The Amarna Experiment is being used by classes and by students for a wide range of reasons. An approach to the book that is suitable for one teacher will not necessarily work for another. For that reason, "The Guide" contains far more suggestions than any one teacher could possibly want to use. I have, however, tried to make each proposal as specific as possible. There is no reason why the wheel needs to be reinvented over and over again, and there is no reason why thousands of teachers should have to strive to develop the same lesson plan.


It should be possible for teachers to copy parts of this guide and distribute it to their students as an assignment. The phrasing is appropriate for that purpose. It will be necessary, however, for teachers to pick and chose the questions they will assign. If one is suitable, another will definitely not be appropriate.


Numbered questions usually test readersí comprehension of the basic story. Answers can be found in the Chapter in the same order in which they were asked and usually in a single paragraph. Such an approach would be more appropriate for younger students.


Bulleted questions are more general in nature. They are less about the story and more about the reality of life in Ancient Egypt. In some cases the answer can be drawn from a single chapter, but in other cases students will need to look at material in several chapters.


Research questions invite students to go beyond the book. Historical Fiction attempts to use the novel as a means of presenting the truth about the past. Each Research Question deals with a specific aspect of the history of Ancient Egypt. Part of the answer can be found in the novel, but the rest must be found elsewhere. Suggestions are made for websites that might be helpful.







  1. What is Senet?

  2. Describe the floor of Akhenaten's Throne Room.

  3. Describe Akhenatenís physical appearance.

  4. What was a Jubilee?

  5. What was surprising about Akhenatenís decision to have a Jubilee?

  6. What announcements were to be made at the Jubilee?

  7. What is polytheism?

  8. Who was Amun?

  9. Why had Amun become so powerful?

  10.  Who was Aye?

  11. Why did Aye dislike the Amun priests?




Research Topics:

a) How do you play Senet?

You can find information on this topic at:







b) Discuss the various theories have been put forward to explain Akhenatenís unusual appearance.

You can find information on this topic at:



See also pp. 102-103 of The Amarna Experiment








  1. How did the Amun priesthood acquire so much power?

  2. Why did Aye dislike the High Priest of Amun?

  3. Describe the appearance of the party's hostess, Teti.

  4. Describe a typical party of the middle and upper classes in Ancient Egypt.

  5. What did you learn from this chapter about the place of women in Ancient Egypt?





Research Topics:

a) Research the legal rights of women in Ancient Egypt.


b) Compare the legal rights of women in Ancient Egypt and Babylonia.









  1. What do you find unusual about Amunhotep III's choice of Tiy as his Great Wife?

  2. Why did Tiy dislike Nefertiti?

  3. Why did Tiy object to the way her son behaved as king?






  1. Who was Nefertiti?

  2. What did she look like?

  3. Describe her costume for the ceremony honoring Amun?

  4. Describe the daily care given a god's statue.

  5. What is the Festival of Opet?







  1. Who was Antef?

  2. In what way was Antef an exception to the usual rules about social class in Ancient Egypt?

  3. What was mummification?

  4. How was it done in Ancient Egypt?




Research Topic

a) What did the Ancient Egyptians believe about the Afterlife? How does this explain their need to mummify the dead?

You can find information on this topic at:












  1. Who was Nakht?

  2. What was the job of the Vizier?

  3. What were professional mourners?

  4. What was the tekenu?

  5. What was the sem-priest?

  6. Describe a funeral procession in Ancient Egypt.






  1. What declaration did Akhenaten make about Amun?

  2. What happened to Amun's Temple as a result?

  3. Why did men like Panehsi rob tombs?

  4. What was the penalty for people caught robbing a tomb?

  5. While Antef and May were hiding in the tomb, they heard two men plotting to murder the King. Why were these men so angry with Akhenaten?






  1. What was Amarna?

  2. What was a sistrum?

  3. Describe the Royal Highway and the Temple of Aten.

  4. How was the Temple of Aten different from the temples of other gods?

  5. Why did Aye oppose moving the capital city to Amarna?

  6. What does the incident involving the Hittite ambassador tell us about Akhenaten?




Research Topic:

a) Describe the city of Amarna (or Akhetaten, as it was known in Ancient Egypt).

Include itís location, and an explanation of why the site was chosen. Describe the prominent buildings, special features and the housing. Much of this material can be found in the book, but the following web sites will also be helpful:

For the workers village at Amarna, see http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/easternvillage.htm


For upper class housing, see









  1. Who was Tiy?

  2. Why did she dislike Akhenaten's decision to move the capital city to Amarna?

  3. Describe the ship Tiy sailed in when she went to Amarna.

  4. Akhenaten ordered his workers to erase the phrase Amun from the walls of the temple. Why did he do this? Why did this action anger Tiy?

  5. Why did Nefertiti fear and dislike Tiy?





  1. Tiy thought that Egypt was "falling apart". What evidence did she present in support of this statement?

  2. According to Tiy, what was the reason Egypt was "falling apart"?

  3. What was the Tribute Ceremony?





  1. Describe the living arrangements of Antef and May after they married. Why, do you suppose, they chose this.

  2. What happened to Antefís children?

  3. Why did Antef and May go to Amarna? Did they succeed? Explain.

  4. Most people in Ancient Egypt were farmers. Identify some of the other occupations that could be found in large cities like Amarna.

