| The Truth Behind the Secret Chamber in King Tutankhamen’s Tomb
Is there a hidden chamber in King Tut’s tomb? In the past, there has been much speculation regarding the existence and specific location of King Tut’s tomb. King Tut, formally known as King Tutankhamen, is one of the most famous and debated pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. However, he was a rather insignificant ruler in Egyptian history, only ruling for eight to nine years before his sudden death in 1323 B.C., and as tradition, was mummified and buried in the “Valley of the Kings.” King Tut rose to popularity in the 1920’s after archaeologists stumbled upon his tomb.
In the early twentieth century, archaeologists Howard Carter and George Herbert successfully excavated King Tut’s tomb, granting them access to the interior chamber of the tomb. Within the tomb, Carter and Herbert found murals painted on the walls that “told the story of Tutankhamen’s funeral and his journey to the afterworld.” They also discovered King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus that held three coffins filled with an array of jewelry and artifacts. King Tut’s tomb, which contained more than 2000 objects, was one of most intact tombs found in Egypt. A few of the objects included “oils, perfumes, toys from his childhood, precious jewelry and statues of gold and ebony”. For the next 17 years, Carter and his associates explored the rest of the tomb, only to find more priceless artifacts.
Recently in July of 2015, Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist, boldly made the claim that King Tut was not buried alone in his chamber. Reeves believed that King Tutankhamen’s tomb was initially meant for another ruler. This ruler was none other than Nefertiti, the wife of Akhenaten, King Tut’s father, who established the cult of Aten, the sun god. Due to King Tutankhamen’s sudden death at age 19, he was buried in Nefertiti’s tomb, which was smaller than a normal king’s tomb. While Akhenaten did have multiple wives, many believed that Queen Nefertiti was the mother of King Tutankhamen. Nefertiti was a powerful woman in Egypt in the 18th dynasty and if Nefertiti was actually in the secret chamber, then it would make sense that King Tut was buried in a smaller tomb. Egyptologists believe Nefertiti had died when her husband was in power, though her bust was found in 1912; as of today, Egyptologists still remain uncertain about the death and burial of Nefertiti, though her bust resides in the Berlin museum.
A discovery of a hidden chamber in King Tutankhamen’s tomb would spike tourism and end “a mysterious piece of Egyptian history.” During Reeves’ excavation, he discovered an area behind the north wall [of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber], which he believes is a corridor continuation of the tomb and could end in another burial chamber. Reeves also noted the figures on the wall featured a line at the side of the figure’s mouth, called an “oromental groove” which is a trademark feature of Nefertiti. As a result of this claim, researchers went into King Tutankhamen’s chamber this past November; researchers used infrared technology in order to conduct a scan determining temperature differences on areas of the northern end of the wall. After looking at high-resolution pictures, Reeves found straight lines on the walls hidden by both color and texture, indicating the presence of a tomb in the chamber.
Evidence was found on a pair of doorways hidden by both plaster and paint which could lead to a hidden chamber, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister, Mamdouh el-Damaty reports. After searching, researchers discovered a 90% chance of something behind the walls; these scans have been sent to Japan for further investigation. “There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt” Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe said. Watanabe indicates the presence of a false wall and states that the size of the cavity behind it is unknown. One of the tests being performed is comparing the DNA found in the tomb to that of Queen Mutnodjmet, the recently discovered mummy of Nefertiti’s sister. If a match is found, then scientists will be able to confirm or disprove the existence of the tomb.
While some believe Nefertiti is located in the hidden chamber, others believe Kiya, another of Akhenaten’s wives, rests there. Zawi Hawass, a scientist, does not believe in Reeve’s theory saying, “Nefertiti’s role is the unsuccessful attempt to convert ancient Egypt to the monotheistic worship of the sun god Aton would have precluded her interment in Luxor.”
The Egyptian mystery still remains if a hidden chamber is truly found near King Tutankhamen. Research points to the idea that there is in fact a hidden chamber belonging to Queen Nefertiti, though others seem to disagree. If King Tutankhamen had a secret chamber in his tomb, then tourism would increase and overall aid Egypt’s falling tourism industry. Perhaps an excavation as grand as that of Carter’s will soon be on its way.
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