Secret chamber in Tutankhamun’s tomb could hold long lost Queen Nefertiti

High tech radar scans of the area around Tutankhamun’s tomb have revealed a mysterious secret chamber that experts believe could house the remains of the boy pharaoh’s mother-in-law, Queen Nefertiti.

Nefertiti and her husband Akhenaten led a religious revolution in Egypt in which the old gods were swept away in favour of a single Sun god, Aten.

After Akhenaten’s death she is believed to have ruled Egypt alone for a while before Tutankhamun took the throne.

There’s a degree of mystery about her life, and especially her death. More than once mummies have been excavated that egyptologists have believed to have been Nefertiti's body.

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In particular, two finds by French archeologist Victor Loret in 1898, known as the 'The Elder Lady' and 'The Younger Lady', were thought to be possible candidates of her remains.

Both have now been discounted but British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves has put forward the idea that hidden doorways in the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb lead to a secret chamber.

Paintings on the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb contain coded messages, he says, that Nefertiti lies beyond.

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“If Nefertiti was buried as a pharaoh,” he told Nature, “it could be the biggest archaeological discovery ever.”

He raised his theory in a paper back in 2015 but it is only now that a ground-penetrating radar scan of the area has discovered what appears to be a corridor leading from Tut’s tomb to a new and unexplored space beyond.

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Dr Ray Johnson, an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago, who wasn't involved in the research, described the discovery as "tremendously exciting".

"Clearly there is something on the other side of the north wall of the burial chamber," he told Nature.

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Aidan Dodson, an Egyptologist at the University of Bristol, says he doubts that Nefertiti is in the secret room but whoever is inside the find could be “amazingly significant” because the secret tomb is likely to have remained undiscovered since it was sealed, over 3,000 years ago.

“It has to be intact,” he says.

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Queen Nefertiti was born around 1370 BC and is thought to have lived until her early forties although researchers have been unable to agree an exact date for her death.

Tutankhamun ascended to the throne at the age of 9 but ruled for only ten years before dying around 1324 BC at the age of just 19.

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