Ancient Egypt bombshell: Secret chamber behind King Tut’s tomb could be Queen Nefertiti

The “tremendously exciting” discovery was made in the Valley of the Kings where many of Ancient Egypt’s royalty were buried. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) scans of King Tutankhamun’s tomb have revealed an unexplored cavity directly behind the burial chamber.

The findings were presented to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the journal Nature in an as-of-yet unpublished report

Archaeologists have been exploring the tomb for additional chambers and secrets since its opening in 1922 by British explorer Howard Carter.

But until now, numerous archaeological expeditions have failed to conclusively find any new chambers.

The new findings suggest there is a space directly behind King Tut’s tomb, measuring about 6.5ft by 32ft (2m by 10m).

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The cavity sits at about the same depth as the burial chamber and runs parallel to the tomb’s entrance.

Egyptologist Ryan Johnson from the University of Chicago, who was not involved in the discovery, told Nature the data is “tremendously exciting”.

He said: “Clearly there is something on the other side of the north wall of the burial chamber.”

However, archaeologists have not yet determined whether the cavity is indeed a new burial chamber or part of another tomb.

There is also some scepticism from Egyptian officials, such as former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass.

Dr Hawass said GPR has “never made any discovery at any site in Egypt”.

Clearly there is something on the other side of the north wall of the burial chamber

Ryan Johnson, University of Chicago

The former minister is also on the hunt for Queen Nefertiti, searching for hidden tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Although historians dispute the exact role of Queen Nefertiti, some believe she held the mantle of Pharaoh before Tutankhamun took over at the age of eight.

Nefertiti was the wife of Akhenaten, a Pharaoh who ruled for 17 years before his death.

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The Queen’s tomb has never been discovered but Dr Hawass suggested in 2019 Nefertiti’s body may have already been found.

The archaeologist led an excavation in the Valley of the Kings that uncovered the bodies of two female mummies.

Dr Hawass said extensive DNA testing could reveal them to be Queen Nefertiti and her daughter Queen Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun’s wife.

He said: “Using modern DNA techniques, we are exhuming the two female mummies found in KV21 because one of them, the headless one, might possibly be Ankhesenamun due to the preliminary studies.

“We also suspect that the other KV21 mummy could be of Nefertiti.”

King Tutankhamun’s reign may have been short-lived but the Pharaoh’s discovery in 1922 has captured the world’s imagination.

The boy pharaoh rose to power between the age of eight and nine but died before the age of 20.

Modern reconstruction efforts show the Pharaoh suffered from many illnesses in his life paired with physical disabilities and spinal problems.

Tutankhamun’s mummified body is currently in the Museum of Cairo but will be moved by 2022 to the newly built Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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