Egypt’s antiquities minister has called it the “discovery of a century:” radar scans have found tantalizing evidence of hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb.
And something is hiding inside.
If one archaeologist’s wild theory is right, archaeologists may have just found the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, a tomb that will have laid undisturbed for 3,400 years. At the very least, they have uncovered something they weren’t expecting.
The find in King Tut’s crypt was announced by Mamdouh Eldamaty at a press conference in Cairo, according to NBC News.
“It could be the discovery of the century. It’s very important for Egyptian history and the history of the world.”
While he’s 90 percent certain that radar scans have found hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb, he’s less certain about what’s inside but believes they may actually have belonged to a king or queen. More tests will be done at the end of the month to explore the hidden rooms further and decide what to do next.
— Ancient History (@ahencyclopedia) March 17, 2016
Eldamaty’s announcement about King Tut’s tomb came a few months after a preliminary scan hinted at hidden rooms, National Geographic reported. Those results, conducted by one expert, were corroborated by others and are now considered conclusive.
“Based on the signatures that are in the data, there’s a void, and there’s definitely something that’s within the void. There’s something in there,” said one of those outside experts, Remy Hiramoto.
If the discovery of hidden rooms wasn’t exciting enough, radar scans detected objects hidden inside that are composed of both metal and organic materials. The room is located on King Tut’s tomb’s north side, and the tests hint that metal and organic objects lie behind the hidden rooms’ north walls; additional organic items lie behind the west wall.
Radar scans in King Tut's burial chamber reveal the presence of unidentified metal objects within hidden rooms: https://t.co/KoY5wnmjBb
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) March 17, 2016
This all began in July last year, when British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves released a paper that put forth some remarkable theories about King Tut’s resting place. An expert on the Valley of the Kings, Reeves claimed that hidden rooms lie behind a wall in King Tut’s tomb, much to the skepticism of the Egyptology community.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, he had some pretty good reasons for believing this. In laser scans of the burial chamber, he spied clear, straight lines underneath a coating of paint and plaster, indicating two hidden doorways. There were other clues in King Tut’s burial chamber: the ceiling appears to extend past the room on the northern and western walls, and the line on the ceiling matches the section of the wall that seems to have been covered with plaster. And the wall in question is made of soft plaster, whereas the spot Nicholas suspects hides a doorway is comprised of gritty material. This material actually matches some found covering a different blocked door in 1922, opened by archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.
— History (@HistoryTime_) March 17, 2016
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) March 17, 2016
But the most thrilling part of Reeves’ theory is about who is buried in the hidden rooms — Queen Nefertiti. No hard evidence supports this theory, but this much is true: King Tut’s funerary mask was made for the queen, and King Tut’s grave goods were initially intended for someone else.
It’s possible, according to this theory, that King Tut stole Nefertiti’s tomb and treasures because he died before his own tomb was ready. After ruling for nine years, he perished suddenly at 19 in 1324 B.C. So, 10 years after Nefertiti’s final days, her tomb was (hypothetically) opened up, her remains and grave goods moved out, and King Tut and his sarcophagus moved in.
“I’ve not found anything that makes me doubt my initial conclusions,” Reeves said about the newest radar scans. “I guess we’re getting closer to a resolution now.”
Eldamaty thinks that the hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb may contain one of Akhenaten’s wives, Kiya, the Times of Israel noted; Akhenaten was Tut’s father, and Nefertiti was his mother.
On March 31, National Geographic will head to Egypt to be part of additional scans. Their main purpose is to discern the thickness of the walls, which will inform the next step of the investigation. Eldamaty refused to say what that could be.
King Tut’s tomb was unearthed by Howard Carter in 1922. More than 5,000 pristine artifacts were discovered at the time, and it was considered the most intact royal tomb ever found.
[Photo by Nariman El-Mofty/AP]