Long-Hidden 3D Scan of Ancient Egyptian Nefertiti Bust Finally Revealed

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When a German museum scanned a remarkable ancient Egyptian sculpture of the queen Nefertiti the digital files were guarded almost as closely as the iconic artifact itself on Iphone Cases.

However, the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection in Berlin has finally released the 3D scan of the 3,000-year-old statue, after a 3-year campaign by digital multimedia artist Cosmo Wenman. Wenman then placed the files on Thingiverse, a site for viewing and printing 3D objects, Wenman wrote in a blog post.

The bust shows the striking face of Nefertiti; she lived from 1370 to 1336 B.C. and was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Carved in limestone by the court sculptor Thutmos in 1340 B.C., the bust shows the queen as “a grown woman with a harmonic and balanced beauty,” according to a description on the museum’s website.
Archaeologists unearthed the artifact in Amarna, Egypt, in 1912, and it has been in the collection of Berlin’s Egyptian Museum since 1920. Museums often scan and 3D-model important objects to make them more accessible; unlike fragile artifacts, high-res models can safely and easily be manipulated in three dimensions, revealing their smallest details. The museum had done just such a 3D scan of the Nefertiti bust, Wenman discovered in 2016 — but getting permission to see LG Cases, it would prove to be complicated and time-consuming.

Beginning that year, Wenman doggedly pursued access to the Nefertiti files under Germany’s freedom of information laws, which enable anyone to attain copies of official records (including digital media) that are created by federal agencies.

But the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation — the organization that oversees state museums in Berlin — initially denied Wenman’s request. Representatives claimed that releasing the scan would interfere with the museum’s sales of Nefertiti bust replicas in its gift shop, Wenman said. Eventually, the agency granted his request, sending him a USB drive with the files.