In the autumn of 1999 a major exhibition of the art of the Amarna Period opened in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the brainchild of Dr Rita E. Freed, the Norma-Jean Calderwood Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art. From Boston the exhibition moved to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden. To complement the exhibition a model of part of the city of Amarna was commissioned. It was made over the summer of 1999, by the firm of architectural model-makers, Tetra (Andy Ingham Associates), in Clapham, London (UK), to designs by Michael Mallinson of Mallinson Architects. Barry Kemp and Dr Kate Spence acted as advisers. The starting-point was the set of map sheets prepared by the Amarna Survey of the The Egypt Exploration Society. These are published in the book by B.J. Kemp and S. Garfi, A survey of the ancient city of El-'Amarna (London, The Egypt Exploration Society 1993). ISBN 0 85698 122 2.
The photographs used here were taken in varied lighting conditions, to reflect the extremes of bright sunlight and heavy cloud cover which affect Amarna through the year.
The model is at the scale of 1:400 and measures 12 feet by 16 (3.6 x 4.9 metres). It covers the whole of the Central City southwards from the northern edge of the Great Aten Temple as well as the section of the residential part of the main city as far southwards as the broad wadi which cuts across the present ruins. The bank of the river Nile runs for most of the way along one side, the west, the direction of the current being from the housing area and towards the Great Aten Temple. A broad stretch of desert, as barren then as it is now, lies behind, to the east