Is the greatest archaeological find of the century about to be revealed?
The hidden chambers in King Tutankhamun’s tomb are full of treasure and amazing artefacts – and potentially the final resting place of Nefertiti – according to Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou.
“We do not know if the burial chamber is Nefertiti or another woman, but it is full of treasures,” Zaazou told a Spanish newspaper.
“Reeves has found a wall behind the tomb of Tutankhamun leading to a room where there is proven to be metals, stones... Imagine what will be there. We are working on it and in April we will announce the news to the world.”
The discovery is an exciting possibility, but archaeology enthusiasts have been burned by claims from government officials before.
Just last year, an official from the Polish government set the world ablaze with claims he was “99 percent certain” that a Nazi gold train had been found in a railway embankment in Walbrzych.
Experts later determined that while there might be a secret tunnel, there was no train.
The Search For Nefertiti
After two days of radar scans in the tomb of Tutankhamun in November last year, archaeologists concluded that preliminary examination of the data provides evidence that unopened sections lie behind two hidden doorways in the pharaoh’s underground burial chamber.
The results bolstered the theory of Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist who believes that the tomb contains another royal burial. The hidden tomb, he has speculated, belongs to Nefertiti, King Tut’s mother-in-law, who may have ruled as a female pharaoh during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty.
If so, this would be only the second intact royal burial site to be discovered in modern times –and it would, in the words of Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian antiquities minister, represent “one of the most important finds of the century.”
“The radar scan tells us that on this side of the north wall, we have two different materials,” he said. “We believe that there could be another chamber.”
The scans – conducted by Hirokatsu Watanabe, a Japanese radar specialist – also provide evidence of a second hidden doorway in the adjoining west wall.
Together these features lend credence to Reeves’s theory, which he made public in July. Since then examinations of the physical features of the burial chamber have added support.
But until the tests began in November, the evidence ran no deeper than the surface of the walls. Radar scans had never previously been conducted in the tomb, and they represent a crucial step in the investigation. For the first time, specialists have collected data about both the material structure of the walls and the open spaces behind them. It’s these spaces that are most intriguing—they could contain artefacts and possibly even burial goods that rival those found with Tutankhamun.
“Everything is adding up,” says Reeves, a National Geographic grantee. We were standing next to the north wall, whose painted scene has been visible since 1922, when Howard Carter rediscovered the tomb. But after observing the scans, I found that the wall looked different to me—I couldn’t help but imagine what may lie beyond. “The tomb is not giving up its secrets easily,” Reeves continued. “But it is giving them up, bit by bit. It’s another result. And nothing is contradicting the basic direction of the theory.”
Nefertiti was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten and widely famed for her beauty. It’s thought that she was as powerful a figure in ancient Egypt as her husband.