Move over, Indiana Jones. We have Nicholas Reeves.
King Tut, the buck-toothed, club-footed teenager who captured the hearts of an Egyptian nation before his untimely death at age 19, was embalmed in a makeshift tomb. According to archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, the body of Queen Nefertiti may be just inside the next chamber.
Tut was first discovered by a 1922 team of archaeologists who botched his exhuming so badly that they broke some of his bones and rendered today’s top scientists puzzled as to his actual cause of death. TourEgypt.net tells in detail about how theories about Tut’s demise have changed over the years, due to the scrambling of evidence.
— Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura) March 31, 2016
The boy king was laid to rest in a tomb that historians believe was originally designed for someone else. The tiny room, crammed with about 2,000 priceless artifacts and memorial treasures was not the traditional size of a crypt for a king. This lends to the theory that Tut’s death came without much warning, and his body hastily embalmed.
Further, it has led scientists to wonder if maybe the room was meant for Queen Nefertiti, whom historians believe was Tut’s stepmother, or possibly biological mother.
In 2015, Dr. Reeves told BBC News he had been poring over some new radar scans of King Tut’s tomb, and noticed what he thought looked like marks of two doorways.
“I have been testing the evidence ever since, looking for indications that what I thought I was seeing was, in fact, not there. But the more I looked, the more information I found that I seemed to be looking at something pretty real.”
Sure enough, Reeves’ hunch played out. CNBC reported on March 17 that evidence of two chambers showed up in a new scan.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty told a press conference that the scans revealed metal and organic masses. This indicates that the rooms could contain funerary objects, belonging to another royal.
“It could be the discovery of the century. It’s very important for Egyptian history and the history of the world.”
Further, more extensive scans were taken on March 31. Egypt’s newly-appointed Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, seems less effusive than his predecessor, al-Damaty.
“We cannot talk about results now.”
In a further teasing statement, other officials confirmed the sign of “anomalies” in the newest scans, but declined to comment further, saying more study was needed.
National Geographic, which sponsored the effort, said that at least a week will be required in order to analyze the data. Scans have been sent to experts in both Egypt and the United States.
El-Enany called for “an international debate,” requesting that scholars around the world participate in a conference in Cairo in May. The minister said he hopes to hear the full range of theories about Tut’s tomb.
“We are not looking for hidden chambers. We are looking for reality and the truth.”
The man who started it all, Dr. Nicholas Reeves, was present at the site during the scan.
“I’m like the rest of the world. I’m waiting for more information. Archaeologically, to me, the evidence still seems compelling. What we have to do now is supply it with 21st-century technology.”
Nefertiti was queen alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten from 1353 to 1336 B.C. She is one of the most compelling and mysterious figures in Egyptian history.
Nefertiti is thought to have succeeded the reign of her husband, Ahketaten, following a time of great upheaval within the country. Ahketaten had usurped the religious trends of the day, replacing Egypt’s chief god Amun with Aten, the sun god, according to History.com.
King Tut aka “the Boy King” had “girlish hips, buck teeth, and a club foot”. pic.twitter.com/brgd9lpqA1
— Lady Beezus (@CuteButNotFunny) March 7, 2016
Nefertiti changed her name in kind, to “Neferneferuaten.” Her full name meant, “Beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a Beautiful Woman has come.”
Tut gained tremendous popularity by restoring the Amun priesthood after the death of Akhenaten. To support the national religion, he changed his name from Tutankaten to Tutankamun. He ruled Egypt as pharaoh for ten years until his death, around 1324 B.C.
[Image via Kristof Degreef/Shutterstock]