Has Queen Nefertiti's Lost Tomb Been Found?

'This is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2015 4:31 PM CDT
Have Queen Nefertiti's Remains Been Found?
The bust of the Nefertiti stand on its socle prior to the visit of Queen Margrethe II. of Denmark, at the New Museum in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in 1922. Now, nearly a century later, a University of Arizona archaeologist says that tomb may hold a long-buried secret: the remains of Nefertiti. Nicholas Reeves says he stumbled upon the possibility while analyzing scans posted online in early 2014 by Spanish art-replication experts. The Economist reports they were creating a way for tourists to "visit" the site without damaging it. "Unprecedented" high-def color photos of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb—given the number KV 62—were released, along with a scans of those walls, whose surfaces were painted to such a degree that the "underlying architecture is almost wholly obscured," writes Reeves. The long-running assumption has been that bedrock lay beneath. But eying them over the course of several months "yielded results which are beyond intriguing," says Reeves.

He sees "indications of two previously unknown doorways ... both seemingly untouched since antiquity." Reeves believes one passage led to a storeroom, and the other to the former Queen of Egypt, the stepmother to Tutankhamun. Reeves makes his case in a paper titled "The Burial of Nefertiti?" KV 62's modest size has long been considered much too small for a king, with Egyptologists theorizing it was a private tomb that was enlarged for Tutankhamun's use upon his sudden death. Reeves suggests KV 62 is actually the "outermost portion of an extended, corridor-style 'tomb-within-a-tomb.'" The Economist writes that if Reeves is correct, the treasures found in Tut's tomb would be her leftovers, and would provide an intriguing explanation for his iconic funerary mask, which "sports the strangely unmanly feature of pierced ears." The BBC notes Egyptian authorities haven't yet commented; an American archaeologist tells the Economist a radar scan would be able to confirm any open spaces. "If I'm wrong I'm wrong," says Reeves, "but if I'm right this is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made." (More Nefertiti stories.)

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