In 1904, the pioneering Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli cracked open a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. The crypt, which had been lost for millennia, showed signs of long-ago disaster.
New research confirms the mummified fragments in a Turin museum likely belong to ancient Egypt’s beautiful and revered queen.
Nefertari was the royal wife of Pharaoh Ramses II, and her beauty was unmatched. So was her tomb—the walls are painted with beautiful images of the queen and a starry sky on the ceiling. But the contents of the cavern were in disarray when archaeologists first opened the tomb in 1904.
That’s why a team of international archaeologists decided to take a closer look, publishing their analysis in the journal PlosOne. According to Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience, the researchers examined the mummified remains currently housed at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. X-raying the three pieces of leg confirmed the presence of a pair of human knees, with pieces of a femur, a partial tibia, a fibular bone, as well as the patella. The bones corresponded to a woman who died between age 40 and 60, and there were some indication of arthritis in the legs. This corresponds with what is known about Nefertari.