Infrared thermography indicates a hidden chamber in the tomb of King Tutankhamen, findings consistent with early theories his tomb included two concealed doorways, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said.
Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based Heritage, Innovation and Preservation Institute used thermal imaging equipment to find a "presence of an area different in its temperature than the other parts of the northern wall" of Tut's tomb. One possible explanation is a sealed room or open area behind the wall.
If confirmed, the findings would be consistent with a theory presented by archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, who published a paper this summer indicating Tut's tomb was originally built for Queen Nefertiti, who died in 1331 B.C.
Reeves theorized Tutankhamen was buried within Nefertiti's burial chamber because of his sudden and unexpected death at age 19, after ruling for about a decade. The entryway into her tomb was subsequently covered and painted, he said.
"Possibly, by the time Tutankhamun's burial came to be robbed shortly after the funeral, Nefertiti's presence behind the north wall 'blind' was already forgotten; perhaps, and more likely, the robbers simply had insufficient time to investigate, choosing to focus instead on those abundant riches readily to hand. Three and a half thousand years later Howard Carter had the time, but he lacked the technology to see beneath the tomb's painted walls. Accepting the oddly positioned rock-cut niches as evidence that the burial chamber's walls were completely solid, he brought his search to a close -- wholly unaware that a more significant find by far may have been lying but inches from his grasp."
In 1898, archeologists thought they found Nefertiti's remains in the Valley of the Kings but it has never been proven. Some theorize she is Tut's mother.
By Amy R. Connolly
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