The final resting place of Queen Nefertiti, the legendary beauty who ruled Egypt along with her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, may have been found, a British archaeologist has claimed.
Dr Nicholas Reeves, based at the University of Arizona, made the claim after studying high-resolution scans of the walls of King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor.
Known for her exquisite beauty, the grave of Queen Nefertiti has been lost for centuries since her sudden death in 1340 BC.
The new theory comes after extensive analysis of high resolution images published online last year by Factum Arte, a Madrid-based art restoration specialist who helped create a facsimile of King Tut’s burial chamber in Luxor.
In the scans, Reeves spotted cracks in the walls that could indicate two previously unrecognised “ghost” doorways lay behind.
“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 (there) appears to be signaled a continuation of tomb KV 62 (Tutankhamun’s tomb), and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment — that of Queen Nefertiti herself.”
In his paper on the possible find, Reeves theorises that the size of Tutankhamun’s tomb is “less than appropriate” for the final resting place of an Egyptian king.
Instead he seems to solve the conundrum that has baffled archaeologists for years by explaining that its inadequate size and unusual layout is because it is an extension of an earlier tomb originally designed for a queen.
Reeves also surmises that recycled equipment found in the burial chamber predates Tutankhamun’s accession. He concludes the site was most likely intended for an Egyptian queen of the late Eighteenth Dynasty — of which Reeves points out Queen Nefertiti is the only woman to achieve such honours – and repurposed upon Tutankhamun’s untimely death at 17 years old.
“At the time of Queen Nefertiti’s burial… there had surely been no intention that Tutankhamun would in due course occupy this same tomb. That thought would not occur until the king’s early and unexpected death a decade later,” CNN quoted Reeves as saying.
Reacting to the new theory, Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at Cambridge University said, “It’s certainly tantalising what Nicholas Reeves has suggested.”
“If we look at what we know: we’re pretty certain there is an undiscovered royal tomb of roughly the same period somewhere, because we have more kings than we have tombs, so logic suggests that there’s still a tomb to be found.”