In 1859, in the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, Western Thebes (modern Luxor), one of the most astonishing discoveries in the history of Egyptology, traditionally attributed to Auguste Mariette, was made: the treasure of Queen Ahhotep. The approximately 70 objects found inside the gilded sarcophagus – including bracelets, rings, pectorals, necklaces, models, daggers and axes, all in gold, silver and precious stones – are divided between the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (most of them) and the Luxor Museum (4 objects).
However, since their discovery, no one has ever carried out an overall study of the finds, which is essential for giving an answer to the questions that characterize the figure, as enigmatic as it is important, of Ahhotep and the history of a period of great transformation such as the one preceding the Egyptian empire’s formation at the dawn of the Late Bronze Age (1550 BC). The discovery of the Treasure also represents an important moment of change in the practice of archaeological excavations in Egypt in the 19th century, leading to the formation of the Cairo Museum.
The Ahhotep Project, directed by Prof. Gianluca Miniaci, aims to resolve the doubts surrounding the queen, starting with her identity, through an extensive work of photographic documentation, study of objects and manuscripts, archaeometric analysis and publication of the results. The program includes a close academic collaboration between scholars and students of the University of Pisa and colleagues from foreign institutions, such as Peter Lacovara (Ancient Egyptian Archaeology and Heritage Fund) Stephen Quirke (UCL), Elisabeth David (Louvre), Thomas Lebée (Louvre), Patricia Rigault (Louvre), Eid Mertah (IFAO, Egyptian Museum in Cairo), Abeer Abdel Aziz (Egyptian Museum in Cairo), Sabah Abdel Razik (Egyptian Museum in Cairo).
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