Archaeologists have been trying to find the grave of Queen Nefertiti, also known as the “beautiful one,” for a very long time with no success. Now, one of Egyptology’s most enduring mysteries may have just been solved, and it may have been in plain site all this time.
According to new research by British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti may be resting beyond two hidden doorways inside the tomb of King Tutankhamun, who is believed by many to be the son of Nefertiti.
After extensively analyzing high resolution images that were published online last year by Factum Arte, Reeves spotted cracks in the walls that he believes could indicate two previously unknown “ghost” doorways that lay behind the walls.
“The implications are extraordinary, for if digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era storeroom to the west; to the north (there) appears to be signaled a continuation of tomb KV 62 (Tutankhamun’s tomb), and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment—that of Nefertiti herself,” Dr Reeves wrote in his research paper.
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Tutankhamun died under mysterious circumstances in 1323 B.C. at the age of 19. His tomb was discovered by Howard Carter, an English archaeologist, in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings. It was and still is one of Egypt’s most prolific discoveries, and was the most intact tomb ever unearthed, with around 2,000 objects being recovered.
According to CNN, Reeves theorizes that the size of Tutankhamun’s tomb is “less than appropriate” for the final resting place of an Egyptian king. Instead, he seems to solve the conundrum that has baffled archaeologists for years by explaining that it’s inadequate size and layout is because it’s an extension of an earlier tomb originally designed for a queen.
Reeves also wrote that there was recycled equipment that was found in the burial chamber that pre-dates Tutankhamun’s accession. With this knowledge, he believes that the tomb was most likely intended for an Egyptian queen of the late 18th Dynasty, with which Reeves points out that Nefertiti was the only woman to achieve such honors. Then it was re-purposed upon Tutankhamun’s untimely death at 17 years old.
Reeves wrote: “At the time of Nefertiti’s burial, there had surely been no intention that Tutankhamun would in due course occupy this same tomb.
“That thought would not occur until the king’s early and unexpected death a decade later.”
Scholars have been debating over Nefertiti’s burial place for more than a century.
Some believe she was buried in Amarna, which is an ancient capital city that was founded by Pharaoh Akhenaten. With this new theory, it has Egyptologists thinking.
“It’s certainly tantalizing what Nicholas Reeves has suggested,” says Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at Cambridge University.
“If we look at what we know: We’re pretty certain there is an undiscovered royal tomb of roughly the same period somewhere, because we have more kings than we have tombs, so logic suggests that there’s still a tomb to be found.”
Is Queen Nefertiti’s lost grave hidden in King Tut’s Tomb?
According to The Economist, Egyptologists are habitually reticent about each other’s work, and will no doubt wait to embrace this especially bold claim, but Mr. Reeves’s paper has already aroused keen interest. “It’s a fascinating argument and an impressive first step,” says Kent Weeks, an American archaeologist who has minutely mapped the Valley of the Kings, and in 1995 discovered the extent of its biggest known tomb. Mr. Reeves’s theory would be simple to test using non-invasive techniques, says Weeks. A radar scan, for a start, would quickly reveal any hollows.
Joyce Tyldesley is a senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester, is not convinced, and told the Times: “It would not be surprising if the tomb had been intended to have additional rooms.
“I would be very surprised if this tomb was built to house the original or first burial of Nefertiti, as it seems to me that it is highly likely that she died during her husband’s reign, and so would have been buried at Amarna, the city purpose-built by Akhenaten in Middle Egypt.
“Whether or not her body was subsequently transported to Thebes by Tutankhamun, who may have been her son, is difficult to say. There is good evidence that he did move some of the Amarna royal bodies, but I would have expected her to be buried somewhere in the Western Valley, rather than in the center of the Valley of Kings,” she added.
Hidden chamber in King Tut’s tomb may contain Nefertiti:
Nigel Hetherington, who is a British archaeologist that is based in Egypt, said the new research has the potential to be “phenomenal.”
“The pharaohs were masters of deception. They didn’t need laser lights and razor wire; they could design a tomb which would appear to finish naturally, but then continue,” he said. “To discover a royal burial, now, and in the Valley of the Kings, would be phenomenal.”
But Yasmin El Shazly, a deputy of minister for antiquities, puts it very simply: “No measurements have been taken to prove the theory yet.”
“In my opinion, the claims are not logical as Nefertiti lived in Amarna, the capital of Akhenaton, and her relation was cut with the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor after Akhenaton changed the worship of God Amon to Aton,” Ahmed Motawea, the director of the development of archaeological sites section at the Ministry of Antiquities, said.
“Since it was discovered, there have been lots of photo scans and excavations at the site of King Tutankhamun’s tomb by Egyptians and foreign Egyptologists, and nothing was discovered,” he added.
It would be very exciting if this turns out to be true. What do you think, could it be true?