By June 4, 2008 Read More →

BARlines: Tell el-Amarna Centennial Symposium, Biblical Archaeology Review (12:04), Jul/Aug 1986.

Amarna Letters

Amarna Letters

One hundred years of excavation and discovery at Tell el-Amarna will be commemorated at “A Tell el-Amarna Centennial” at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, February 1–3, 1987.

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.


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