More analysis is needed to determine whether the tomb of King Tutankhamun conceals two secret rooms, Egypt's antiquities minister said Friday at a press conference in the Valley of the Kings.
Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told a press conference that a team of radar experts worked for more than 10 hours last night to obtain 40 scans of five different levels of areas on the north and eastern walls of the 3,300-year-old tomb.
Radar scanning took place with digital antennas of 400 and 900 Mhz, which can inspect up to a distance of 13 and 5 feet respectively.
"Results are expected within a week," al-Anani said.
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He added that more scans will follow at the end of April. At that time, a vertical investigation will be carried out from the hill above King Tut's tomb using radars able to investigate areas up to 130 feet below.
"We want to take several rigorous scientific steps. In early May we will open an international debate over the results," al-Anani said.
Minister al-Anani appeared to cool down the expectations that rose after his predecessor Mamdouh al-Damaty revealed there was a "90 percent chance" that King Tut's tomb concealed two chambers.
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Indeed, just two weeks ago, the former antiquities minister confirmed that analysis of radar scans carried out by Japanese specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu had revealed two hidden spaces on the north and eastern walls that could contain metal or organic material.
But radar experts not affiliated with the project cautioned, noting that radars can hardly distinguish archaeological features from the natural voids typical of the Valley of the Kings.
Begun last summer, the investigation inside the boy king's burial follows a claim by Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist at the University of Arizona.
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In July 2015 Reeves 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.
According to Reeves, one hidden chamber would contain the remains, and possibly the intact grave goods, of Queen Nefertiti, wife of the "heretic" monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamun's father.
Reeves speculated that 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. Consequently, he was buried in a rush in what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, who had died 10 years earlier.
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"I believe and I still believe that King Tut's tomb is simply the outer elements of a larger tomb that is of Nefertiti," Reeves told reporters Friday.
He added the overnight scanning provided "the most detailed data" so far on the secret chambers.