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.
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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.
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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.
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"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.
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"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.