El-Amarna—the ancient Akhetaten (Egyptian for “The Horizon of the Sun Disc”)—was the capital of Egypt during much of the reign of King Akhenaten (c. 1353–1335 B.C.). Akhenaten was the so-called heretic king who introduced a short-lived monotheistic religion centered on the sun. The religion, called Atonism, is thought by some scholars to have influenced the development of Hebrew monotheism.
In 1887, excavators began uncovering an enormous imperial complex—a window on the art and architecture of the Egyptian New Kingdom.
Abandoned only 15 years after its founding by Akhenaten, el-Amarna escaped the ravages of destruction and rebuilding characteristic of long-inhabited sites.
Perhaps the most significant find at el-Amarna was the famous Amarna Letters, cuneiform diplomatic correspondence between Egyptian rulers Amenophis III, Akhenaten and Tutankhamun and vassals and rulers in Canaan, Syria, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.
The centennial, an international symposium, will be held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the Middle West branch of the American Oriental Society, the Midwest region of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Middle West membership of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Topics to be covered include- New Light on Tell el-Amarna and the History of Egypt; Interconnections- Tell el-Amarna and the History of the Late Bronze Age Aegean, East Mediterranean and the Near East; Tell el-Amarna, Atonism and the History of Religion; The Archaeology of Tell el-Amarna- Then and Now; Tell el-Amarna and the History of Art; The Inscriptions of Tell el-Amarna; Tell el-Amarna and Modern Egyptology- Recent Contributions, Problems and Prospects; and Tell el-Amarna- An Appreciation.
For more information on the centennial, please contact- Professor Gordon D. Young (President, Middle West AOS), Department of History, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, telephone- (317) 494–4151, or Professor Barry J. Beitzel (Secretary-Treasurer, Middle West AOS), Department of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015, phone- (312) 945–8800.