Back in August, I posted a story about an archaeologist who had proposed a theory that there may be hidden chambers inside King Tut’s tomb, and that those chambers could in fact lead to the final resting spot of Nefertiti, one of Egypt’s most well known female historical figures, whose burial site has never been found. Now, just a few short months later, researchers are saying that they believe that these secret passages may indeed exist, and could contain treasures that go well beyond those found in the boy-king’s burial chamber.
Last week, archaeologists took ground penetrating radar into the tomb of Tutankhamen in attempt to peer beyond the existing walls in search of hidden passages behind two panels that may be secret doors. On Saturday, they announced their findings, which look very promising. So promising in fact, that Egyptian antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty now says that there is about a 90% chance that another chamber sits hidden behind the north wall of Tut’s tomb, and that there is evidence of another hidden doorway along the west wall as well.
The results of the radar scans lend credence to the theory that was put forth in July by British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves. He spotted the potential hidden chambers while reviewing the physical layout of the tomb, and extrapolated that the area beyond could be the resting place of Nefertiti, who was the Tut’s mother in law. Since than, others have physically examined the tomb as well, and found evidence to support Reeves’ theory. The radar scans were simply the next step in looking for further clues, and were necessary before any kind of excavation could potentially begin.
Reeves, who has been studying Tut’s tomb for more than 30 years, says that he first got the idea that more hidden chambers could exist when he looked at laser scans that were made of the burial chamber back in 2009. They showed structural differences that weren’t readily apparent thanks to the paint and other decorations that are a part of the walls. He also says that he believes most of the artifacts found in Tut’s tomb were actually originally made for someone else. Most likely a woman.
He has further postulated that Nefertiti didn’t just pass out of history when her husband – a powerful pharaoh named Akhenaten – died, but instead ascended to the throne herself. Reeves says he thinks she changed her name to Smenkhkare, and much like Hatshepsut, the female-pharaoh that proceeded her, ruled the country for a time.
Whether or not the hidden chambers do exist, and what treasures they might hold, is likely to remain a mystery for a bit longer. It’ll take some time before a team of archaeologists can carefully remove the sections of the wall that cover the secret passages, as they’ll go to great lengths to not damage the existing site. That will be painstaking work for sure, but once completed it could reveal a piece of hidden history that will be fascinating to behold.
For now, we’ll just have to wait patiently for more news. If there are hidden chambers behind the walls of Tut’s tomb, they have been locked away for more than 3400 years. They can wait just a bit longer to be revealed to the world.
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