King Tut's Tomb Reveals Two Secret Chambers
A new inspection of King Tut’s tomb suggests there are two hidden rooms. Continue reading →
A new examination of King Tut's tomb has provided evidence of two hidden rooms, Egypt's Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty announced on Monday.
According to Eldamaty, scratching and markings on both the northern and western walls are similar to those found by Howard Carter on the entrance gate of King Tut's tomb. Carter discovered the treasure-packed burial in 1922.
"This indicates that the western and northern walls of Tutankhamun's tomb could hide two burial chambers," Eldamaty told Egypt's English-language news site Ahram Online.
The investigation follows a similar claim by Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist at the University of Arizona. Last month he published a paper arguing that high-resolution images of the tomb's walls show "distinct linear traces" pointing to the presence of two still unexplored chambers.
Reeves speculated that one of such chambers contains the remains, and possibly the intact grave goods from queen Nefertiti, the wife of the "heretic" monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamun's father.
He argued that a painting located behind King Tut's sarcophagus has been wrongly interpreted. The painting shows Ay (who largely directed King Tut's reign and succeeded him) performing the Opening of the Mouth ritual on the boy king.
The figure labelled Tutankhamun would actually be Nefertiti. He noted that the lines at the corner of the figure's mouth are a trademark in pictures of Nefertiti. On the other hand, the figure labelled Ay would be Tutankhamun, completing the death ritual for Nefertiti.
According to Reeves, the tomb of King Tut was not ready when he died unexpectedly at 19 in 1323 B.C. after having ruled a short reign of nine to 10 years. Thus he was buried in a rush in what was originally Nefertiti's tomb, who died 10 years earlier.
Reeves told reporters the tomb's examination revealed several unusual features, such as a contrast in the materials that cover different parts of the same wall and an extended ceiling which suggests King Tut's tomb was originally a corridor.
"After our first examination of the walls we can do nothing more until we receive the all-clear from the radar device to confirm our findings," Reeves told Ahram Online.
According to Eldamaty, it's very likely there are hidden chambers in King Tut's tomb. However, he disagrees with Reeves on the Nefertiti claim.
"The theory is a very good theory but it doesn't mean it's true. The best theories don't always work," he told reporters.
"If another wing to this tomb or one that predates it is found, that alone would be a major discovery," he added.
Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the results of the radar scans will be announced on Nov. 4, the same day Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered.
A controversial wall painting in King Tut’s tomb displays a ritual called the Opening of the Mouth.
King Tut's Mask
"Tutankhamun: His Tomb and the Treasures" is a new exhibition now in Zurich that has meticulously reconstructed the tomb complex and its treasures. Specially trained craftspeople in Cairo built more than 1,000 exact replicas under scientific supervision. The work took over five years. Here is a replica of the famous mask of King Tut, weighing 24 lbs, which was pressed over the head of the king's bandaged mummy. The idealized portrait of the young king echoes the style of the late Amarna period. The life-like eyes are formed by bright quartz, with obsidian inlays for the pupils.
King Tut, With Wife
This scene, depicted on the backrest of King Tut's throne, shows how Tutankhamen used to lean back in a relaxed manner while his wife, Anchesenamun, stood beside him and rubbed ointment into his shoulder.
This is how the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun appeared to archaeologist Howard Carter when he discovered it in 1922.
King Tut's Tomb in 3-D
Tutankhamun's tomb and its contents, as viewed in a 3-D model. A corridor led to an antechamber and an annex filled with objects. The antechamber opened into the coffin chamber with King Tut's sarcophagus. The coffin chamber led to another small room filled with King Tut's treasures.
Two tiny mummified female fetuses were found in the tomb with the king. But they were not the only companions placed in the tomb for King Tut's journey to the afterlife. The boy king was buried with more than 5,000 priceless objects, including this treasure chest.
The famous gold throne found in the tomb was ordered when Tutankhamen became king at the age of nine.
The dead king in the underworld was akin to the sun at night and, in the New Kingdom, this was identified with the god of death, Osiris. The heads of lions corresponded to the time the sun god spent in the body of the god of heaven in feline form. The facial details of the lion head –- the rims of the eyes, tip of the nose and tear ducts -- are given almost life-like properties through the use of glass.
Hired Help for the Afterlife
These figures were supposed to take the place of the king in performing the daily tasks that came up in the afterlife. A total of 413 of these figures, known as ushabtis, were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. Among the collection, 365 were responsible for carrying out day-to-day duties, 36 ushabtis served as overseers for groups of 10 workers each, and 12 acted as monthly supervisors