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Queen Nefertiti, the wife of King Akhenaten who ruled from 1352 to 1336 B.C., was one of ancient Egypt's most influential and beautiful queens. Historians maintain that she played a significant role in the political and religious reforms that resulted in numerous changes including the establishment of Aten as Egypt's supreme god. Many even believe that the powerful queen served as Pharaoh for a brief period following her husband's death and the accession of his 9-year-old son King Tutankhamun (Tut), to the throne.
Yet, archaeologists have never been able to find the tomb of this famous queen, who some believe was also King Tut's mother. Now British Egyptologist Dr. Nicholas Reeves has a theory. He thinks that Queen Nefertiti has been hiding in plain sight - Inside a secret chamber in the same tomb as her purported son, King Tut.
The archaeologist reached the conclusion after spending many months examining recently released ultra-high resolution images of King Tut's burial chamber. According to the expert, the scans show what could be the outlines of two doorways. Reeves speculates that the one on the western wall of the tomb leads to a hidden storeroom that could contain more treasures. However, it is the larger doorway on the north wall that is of greater interest. That's because the expert believes that it leads to the chamber where Queen Nefertiti was put to rest in 1330 B.C.
Reeves, who explains his theory in a July 23 paper entitled "The burial of Queen Nefertiti?" says it is supported by the inconsistencies researchers have found with King Tut's tomb. For one, it is a lot smaller that that of other pharaohs. Then there is also the issue of it being oriented to the right of the entrance, a layout that was typically reserved for ancient Egyptian queens. There is also the evidence that the tomb was built and decorated in stages and that the over 2,000 artifacts belonged to previous royals.
The archaeologist has been invited to Cairo to present his case to an assembly of local Egyptologists. If the panel is convinced, they will dispatch a team of experts to King Tut's tomb that lies in Luxor or the “Valley of Kings” as it was called during the age of the pharaohs. The team will use seismic X-ray technology and ground penetrating RADAR to check for evidence of hollow spaces in the bedrock.
Even if the researchers do find proof of the chambers, it will take years to verify their existence and investigate if Reeves is right. That's because they will first have to find a way to excavate without disturbing King Tut's tomb.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt's leading archaeologist, and a King Tut expert, does not think excavating will be necessary. The former head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities believes that Reeves has little evidence and thinks that like many others, this theory will also 'die' a natural death. Aidan Dodson, an Egyptologist at the University of Bristol, concurs. He says that while there may be hidden chambers behind the walls, the idea of finding Queen Nefertiti inside one is a little far-fetched.
But Reeves is not worried. In an interview with the BBC, the expert stated, “If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. But if I’m right, the prospects are frankly staggering. The world will have become a much more interesting place - at least for Egyptologists.”
Resources: cnn.com, dailymail.co.uk,history.com