The most famous tomb in the world may have been shared, a discovery that could unlock one of the world’s greatest mysteries: What happened to a beautiful queen who once ruled ancient Egypt?
On Thursday, Egypt’s minister of antiquities announced that radar scans of King Tut’s tomb have potentially uncovered two new chambers inside the pharaoh’s mausoleum. The scans, added Mamdouh al-Damaty, revealed metal and organic masses that suggest there are funeral objects inside the rooms.
“It could be the discovery of the century,” Damaty told reporters. “It’s very important for Egyptian history and the history of the world.”
The spaces could have belonged to king or queen, he said, adding that further scans are scheduled at the end of the month to determine the size of the chambers and the thickness of the walls.
The question on many an Egyptologist’s mind: Could Queen Nefertiti, said to be Tutankhamun’s stepmother, also be buried here?
Nefertiti’s tomb has never been found. A bust that is believed to depict the queen is a crown jewel of a museum in Berlin.
Ever since British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves suggested in August that Nefertiti’s final resting place could be in one of the chambers of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the archaeological world has been tantalized with the prospect of another monumental discovery in Egypt.
Tutankhamen, who reigned from about 1333 B.C. to about 1323 B.C., has captured the world’s imagination since his tomb in Luxor in southern Egypt was discovered intact in 1922. He died at the age of 19.
Nefertiti, historians say, was one of the wives of Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten. She was known for her beauty. Akhenaten was succeeded by a pharaoh named Smenkhare and next by Tutankhamun. The family’s rule ended with a military takeover, and their names were later erased from official records.
Damaty declined to speculate if Nefertiti could be buried in the new chambers, but he said it was possible they could contain the tomb of a member of Tutankhamun’s family.
The radar scans, he said, showed anomalies in the tomb’s walls, suggesting a possible hidden door and the additional rooms, which lay behind walls painted with hieroglyphics.
The New York Times contributed to this report.