Could a Door in King Tut’s Tomb Lead to Nefertiti?

There could be more in Tutanhkamun’s burial chamber than meets the eye

The bust of Nefertiti at the Altes Museum in Berlin Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Corbis

Tutankhamun’s life may have been brief, but his long afterlife has been exciting and filled with controversy. To this day, experts debate why he died, who his parents were, and why his wonderfully intact tomb was smaller than that of other kings. Now, there's another thing for Egyptologists to argue about: Is Nefertiti buried behind a hidden door in King Tut’s tomb?

Archaeologist Nicholas Reeves says yes. He says the answer lies in digital scans of the walls in King Tut’s burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, writes Robert Gebelhoff for The Washington Post. The scans were published in 2014 by the Madrid-based art specialists Factum Arte. After poring over every detail of the scans, Reeves grew convinced that the chamber contains two doorways hidden behind plaster and paint and betrayed by minute cracks.

In a paper published for the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, Reeves posits that one of the doors leads further into the tomb — and to Nefertiti's remains. The evidence for this claim rests on the fact that King Tut’s burial chambers are smaller than expected. Tutankhamun may have been buried in chambers originally intended for a private individual, but co-opted and enlarged for the young king. The tomb could also have been meant for a queen — like Nefertiti, whom many think was King Tut's mother.

Though Nefertiti was the consort of King Tut's father, Akhenaten, it's uncertain if she was Tut's biological mother. Regardless, she remains a popular and compelling figure in ancient Egyptian history — along with her husband, she started a religious revolution by worshiping only one god. Then there's the famous bust of Nefertiti, which has gained iconic status for its regal stare. 

Finding the burial place of Queen Nefertiti would indeed be a stunning discovery, but other experts point out that at present, Reeves’ report is just an educated guess. But even if Reeves is wrong, finding out what is behind those doors is sure to add to the intrigue surrounding King Tut.

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