Jacquelyn Williamson: Discoveries at Nefertiti's Sun Temple

Co-hosted by the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA) 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

2:00 p.m.—Luncheon ($25 for ARCE DC and BASONOVA members)

3:00 p.m.—Lecture ($7 for ARCE DC and BASONOVA members)

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5634 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia 22041

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Stone relief fragments were recently excavated from Kom el-Nana at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, the site of Nefertiti’s Sun Temple. They date to approximately 1350 BCE, the period when Pharaoh Akhenaten closed Egyptian temples and dismissed the priesthood, declared the sun deity Aten as the true God, and with his wife Nefertiti established a new capital of Egypt at Amarna.  

In an illustrated presentation, Jacquelyn Williamson reconstructs the architecture, art, and inscriptions from the site to demonstrate Kom el-Nana is the location of Queen Nefertiti’s "Sunshade of Re" temple as well as another more enigmatic structure there that served the funerary needs of the non-royal courtiers at the ancient city.

The art and inscriptions provide new information about Queen Nefertiti and challenge assumptions about her role in Pharaoh Akhenaten’s religious movement dedicated to the sun god Aten.


Jacquelyn Williamson is Assistant Professor of Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean World at George Mason University. She especially focuses on gender and religious power.

She is involved in the ongoing investigation of Kom el-Nana at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, the site of a sun temple associated with Queen Nefertiti (the subject of her first book).


She has been a member of several archaeological missions in Egypt and has worked in many museums including the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Harvard Semitic Museum, and has held teaching and research positions at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, and Brandeis University.