The burial of the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti, still not found by archaeologists, may be in the tomb of Tutankhamun. This is the conclusion reached by scientists who examined the tomb of the pharaoh using a GPR and discovered a previously unknown corridor space behind the wall of the burial room. If subsequent discoveries confirm the correctness of Egyptologists, it will become the biggest sensation of our time.
There may be secret rooms behind the walls of the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, a radar study showed. This is reported by the journal Nature with reference to the results of an as yet unpublished study, which was reviewed by the publication. These data revive the controversial theory that the burial of the young pharaoh hides a larger tomb, which may belong to the mysterious queen Nefertiti.
A team of researchers led by the former head of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Mamdoh Eldamati used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to scan the area around the tomb of Tutankhamun. According to the statement made, they were able to identify a previously unknown corridor space a few meters from the burial room. Their discovery was reported to the Ministry of Antiquities earlier in February.
The findings are "extremely exciting," said Egyptologist Ray Johnson, who was not involved in the study.
“There is clearly something behind the northern wall of the burial chamber,” he concluded.
The existence of additional rooms in the tomb of Tutankhamun was previously studied by several research groups. They gave controversial results, so many researchers rejected the idea. For example, physicist Francesco Porzelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin, who led the study using GPR inside the tomb in 2017, insists that his data excludes the presence of hidden rooms in the structure.
The Eldamati team studied the version that the tomb of Tutankhamun, opened in 1922 and having an unusually modest size for burials of this kind, includes secret rooms, including, possibly, the last refuge of Nefertiti. Some Egyptologists believe that even before the reign of Tutankhamun in the XIV century BC, Nefertiti, whose daughter Ankhesenpaaton was married to Tutankhamun, did not lead the Egyptian state for long. Her tomb in the Valley of the Kings has never been found.
The team of researchers discovered an oblong space in the basement at the same depth as Tutankhamun's burial room, a few meters away and parallel to the entrance to the tomb. This space can be about two meters high and about 10 meters long. It is not yet clear whether the discovered space is related to the tomb of Tutankhamun, also known as KV62, or if it is part of another nearby tomb.
However, the Eldamati group has arguments to support their position.
He himself expressed a hypothesis about the existence of secret rooms in the tomb of Tutankhamun back in 2015. At the same time, the researchers were going to open the tomb in the hope of discovering the burial of Nefertiti. New reports suggest that the case has not progressed too far over the past five years.
As the British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, who has been working in the Valley of the Kings for many years, admitted, the data obtained by the Eldamati team are intriguing. He was the first to suggest that the KV62 has a continuation. Reeves, however, believed that the secret rooms were north of Tut's tomb.
“If Nefertiti was buried as a pharaoh, it would be the greatest archaeological find of all time,” he stressed.
Earlier, Reeves suggested that Queen Nefertiti was hiding under the name of Pharaoh Smenkhkar. The Egyptologist admits that the tomb of Tutankhamun was originally prepared specifically for Nefertiti. But since the young pharaoh died suddenly at the age of 19, he had to be buried in a "strange" tomb.
According to Reeves, there is no need to rush into research, since digging in rocks can be very time consuming. In addition, drilling through the north wall of the burial chamber can damage artifacts.
In turn, the ex-Minister of Antiquities of Egypt Zahi Hawass noted that the use of geophysical methods of searching for tombs in this country had previously given false hopes.
He believes that such works should not be continued. As Hawass stressed, the use of GPR "has never led to any discoveries in Egypt." This researcher himself is looking for unknown graves, including the burial of Nefertiti. However, it uses a more traditional technique. He told Nature that in 2019 he excavated the area north of KV62 in search of entrances to the tomb, but found nothing.
Nefertiti was the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled from 1353-1336 BC. Her biography is shrouded in mystery. Some historians believe that the beauty was Egyptian, others point to her foreign origin. No less mysterious is the death and burial place of one of the most influential women of her time, whose name translates as "Beauty has come."
Nefertiti gained wide popularity among lovers of history and mystery after her sculptural bust was discovered in 1912. The find was made by the German Egyptologist Ludwig Borchardt, who gained the fame of "the man who discovered Nefertiti." Along with the bust in the studio of the ancient Egyptian sculptor Thutmose, over fifty more sculptures depicting Pharaoh Akhenaten and his entourage were discovered, and plaster models, on the basis of which stone monuments were later created.
In 1913, a bust of Nefertiti, deliberately disfigured by the imposed plaster, which forced the Egyptian government to recognize it as of little value, was taken to Germany.
The bust of Nefertiti is considered one of the most valuable works of the Amarna style and ancient Egyptian art in general.
In the 2010s, thanks to computed tomography, specialists were able to make out the real face of the queen, hidden under a layer of plaster. Akhenaten's wife had a hump on her nose, dimple folds on her cheeks and not particularly protruding cheekbones.