It erupted from the sands of Egypt in 2015, generating ripples of excitement around the world.
But then he was killed. And killed again.
Now, the hope that King Tutankhamun’s famous tomb will hide secret chambers has increased again.
British Egyptologist Dr. Nicholas Reeves brought the story of Tut’s hidden chambers to life five years ago. He had noticed anomalies in the plastered walls.
A radar scan penetrating the ground seemed to confirm his hopes. The enthusiastic Egyptian minister for antiquities said that “90 percent certainty” the rooms were there.
But two successive radar scans seemed to kill any expectation of finding hidden mummies.
Both insisted that there was nothing there.
Now according to the scientific journal Nature , speculation has been resumed again.
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There has been yet another radar survey. This time of the land surrounding the grave.
Previous scans had been limited to its borders.
“The results – in an unedited report, the details of which have been seen by Nature – resurrect a controversial theory according to which the young king’s burial place hides the existence of a larger tomb, which could contain the mysterious Egyptian queen Nefertiti, “reads the report.
Second Nature, archaeologist Mamdouh Eldamaty led a team using a penetrating radar to probe the rocks and rubble around Tut’s grave.
Their unpublished report highlights a corridor-like void running perpendicularly from a “door” in the north wall of Tut’s funeral chamber.
If correct, it implies the presence of a hidden tomb structure much larger than previously hypothesized.
“Clearly there is something on the other side of the north wall of the burial chamber,” said Egyptian Egyptologist Ray Johnson Nature.
The magazine reports that the radar results were turned over to the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities in early February this year.
They have yet to release the results.
But Nature published a diagram showing the known structure of Tut’s tomb, the previously deduced cavities and part of the last soil survey.
The radar map is only partial. And its boundaries are blurred.
However, it appears to show a cavity that runs behind the north wall of Tut’s treasure chamber and below the valley from which the entrance to the tomb leads.
FRAGMENTS OVER TIME
It was the most significant archaeological discovery in all history: the almost intact tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.
Howard Carter didn’t realize it at the time.
But it was strange. Where almost all the other pharaohs had tombs that boast long corridors and separate rooms for wives and children, Tut was abnormally small.
There was a small annex full of furniture. The anteroom was rough and bare. The treasure was overflowing. And the burial chamber itself was just large enough to hold the pile of Russian shrines like a pile of shrines built around its sarcophagus.
Others argue that the shape and orientation of the tomb corresponded to the ritual profile used for those who belonged to the queens.
In any case, the idea that this particular tomb was not initially intended for Tutankhamun will not die.
Queen Nefertiti may have been built for her mother / stepmother (the direct relationship remains obscure). Although it could have been thought of for his half-sister and royal wife Ankhesenamun – or for a mysterious queen named Ankhkheperure.
But it was the British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves who, in 2015, announced that he had made a tempting discovery.
THE TALE OF THE TOMB
Reeve noticed strange depressions in the plaster walls of Tut’s funeral chamber. He had studied 3D laser scans of painted scenes created during recent conservation efforts.
He linked these two “gates” to his assessment of Tutankhamun’s precious possessions, including his world-famous funeral mask. He supported the preponderance of female figurines, statues with breasts and evidence of remodeled cartouches (stamps with real name) suggesting that it had been “re-proposed” by a previous royal.
He believed Royal was Nefertiti.
And he believed that Tut’s unexpected death had provoked a frenzied struggle to adapt his burial to his life after death.
Fragmentary clues from the decade between Akhenaten’s death and Tutankhamun’s reign indicate the possibility of other pharaohs. But this could have been Nefertiti’s ruling under a different real name.
The Nefertiti burial site has never been found. But speculation is widespread if an unidentified mummy (nicknamed the “Young Lady”) found bundled with other looted mummies is, in effect, that of the heretical queen.
Finding Nefertiti and her grave would help unravel the fate of one of the most extraordinary women in history, made famous by her extraordinary bust of extraordinarily painted limestone stucco now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin.
GHOSTS ON THE STONE
A few months after Reeves’ release in 2015, controversial radar technician Hirokatsu Watanabe conducted the first 3300-year-old tomb scan. He claimed to have found two cavities containing “metallic” and “organic” objects.
It was an extraordinary statement that sparked an international sensation.
Could there be another great treasure just out of our reach?
Could one of the most enticing mysteries of ancient Egypt be solved?
In 2016, the Egyptian Antiquities Department summoned National Geographic to assist with a second scan to verify the complaint.
He found nothing.
“If we had a vacuum, we should have a strong reflection,” said geophysicist Dean Goodman of the GPR-Slice software National Geographic news.
“But it doesn’t exist.”
In 2017 the physicist of the University of Turin Francesco Porcelli was authorized to perform a follow-up radar scan.
“Our work conclusively demonstrates that there are no hidden chambers, nor corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb,” said Porcelli.
So in early 2019, hope was revived.
The Independent Egypt He reported that a British-Egyptian expedition had started in June to follow up on the anomalies in the scan of the University of Turin. It was to report late last year.
Any results have yet to be published.
It is against this irregular trace that the latest “discovery” must be compared.
Among the main critics of the idea is the former high-profile chief of antiquities, Zahi Hawass. He led a large-scale expedition by digging around the tombs of Ramses VII, Hatshepsut, Ramses III and Merenptah. According to the Egyptian news service AhramOnline, is chasing Nefertiti’s and Ankhsenamun’s graves.
“He said he thinks the wide valley between the tomb of Amenhotep III and Ay could be the area containing the tombs of the Amarna family,” reports Ahram.
Hawass said Nature who had personally excavated the area north of Tut’s tomb where the new radar scan had been conducted – and had found nothing.