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Layout of Akhenaten

New thoughts on the layout and design of Akhetaten.

Recently a new theory has been proposed as for the real purpose for the positioning and layout of Akhenaten's city - Akhetaten. An architect working for the E.E.S. (the Egypt Exploration Society) has re-measured the various points of interest that make up Akhetaten - these include, for example, the Boundary Markers, the temples and palaces. He then found that these points when viewed from above where laid out in the same proportions as that of the temple of the Aten.

Why did Akhenaten chose not to be buried in the Valley of the Kings?

The obvious answer, of course, is that the Valley of the Kings was the centre of power of Amun. As Amarna was now the new centre of power for Egypt it was only fitting that Akhenaten be buried there.

However, new research has also shown that there was yet another reason behind his burial there - indeed it could be the main reason that the site of Amarna was chosen for the location of Akhetaten.

The plain of Amarna is encircled by a line of cliffs, an unbroken wall of stone - except for a slight break in the Eastern horizon exactly where the sun rises each morning - the location of the Aker and where the sun was reborn each morning after a night of battling through the Underworld.

Furthermore Akhenaten's tomb was in line with this break further back in the cliffs and therefore also in line with the rising sun - Akhenaten was making himself into the Aten sun god each morning, the birth of the sun each morning was from his tomb, Akhenaten was showing that he was the one true god, the only god by this action, and had gone much further than any had gone before.

The Window of Appearance.

But Akhenaten had already started down the road to identifying himself as the Aten/sun god when he was still alive - expanding on the theory of the position of the rising sun - a building was in line with the sun as it made it was up the morning sky, it was from here that Akhenaten and his family made their appearances to their subjects - known as 'The Window of Appearance'. But when the position of sun is taken into account with the Window of Appearance it shows once more Akhenaten's master plan for Akhetaten - while Akhenaten was in the Window of Appearance the sun was directly behind him bathing him in the golden glow of its light, a very similar effect to that which Akhenaten tried to show in his reliefs.

Alignment of buildings in Akhetaten.

As mentioned above, new measurements taken at Amarna by the E.E.S. have shown that there appears to be a common axis running through the old city (the line of the rising sun) and all the other points taken into account make a scaled up version of the temple of the Aten - was this Akhenaten's plan? To make Akhetaten itself one large living temple to the Aten?

The map below shows how the royal tomb was the main centre for the Aten / Akhenaten at Akhetaten