History and Culture of Amarna

As I continue my exploration into the ancient city of Amarna, I wanted to take this blog post to discuss the overarching history and culture of Amarna, and take a brief glimpse at the Northern Palace, as it is one of the main palaces I will be using when crafting my own palace.

Amarna is an archeological site of the ancient city of Akhetaten, which was the capital of Ancient Egypt from around 1347 BC to about 1332 BC. King Akhenaten founded the city and created a monotheistic religion around the solar god Aten. King Akhenaten is the father of King Tutankhamun, who after his father’s death moved the capital back to Thebes and Akhetaten was quickly abandoned. This was in part due to the fact that the religion created to praise Aten, was proclaimed to be heretical and denounced (Stevens, 2015). The history of Amarna is important for me because the monotheism in Ancient Egypt was the first of its kind, meaning that not only is the culture different than the rest of Egypt, but in essence we must treat Amarna as a completely separate paradigm from the rest of Ancient Egyptian cities.

Although blurry, this photograph is a good summation of the layout of the city of Amarna. The royal family lived to the north, while the temples and other important administrative buildings were more centrally located. Residences inhabited the south of the city.


Excavations at the North Palace have attempted to determine who in the Royal Family lived there, and the photograph below may offer the best clue. “Many inscriptions found in the North Palace show that, whilst it may have been originally made for Nefertiti or Kiya (a queen prominent in the earlier part of Akhenaten’s reign) it was later converted into a palace for the eldest daughter and heiress,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” (Kemp, 2003). The picture below is of an inscription on a door in the Northern Palace with the name of the king’s daughter, Meritaten. I chose to include this because I am looking deeper into the Northern Palace as one of the palaces to analyze as I construct my own model.

I finally wanted to touch upon the artwork of Amarna. An anomaly of its time, Amarnan art was known for being vastly different than other art in Ancient Egypt. As one example, portrayals of the royal family were much more informal. In the photograph below, you can see Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti and their three daughters. In the photo, Akhenaten and Nefertiti are each holding children. The children are being held in their parents’ hands and cradled on their laps. Normal portrayals of royalty at the time would always be attempts to deify royalty and portray strength. Amarnan art was different because it was so personal and made the royal family look more like humans than gods. This is going to be one of the most important, yet challenging aspects for me as I begin to construct my model and attempt to recreate the art of this city.




Stevens, A.  (2015, March 04). The Archaeology of Amarna. Oxford Handbooks Online. Ed.   Retrieved 6 Apr. 2019, from http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935413.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199935413-e-31.

Kemp, B. (2003). Retrieved April 6, 2019, from https://web.archive.org/web/20080424101113/http://www.ees.ac.uk/fieldwork/amarna.htm

Britannica, T. E. of E. (2013, June 28). Amarna style. Retrieved April 6, 2019, from https://www.britannica.com/art/Amarna-style