There may be treasures still waiting to be discovered at the site of King Tut’s tomb, nearly a century after it was first discovered in 1922. After inspecting the site yesterday, a team of archaeologists say they’ve found evidence of two previously undiscovered rooms—rooms that may hold the remains of Queen Nefertiti.
The inspection occurred because of a paper published by archaeologist Nicholas Reeves earlier this year, in which he contended that Tutankhamun’s tomb includes two doorways that were plastered and painted over.
Reeves also believes that the tomb was actually built for Nefertiti, the principal wife of Akhenaten, who fathered Tutankhamun with another wife. It’s a contentious topic among archaeologists, but according to his theory, King Tut was hastily buried after his untimely death at the age of 19 in an underground burial chamber that wasn’t meant for him. Reeves suspects that the mummified remains of Nefertiti and various grave goods lie hidden within the secret chambers.
But as the National Geographic reports, “his theory had not been supported by a physical examination of the tomb itself.” Here’s what the archaeologists found during yesterday’s inspection:
“First of all, we saw that on the ceiling itself there’s a distinct line,” Reeves said, after returning from visiting the tomb with Egyptian archaeologists and officials. He explained that in the room that contains Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus, the line on the ceiling perfectly matches the section of wall that appears to have been plastered over. “It suggests that the room was indeed a corridor,” he said.
The archaeologists also noticed a marked contrast in the materials that cover different parts of the same wall. “What my Egyptian colleagues discovered is that there is a distinct difference in the surface of the surrounding wall and the central part that would be covering the door,” Reeves said. “The surrounding wall is a softer plastering. At the point where I suspect there’s a doorway, it’s quite gritty.”
This gritty material matches fragments that originally covered another blocked door opened by Howard Carter in 1922. Carter, who excavated with a meticulousness that was highly unusual for his era, collected the gritty material, and it’s still stored in a side room of the tomb, where Reeves and the others were able to examine it.
So this guy could actually be onto something. However, Reeves can’t just grab a pickaxe and start hacking away at the walls, as the suspected chambers lie behind priceless mosaics. So the next step is to examine the space with radar equipment and thermal imaging. If all goes well, this might happen as early as this coming November. Should Reeves and his team detect something, the Egyptian Ministry will have to figure out how to proceed.
Much more at National Geographic!