According to Mamdouh Al-Damati, Egyptian Minister of Antiquity, initial results suggested a 60% possibility of unexplored corridors and chambers within the tomb itself. However, after further investigation Damati said that the chance of a secret passageway existing has grown to 90%. These results boost the claims made by Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist at the University of Arizona. Reeves has long suggested that Tutankhamun’s chamber has distinct linear traces on the walls that point to chambers beyond the pharaoh’s tomb. He argues that Tutankhamun’s chamber is merely the main corridor tomb and that behind the walls rests another mummy.

The mummy in question, according to Reeves, is Queen Nefertiti, wife of pharaoh Akhenaten and mother to Tutankhamun. The reasoning behind Reeves’s allegation is that Tutankhamun’s death at the age of 19 in 1323 BC was very sudden and was followed by a hurried burial, which is apparently evident in the fact that Tutankhamun’s body has more traces of resin in it than any other mummy, suggesting that he was mummified twice: once upon his death, and then a second time for his official burial. This haste caused Tutankhamun to be buried in Nefertiti’s chamber and in turn caused Nefertiti, who had died 10 years prior to Tutankhamun, to be buried elsewhere. This is supposedly evident in the painting found behind Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus, which was originally interpreted as depicting Tutankhamun, but according to Reeves is an illustration of Nefertiti as it makes use of symbols commonly linked with depictions of her.

This claim has been met with mixed emotions as a mummy by the name of “Younger Lady” was discovered in 1898 by Victor Lovet in the Valley of the Kings. Through DNA testing it has been noted that this mummy was the mother of Tutankhamun, also known as Queen Nefertiti. Damati believes that if a mummy is found in the tomb, it will be that of Kiya, a wife of Akhenaten.

Other speculations of the mummy’s identity are Pharaoh Smenkhkare, Queen Meritaten, or Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun’s half-sister and wife. Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities, asserts that there is nothing behind the walls and that he, himself, has already proven the validity of this testimony. Professor Frank Rühli of the Swiss Mummy Project told Discovery News that “the possible findings [in Tutankhamun’s tomb] range from nothing at all or unfinished and closed corridors to storage chambers of intact burials with treasures.”

Regardless of the speculation, it can be noted that new technology will allow for a more in depth study into ancient Egyptian history, allowing for a completely new form of exploration. 

 

Image: Emmanuel Makhado

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