Nefertiti has continued to capture our collective imagination throughout the ages. Yet no trace has been found of the legendary “beautiful one” who ruled across Egypt at her husband’s side… until, possibly, now.
Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist at the University of Arizona believes he has found her resting place hidden in plain sight — in the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The bold 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 unrecognized “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 Nefertiti herself.”
Was Nefertiti the tomb’s original occupant?
Despite relentless looters, the boy king’s final resting place continues to be one of Egypt’s most prolific discoveries. Uncovered by Howard Carter in 1922, it remains the most intact tomb ever unearthed. And has been a treasure trove for archaeologists, where close to 2,000 objects were recovered.
In his paper on the possible find, Reeves theorizes 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.
The academic 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 Nefertiti is the only woman to achieve such honors — and repurposed upon Tutankhamun’s untimely death at 17 years old.
“At the time of 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,” writes Reeves.
While the tomb of the ancient queen has long been thought to be lost, Reeves’ theory has got Egyptologists buzzing.
“It’s certainly tantalizing what Nicholas Reeves has suggested,” says Toby Wilkinson, an Egyptologist at Cambridge University.
“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.”
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SOURCE: CNN – Lauren Said-Moorhouse