Berlin is to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of the magnificent bust of Queen Nefertiti – wife of monotheistic pharaoh, Akhnaten – with an exhibition of objects discovered at the Amarna archaeological site in Upper Egypt where the bust was originally found.
Entitled 'In the Light of Amarna,' the exhibition will open on 6 December, the day on which the bust was unearthed one hundred years ago by a German archaeological team led by Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt. Artefacts on display will include 600 objects used in the everyday lives of ancient Egyptians.
Eight years ago, a dispute erupted between Germany and Egypt over ownership of the iconic bust, when then-antiquities minister Zahi Hawass – claiming that Borchardt had illegally obtained the bust in 1912 – asked Germany to return it to Egypt. According to Egyptian antiquities laws in the early 20th century, the spoils of any new archaeological discovery should be split between Egypt and the foreign mission concerned; any 'unique' artefacts, however, should be left in Egypt's possession.
The German government, for its part, has continued to reject these claims, insisting that Germany is the bust's rightful owner.