HAS the tomb of Egypt’s most famous queen — Nefertiti — been hiding in plain sight? A British archeologist claims to have found clues to secret passages in the burial chamber of her son — Tutankhamun.
She was Egypt’s most beautiful woman. She was married to its most ugly and controversial Pharaoh — Akhenaten.
Together, they attempted to change the world with their notion of a single god. But when the God-King died, Egypt’s nobility set about erasing the heretical couple from history.
Nefertiti once again soared to fame a century ago when her incredibly fine featured face was pulled from Egypt’s desert sands. The 3300-year-old painted limestone bust was incredibly well preserved amid the ruins of the capital city her husband founded, Armana.
It has since become one of the most copied works of art in the world.
The queen is an object of fascination, both for her beauty and the incredibly complex family and religious politics in which she played a pivotal part.
While a vandalised mummy found among others tossed in the corner of Amenhotep II’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings is speculated to be hers, the conclusion is by no means certain. Nor has Nefertiti’s originally intended final resting place ever been found.
Now, Dr Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona has published a study titled The Burial of Nefertiti? in which he details his belief that the tomb of her son Tutankhamun may have originally been intended for her — and that her relics may still remain behind what may be the ‘ghosts’ of two sealed-off doors.
Dr Reeves has been scouring ultra high-resolution scans of the famous tomb, discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, for clues to its origins and constructions.
In particular, he’s been looking at the overlooked details in the painted walls of Tutankhamun’s inner sanctum, the burial chamber which contains his sarcophagus.
He’s found depressions and edges in the plasterwork which indicates the wall structure behind.
Among this is what he describes as two lintelled, walled-off passages which have long since been painted over with the scenes depicting Tutankhamun’s life and last rites.
“The implications are extraordinary: for, if digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era storeroom to the west; to the north appears to be signalled a continuation of tomb … and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment – that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of pharaoh Akhenaten,” Reeves writes.
Tutankhamun’s tomb has long been noted for being unusually small in comparison to those of other pharaohs. Much of its art is also unusually large — as if the painters did not have much time to complete their wall-spanning work.
There also has been speculation about the origins of many of the treasures Tutankhamun’s tomb contained. Some appeared to have been altered. Others appeared not to have his face. Even some of his funerary sarcophagi appeared inappropriately shaped and sized.
“It transpires that the extent of this recycling is far greater than previously recognized, with direct or indirect evidence of re-use now detected in an astonishing 80 per cent or more of the tomb’s core burial equipment (to include the large gilded shrines, sarcophagus, coffins, gold mask, and canopic equipment),” Dr Reeves writes.
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