Nefertiti. By Philip Pikart – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A recent letter to the editor in BAR (Queries & Comments, BAR 15-03) objected to an advertisement for a doll of Queen Nefertiti that portrayed her as white-skinned. According to the letter writer, Nefertiti was “a beautiful black Egyptian Queen.” Moreover, “The Egyptians are a black race of people,” the reader asserted.

Several readers’ letters in response appear in Queries & Comments in this issue.

Queen Nefertiti was the principal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten (1350–1334 B.C.E.), the famous heretic pharaoh who some claim held monotheistic beliefs.

The doll advertised in BAR was, at least in part, based on the well-known head of Nefertiti in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. There she is depicted with a blue, caplike crown and with light-colored skin. The color on the statue head is ancient, as originally applied by the sculptor in whose studio the head was excavated. So this is how Nefertiti was actually represented in ancient times.

Was Nefertiti “black” or “white”?

The ancient Egyptians did not think in these terms.

Read the rest of Were the Ancient Egyptians Black or White? in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.