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Gallery 20: Case 6

Amarna: life in the city of Akhetaten

The city of Akhetaten, now known as Amarna, was the purpose-built capital of Egypt from about 1350 to 1330 BC. Objects from the site are well-preserved because the city was only inhabited for so short a time and abandoned early in the reign of Tutankhamun.

The stone reliefs with their lively scenes of soldiers and captives, along with occasional vessels imported from Greece, give an impression of a busy, cosmopolitan city.

The faience tiles and other decorative elements came from the palaces and were manufactured on site, as is shown by kilns, moulds and waste products discovered in excavations there. The production of brightly coloured vessels and other objects in glass became a significant industry at this time. The distinctive, blue-painted pottery reflects the same interest in colour. Despite the emphasis now placed by official religion on worship of the Aten through the royal family, ordinary Egyptians continued to worship domestic gods such as Bes and Hathor: see the two large pottery fragments shown here.

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