LUXOR - Scans in King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings point to a hidden chamber, the country’s antiquities minister said Saturday, possibly heralding the discovery of Queen Nefertiti’s resting place. “We can now say that we have to find behind the burial chamber of King Tutankhamun another chamber, another tomb,” Mamduh al-Damati said at a press conference, speaking in English. He said experts were “approximately 90 percent” sure. The tests were spurred by a study by renowned British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves that said Nefertiti’s lost tomb may be hidden in an adjoining chamber.
But the minister and Reeves had differed on whose mummy they expected to find.
According to Reeves, professor of archaeology at the University of Arizona, Tutankhamun, who died unexpectedly, was buried hurriedly in an underground chamber probably not intended for him. His death would have forced priests to reopen Nefertiti’s tomb 10 years after her death because the young pharaoh’s own mausoleum had not yet been built. But Damati believes that such a chamber, if found adjoining Tutankhamun’s tomb, may contain Kiya, a wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten.
Nefertiti played a major political and religious role in the 14th century BC. She actively supported her husband Akhenaten - Tutankhamun’s father - who temporarily converted ancient Egypt to monotheism by imposing the cult of sun god Aton. Her role in the cult would have ruled out her burial in the Valley of the Kings according to Zahi Hawass, the country’s former antiquities minister and expert on ancient Egypt.