In a press conference held Thursday in Cairo, the Egyptian antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty revealed new evidence that King Tutankhamun’s tomb — long thought to be an isolated room — has hidden chambers beyond its walls. And those chambers, Eldamaty added, aren’t empty.
Public interest in the ancient boy-King’s tomb was rekindled when British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves presented his theory about the room’s hidden chambers in a paper last year. The Egyptology community initially scoffed at his suggestion that those chambers existed — and might have originally been built for Queen Nefertiti. But Reeves and his team, which includes Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe, have slowly built a strong case.
During his first round of re-inspection last September, Reeves found mysterious lines on the ceiling and walls of the tomb that suggested they were hiding two secret doorways.
Confirming his theory, unfortunately, wasn’t as easy as breaking down the ancient walls. One of them is painted over with a priceless mural. Destroying it was out of the question.
Instead of using brute force, Reeves turned to radar to see through the stone walls. As National Geographic reported, the high-resolution scans provide clear evidence that his theory was right: There are hidden chambers beyond King Tut’s tomb, and furthermore, they’re lined with metal and organic goods.
What those goods are, however, remains to be seen. Radar is very different from x-ray, after all; while the scans confirmed that there was a “non-naturally occurring chamber or cavity” on the other side of the wall and that there were things within that void, it didn’t provide a clear picture of what those things were.
For all of the legends surrounding Queen Nefertiti, she’s been impossible to pin down. Though archaeologists have searched for decades, the final resting place of the majestic queen has never been found. Reeves’ bold hypothesis is that King Tut’s tomb isn’t his at all. The burial equipment in the tomb, he writes, suggests that it was built for a woman.
And that woman, who Reeves believes is the fabled Queen herself, could very well be buried in one of the newly discovered secret chambers.