Check Out These Stunning 3D Renderings of a Lost Egyptian City

Interesting Engineering

After 3,500 years of isolation, scientists have recreated the lost city of Amarna with incredible 3D models. Pharaoh Akhenaten, the husband of Nefertiti, built Amarna with unique and inventive architectural techniques.

The project began in 2000 as a postgrad thesis for Paul Docherty's computer animation degree, but grew into something much larger.

amarna8[Image source: Archéovision]

The lost city of Akhenaten

Besides of being the husband of Nefertiti, Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) was an extraordinary emperor as well. He imposed a monotheistic religion and ordered to built this new capital Amarna in a location that you can only reach by Nile River. Moreover, he also brought about a true architectural and artistic revolution into Egyptian history. But Amarna stayed as a lost city for thousands of years.

The religion he foisted worshipped the sun disk Aten - the creator, the 'giver of life', and nurturing the spirit of the world. In order to Aten religion, temples bathed by the ‘divine rays and has built without roofs.

Akhenaten Talatat Bricks

According to Robert Vergnieux, former director of the Archéovision Laboratory, Egyptian engineers established a new standard on stone blocks called talatat standardized as 27 by 27 by 54 cm, corresponding to ½ by ½ by 1 ancient Egyptian cubits. While that might not sound impressive by modern engineering standards,  it was literally a milestone of engineering history.

amarna9[Image source: Archéovision]

"The walls no longer had to support heavy, ten-to-twenty ton roof slabs, a new architectural standard was established: the huge blocks of stone previously used to erect temples and royal edifices were replaced by standard-sized stone bricks Talatats which had the advantage of being quicker to build with."

amarna2[Image source: Archéovision]

Bricks have simplified the 3D Modeling

According to records, builders also used talatat bricks in the building of the Aton temples at Karnak. In following years, they were reused by Ramesses II and Horemheb as grounds for large buildings and as filler material for pylons. They simplified the measure of the bricks to create the scale of the buildings. This simplification made the planning easy for the team at the Amarnaproject and the scientists of Archéovision. Bricks transformed the process into a real puzzle for them to understand the form, scale, and shapes of the palaces, templates, and the paved roads.

Most Popular

amarna6[Image source: Archéovision]

Modelling a lost city by 3D Engineering

In addition, 3D Engineers of Archéovision developed a 3D application to understand the architecture and surrounding landscape. According to Vergnieux, “It is generally accepted in the literature that it was a courtyard bordered by a colonnade. But the inconsistencies in structure highlighted by the 3D application revealed that what were previously thought to be the bases of columns were, in fact, pedestals for giant statues of Akhenaten. That's enough to radically change the appearance of the temple!"

amarna3[Image source: Archéovision]

Researchers said the city was also housing a mansion of Thutmose, the sculptor of the most famous bust of Nefertiti that you can see in Neues Museum in Berlin. According to the team, the buildings were covering around 4000 square meters, lined with two layers and included luxurious gardens as well.

amarna1[Image source: Archéovision]

Vergnieux said the city also has been a new scene for drastically changed temple iconography. In the worship of Aten, the painters represented the sun disk. Over time, the pharaoh gradually morphed into this single god. Scenes of his own everyday life went on the walls of temples.

amarna10[Image source: Archéovision]

The city became desolate after the death of Akhenaten and stayed abandoned for thousands of years. The scientists have explored the city in early 1700, but extensive research wasn't done until recently. Now, remains still stand for visitors to observe if they visit Egypt.