Egypt Accused of Hiding the Truth About Tut's Tomb

Cairo 'in denial' over scan's failure to find hidden chambers, scientist says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2016 6:07 AM CDT
Egypt Accused of Hiding the Truth About Tut's Tomb
An Egyptian guard walks out of King Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.    (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

The curse of the pharaohs, or politics as usual? The controversy over supposed hidden chambers in King Tutankhamun's tomb has become even more complicated, with allegations that Egyptian officials are trying to suppress evidence that the chambers are not there after all. A radar scan last November by Japanese expert Hirokatsu Watanabe left the minister of antiquities 90% sure there was at least one hidden chamber, possibly containing the remains of Queen Nefertiti, as British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves suspects. But US expert Dean Goodman has analyzed data from a follow-up scan conducted in March by a different team trying to reproduce Watabane's results, and he says it's clear that no such chamber exists. "Radar data can often be subjective," Goodman tells National Geographic. "But at this particular site, it's not."

Watanabe won't share his raw data—and he says he has made so many customizations to his equipment over the decades that he is the only one who can correctly interpret the results. At a Tutankhamun conference at the Grand Egyptian Museum last weekend, Reeves and Watanabe were allowed to present their research while the researchers behind the second radar scan were not, Live Science reports. Insiders say evidence that there are no hidden chambers has led to political feuding in Cairo, where officials had hoped a big find would give the slumping tourist industry a boost. An unnamed scientist tells the Guardian that Egypt is "freaking out, and it has become politically toxic," suggesting that it's become "a situation in which people are being purged because of their position on this. ... We have left the realm of science." Read more on the contentious situation here. (More King Tut's tomb stories.)

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