If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck…. or in this case a New Kingdom (18th Dynasty) wooden head. I’m afraid my opinion directly contradicts today’s press release from the Ministry of Antiquities about a wooden head from Saqqara identified as possibly the 6th dynasty queen Ankhnespepy II.
The first two images are of the figure discussed in the press release. The third image is a wooden head from Saqqara dated to the 18th dynasty and already in the Cairo Museum (image from Getty archive, sorry, no number or other details given).
EDIT 18.40 : THANKS to Susanna Thomas of the GEM for the following:
JE 71969, Cairo Museum, found by Lauer in spoil heaps around the Djoser pyramid. Susanna supplied the fourth photograph, full face of pic 3.
The only comparison to the length of the neck is the Berlin figure of Nefertiti but this face is far more generic 18th dynasty with the typical disc earrings. I wonder if they’ll do c14 tests, that might tie it down. I’m really looking forward to considered opinion on this one. Note that Professor Collombert, Head of the French-Swiss mission said that the head was found in a disturbed layer… so he’s not committing to an identification.
Press release: “A wooden head, probably of the sixth dynasty queen Ankhnespepy II, has been unearthed in the area located to the east of her Pyramid in Saqqara necropolis during excavation work carried out by a French-Swiss team from Geneva University.
Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announces.
He explains that the head is almost human proportions with a small part of the neck which reached 30 cm tall. The ears are decorated with wooden earrings.
Professor, Philip Collombert, Head of the French-Swiss mission said that the head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen’s pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered early this week. The mission, he went on, has uncovered a large upper part of a granite obelisk that may belongs to the queen’s funerary temple.
Collombert said that the head is not in good conservation condition and it will be subjected to restoration.
“It is a promising area that could reveal more of its secrets soon,” said Dr. Waziri. He added that the mission is to continue its excavations in an attempt to discover the queen’s satellite pyramid and the rest of its funerary complex and collection.”