  5. Describe the Captainís house in Amarna.

  6. Who were Osiris and Isis? What happened to them?

  7. What is a deben?

  8. There were no coins in Ancient Egypt. How did workers get paid?

  9. Where did Akhenaten build his tomb?

  10. Where did Akhenaten build his tomb?

  11. What happened at the Tribute Ceremony to make Antef so unhappy?



Research Topic

a) Make a note on housing in Amarna. Use the Captainís house to start and then look at the following web sites for further information:




b) Draw a map of Amarna and locate on it the places and events mentioned in this and succeeding chapters.












  1. How did Akhenaten's daughters see the success of the Tribute Ceremony?

  2. How did his wife view it?

  3. How did his mother view it?

  4. Who did Tiy blame for weakening the Empire?

  5. Why was Aye prepared to help begin the restoration of the old ways?






  1. Other New Kingdom monarchs were buried in the Valley of the Kings. Where did Akhenaten build his tomb?

  2. Describe Akhenaten's tomb.

  3. Who was Meketaten?





  1. Nefertiti had six daughters. Why was she so upset that she had no son?

  2. What plan did Akhenaten and Nefertiti devise to get the royal heir they so desperately needed?

  3. Why would their daughters support this plan?

  4. Who was Smenkhkare?

  5. Why did Nefertiti dislike him?

  6. Why was Nefertiti angry with her husband?








  1. What happened to Smenkhkare and Akhenaten?

  2. Whom did Egyptians blame for this?

  3. Why did Ankhesenpaaten not contact Aye when she realized her father was dying?

  4. What was the heir?

  5. What problem did this present and how would Egyptians deal with it?

  6. Describe Tutankhamun's response to becoming King.

  7. Why was it necessary to change Ankhesenpaaten's name?







  1. How was Aye able to succeed to the throne?

  2. Why was Ankhesenamun worried about here position after the death of her husband?

  3. How did she propose to become the ruler of Egypt?

  4. Who was Horemheb?

  5. How did Aye and Horemheb deal with Ankhesenamun's plan? 



Research topic:

        a) What was the role of the Queen in Ancient Egypt?

see: http://www.womenintheancientworld.com/royal_women.htm










  1. Why do you think the experiment in monotheism failed?

  2. "A king must look like a king." Discuss this statement in the light of Akhenatenís reign as ruler of Egypt.

  3. "Anyone who aspires to rule must look the part." Depending on the background of the students, a teacher might suggest a comparison of the part this statement played in the success or failure of Akhenaten and some other ruler.

  4. Make a chart showing the main personalities in the story, the characteristics of each, and the role of each in the "experiment". (For those classes where the book is being studied as literature, rather than as history.)

  5. Marriage is one of the most important institutions in any society. Write a note on Ancient Egyptian marriage.

  6. Marriage is one of the most important institutions in any society. Compare marriage in Ancient Egypt with marriage in another society you have studied.

  7. Ancient Egyptians paid a lot of attention to dualities: day and night; order and chaos; good and evil, etc. They believed that one part of the duality could not exist without the other; that is, good was not possible without evil. One of the more obvious dualities is, of course, male and female. Discuss the role of male and female as it applied to the monarchy in Ancient Egypt.

  8. Write an essay on religion in Ancient Egypt.

  9. If a Twenty-First Century woman (from your country) were to find herself transported back in time to Ancient Egypt, what things would she find the same and what would she find different?

  10. Compare the legal status of women in Ancient Egypt and another ancient civilization.

  11.  Four students could engage in either a formal debate or a panel discussion on the assertion,  "Akhenaten was never given the respect and support he deserved."

  12. The following questions may not be suitable for every class or even every student within a class.

    ∑ Compare the monotheism of Akhenaten with the monotheism of Moses.

    ∑ Compare the religious beliefs of Akhenaten and Moses. Why did one succeed and the other fail in his effort to gain wide acceptance for his ideas?





Write a note on each of the following: Terms are generally presented in the order in which they first appear in the story. This is not necessarily the order in which the most material will be found for the answer. All of the following play some part in Ancient Egyptian history, but teachers should pick and chose only the ones they feel are relevant for their students.

1. Pharaoh

2. Senet

3. Aye

4. Meritaten

5. Jubilee

6. Aten

7. Amun

8. Nefertiti

9. Akhenaten

10. High Priest

11. Tiy

12. Amunhotep III

13. Myrrh

14. Thebes

15. Vizier

16. Great Wife

17. Festival of Opet

18. Mummification

19. Natron

20. Divine Father

21. Tekenu

22. Memphis

23. Amarna

24. Nile River

25. Osiris

26. Set

27. Isis

28. Pyramid

29. Deben

30. Tribute Ceremony

31. Scribe

32. Sitamun

33. Smenkhkare

34. Ankhesenpaaten

35. Tutankhamun

36. Horemheb