The Tomb of Queen Nefertari

Mummy Dearest Damaged by humidity and humanity, the wall paintings memorializing the favorite wife of King Ramses II are gloriously restored

OF THE SEVERAL QUEENS of the legendary Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II (1290-1223 B.C.), none outshone Nefertari. She was Ramses' favorite wife, and by all accounts his loveliest. For her death, Ramses commissioned a subterranean tomb in the Valley of the Queens near Thebes, where she was portrayed in lustrous wall paintings by the leading artists of the kingdom.

Nefertari's tomb, lost for three millenniums, was discovered in 1904. Its treasures had been looted, probably in antiquity, and its wall paintings had deteriorated. By 1940, in fact, the decay had become so severe that Egyptian authorities closed the tomb to the public....

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