In a press conference held in Cairo on March 17, 2016, Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty, announced the discovery two hidden rooms inside of King Tutankhamun's burial chamber. Radar scans of the tomb showed anomalies in the walls at the back of the tomb, suggesting a hidden door and chamber behind the decorated wall. Further analysis of the scans suggests that they may contain metal or organic material. In August of 2015, a prominent English Egyptologist, Dr. Carl Nicholas Reeves, published a 50-page paper outlining the evidence of two hidden doorways inside of King Tut's tomb (see diagram below). He theorized that the final resting place of world-famous Queen Nefertiti, whose tomb has yet to be found, might be intact behind the walls in Tut's, which was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1922, by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. And all indications are that these doors have not been touched since ancient times. (A.R.E. Members can read the original article "Is Nefertiti Hidden in Tut's Tomb?" by John Van Auken in the Winter, 2015 Newsletter).
The bust of Nefertiti, whose name means "the beauty [or beautiful one] has come," is among the most recognizable artifacts of ancient Egypt. Even Edgar Cayce owned a reproduction of her bust, a gift from Louise B. Chisholm. The chief wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti became Pharaoh Neferneferuaten, leading the nation between the reign of Akhenaten and Tutankhaten (Tut), circa 1334-1332 BC.
In the fourth year of her husband's reign, the couple decided to leave the magnificent, gigantic Karnak complex and move the capital to a region known today as Tell el-Amarna, north of Thebes (Luxor). In her husband's fifth year, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to the now famous Akhenaten, and Nefertiti changed her name to Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti. The name change indicated the shift of the spiritual sect of Amun to Aten (also Aton), the nurturing aspect of Ra, shown as a sun disc with rays extending with a caring hand at the tip of each ray, one holding an ankh, the symbol for life (see figure 3). Archaeologists believe that this changed Egypt's religion from a polytheistic one to a religion that has been described as henotheism, meaning "one god." By the 12th year of his reign, there is evidence that she was elevated to the status of co-Pharaoh with her husband. And after his death she was the Pharaoh, using the epithet "Effective for Her Husband" in one of her cartouches.
Nefertiti also had influence on the younger royals in the court during her power years; as her life was ending, Tut's reign was beginning. It is believed that she died in the third year of Tut's reign, circa 1331-1330 BC. In that year, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun, signaling a return to the official worship of Amun (also Amon), the unseen god. Amarna was abandoned and Tut returned the capital to Thebes.
Research by Dr. Zahi Hawass, former head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, suggests that Tut's mother was a daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye known as "The Younger Lady," a mummy discovered in the Valley of the Kings. DNA tests to examine the parentage of Tut using his hair showed that Queen Tiye was the mother of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Tut's grandmother. Most Egyptologists agree that The Younger Lady is the genetic mother of Tut even though she was Akhenaten's full-blooded sister. This incestuous parentage likely contributed to the genetic problems found in Tut's mummified body. He suffered a deformed foot, a slightly cleft palate, and curvature of the spine.
An analysis by Marc Gabolde, a French Egyptologist and the director of the archaeological expedition of Université Paul Valery-Montpellier III in the Royal Necropolis at Tell el-Amarna, suggests that Akhenaten and Nefertiti were cousins and that Tutankhamun is their son. In a talk at Harvard's Science Center, he said he is convinced that Tut's mother was not his father's sister but rather his father's first cousin and chief wife, Nefertiti. He attributes the apparent genetic closeness revealed in the DNA tests to be the result of generations of marriage between first cousins.
Is it possible that Nefertiti's tomb was in the same location as Tut's, and when Tut died so young (19 years old) around 1324 BC, they simply buried him in the forward portion of Nefertiti's tomb, concealing access to the famous queen's chamber? Only time can tell. At the press conference last week, El-Damaty said it was too early to tell what the metal and organic material could be, saying only that he thinks the new chambers could contain the tomb of a member of Tutankhamun's family.