King Tut's Tomb Theory Is Suddenly in Doubt
British Egyptologist's claim wasn't exactly embraced on Sunday
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2016 8:14 AM CDT
In this Nov. 5, 2015, file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it's displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

(Newser) – Last August, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves put forth a theory that grabbed headlines around the world: that King Tutankhamun's tomb is adjacent to secret chambers that hold Queen Nefertiti's remains. A March news conference seemed to lend credence to the claim, with then-Antiquities Minister Mamdouh El-Damaty announcing that analysis of radar scans of Tut's burial chamber carried out in November revealed two hidden rooms and indicated the presence of metal and organic materials; a scan planned for the end of March was to reveal the dimensions of the rooms and the thickness of the walls. But weeks later, there is contention rather than answers. A three-day Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum conference ended Sunday with a forum that grappled over the scans.

Reeves continued to defend his stance: "I was looking for the evidence that would tell me that my initial reading was wrong, but I didn't find any evidence to suggest that. I just found more and more indicators." Another former antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, took an opposite position, saying "the project wasn't done scientifically at all." Further, he argued that he is unaware of any previous discovery that was actually made in Egypt via radar scans, reports Ahram Online, which says "most" in attendance sided with Hawass. He's calling for the hiring of an autonomous committee to take over the investigation, per AFP. Khaled el-Anani, who became antiquities minister a week after that March announcement, says that until he is "100% sure there is a cavity behind the wall," he will not allow drilling at the site. (A professor says he's solved the riddle of another historic figure: the Man in the Iron Mask.)