton as the creator of everything. The hymns pray to him and to life, but there is barely mention to the death.

Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their three Daughters. Altes Museum in Berlin. Photo: Mª Rosa Valdesogo. Ancient Egypt

Akhenaten, Nefertiti and their three Daughters. Altes Museum in Berlin. Photo: Mª Rosa Valdesogo

Those ancient Egyptian people from Amarna…did not die? Yes, they did, there was a cemetery. There were also mummies and coffins.

People continued being buried into tombs; and the walls of those tombs were decorated with reliefs. That is, there was a funerary art and a funerary architecture. A mortuary practice existed.

But what do those ancient Egyptian scenes say about the funerary ritual of the Amarna period? It seems that the Aton theology did not solve the matter of the afterlife.

Thanks to the archaeology we know that the traditional religion did not disappear completely. Many small ancient Egyptian artefacts were found during the excavations of the houses in Tell el-Amarna, and they show that the people were still linked to the ancient gods and practices.

Mourning the death of Meketaton. Image: Amarna Project. Ancient Egypt

Mourning the death of Meketaton. Image: Amarna Project.

Was that so also with the funerary ceremony? Existed also during the reign of Akhenaten the mourning ritual for reviving the dead?

References to the ancient Egyptian funerary and mourning ritual during the Amarna period are just a few…Texts are not helpful, archaeology does not show anything about it…but iconography offers two very useful sources: The royal tomb and the royal sarcophagus.

We will write in later posts about the information we can get from these two documents.

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