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Above: A view across the cemetery situated in the wadi adjacent to North Tombs 2 and 3.

The Northern Cemeteries of Amarna

Anna Stevens and Gretchen Dabbs

In 2005, the Amarna Project began a long-term study of the cemeteries of Amarna, with the goal of better understanding the health, life experiences and beliefs of the people of Akhetaten through an integrated study of human remains and burial practices. From 2005 to 2013, fieldwork focussed upon the largest of the city’s non-elite burial grounds, the South Tombs Cemetery, located in a long wadi adjacent to the southern group of officials’ tombs. In Spring 2015, a second phase of the cemeteries project began, with a shift in focus to the north end of the Amarna bay, where there are a several additional non-elite burial grounds near the North Tombs . The largest, which probably includes several thousand interments, occupies a broad wadi between North Tombs 2 and 3 (see image above). There is a smaller cemetery at the base of the cliffs adjacent to the tomb of Panehesy (no. 6) and another in the low desert some 700 m to the west of this.

The study of the northern cemeteries is funded primarily by a National Endowment of the Humanities Research Grant, awarded to Southern Illinois University in partnership with the Amarna Project.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this web resource, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Dabbs, G. R., and J. C. Rose, 2016. ‘Report on the October 2015 skeletal analysis of the North Tombs Cemetery Project’ in B. Kemp, ‘Tell el-Amarna, 2016’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 102, 7–11.

Stevens, A., G. R. Dabbs, M. Shepperson and M. King Wetzel, 2015. ‘The cemeteries of Amarna’ in B. Kemp, ‘Tell el-Amarna, 2014–15’, JEA 101, 17–27.

Stevens, A., G. Dabbs and J. Rose. 2016. Akhenaten’s people: excavating the lost cemeteries of Amarna. Current World Archaeology 78, 14–21.

Stevens, A. and G. R. Dabbs, forthcoming. ‘The North Tombs Cemetery excavations and skeletal analysis’ in ‘Tell el-Amarna, Spring 2017’, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology.



Website first posted September 2000; last updated October 2017 | enquiries concerning website: email bjk2@cam.ac.uk