Nefertiti may be lying in King Tut's tomb

An archaeologist with the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his mausoleum. "We are saying now it's 90 per cent likely there is something behind the walls," said Egypt's antiquities minister.
An archaeologist with the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his mausoleum. "We are saying now it's 90 per cent likely there is something behind the walls," said Egypt's antiquities minister.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LUXOR (Egypt) • Chances are high that the tomb of Ancient Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun has passages to a hidden chamber, which may be the last resting place of Queen Nefertiti, and new evidence from the site will go to Japan for analysis, experts said yesterday.

Nefertiti, thought to have been Tutankhamun's stepmother, died in the 14th century BC, and discovery of her final resting place would be the most remarkable Egyptian archaeological find this century.

British egyptologist Nicholas Reeves announced plans for further investigations at a news conference with Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty, who said data would be taken to Japan for study and that chances were high that a chamber exists.

"We said earlier there was a 60 per cent chance there is something behind the walls. But after the initial reading of the scans, we are saying now it's 90 per cent likely there is something behind the walls," said Mr Damaty.

Discovery of Nefertiti, whose chiselled cheek bones and regal beauty were immortalised in a 3,300-year-old bust now in a Berlin museum, would shed fresh light on what remains a mysterious period of Egyptian history despite frenzied international interest.

"There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt. We cannot say at this point, however, the size of the space behind the wall," Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe told the news conference.

"We have the data but we must analyse it to understand it. But we are working in the Valley of the Kings, so we are expecting to find antiquities behind the wall."

Dr Reeves said last month that he believed Tutankhamun's mausoleum was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she had lain undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall for more than 3,000 years.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 29, 2015, with the headline 'Nefertiti may be lying in King Tut's tomb'. Print Edition | Subscribe