The secret behind the wall: Is Queen Nefertiti hiding in King Tutankhamun's burial chamber?

By Olivia Lambert of news.com.au

Dr Chris Naunton says it's not completely crazy to think there could be a hidden doorway in the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb. Photo / 123rf.com
Dr Chris Naunton says it's not completely crazy to think there could be a hidden doorway in the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb. Photo / 123rf.com

It's probably one of the world's greatest mysteries.

Is Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun buried alone, or is there a secret lurking behind the walls of his burial chamber?

The Egyptian king is one of the most famous, yet in the Valley of the Kings his tomb appears to be minute, which created intrigue among Egyptologists. It is the smallest burial chamber out of all the royals in the Valley of the Kings.

Research from Egyptologist Dr Nicholas Reeves suggests a wall in the Egyptian king's burial chamber is a secret door that leads to a whole new passage and to the missing body and intact tomb of Queen Nefertiti.

Egyptologist and director of the Egypt Exploration Society Dr Christopher Naunton doesn't know if he believes it to be true, but he thinks the theory should be explored.

In Tutankhamun's burial chamber, a crumbly wall is majestically decorated with paintings depicting his life. But are these merely a distraction?

Dr Reeves examined 3D images of the walls where the decoration had been stripped away and he noticed strange contours and cracks, evidence that pointed towards the secret passage.

Dr Naunton said Tutankhamun's burial tomb had been viewed by millions in the last few decades, but nobody has noticed that a "false wall" could lead to another sacred tomb.

THE HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY

Queen Nefertiti was the wife of Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten.

She had Hollywood looks and Dr Naunton says would still be considered an attractive woman in today's society.

Her husband however was more beastly with his sagging stomach, thick thighs and large breasts. He looked so different to other pharaohs, there's a belief he had a genetic abnormality.

Akhenaten was the father of King Tutankhamun and it is believed Nefertiti was his mother.

She was a powerful ruler and influencer, and she was the only royal wife who had almost equal strength to her husband.

The power couple started a heretic revolution during their reign in Egypt and instead of worshipping several gods, they followed only one.

"They were closer to being Gods in their own right than any other pharaohs," Dr Naunton said.

WHERE IS QUEEN NEFERTITI?

A famous statuette bust of Queen Nefertiti. Photo / 123rf.com
A famous statuette bust of Queen Nefertiti. Photo / 123rf.com

"It sounds all very Scooby Doo," Dr Naunton told news.com.au.

The Egyptologist, who lectured at the University of Melbourne on Thursday night, said the location of Nefertiti's body was one of the world's greatest mysteries.

Dr Naunton speculates King Tutankhamun's tomb could just be an extension of what could have been there for thousands of years, Nefertiti's burial chamber.

He said while it may sound strange, King Tutankhamun's successors have concealed chambers in their tombs to ward off robbers, so it's not completely crazy to think there could be a hidden doorway in the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb.

"Robbers would enter the first chamber of a tomb and believed they had found everything because doors had been concealed for protection," Dr Naunton said.

"If there is a secret tomb, it has to be something like another burial chamber with the body of a royal and their grave goods."

Dr Naunton said most of the pharaohs around the time Nefertiti and Akhenaten ruled had been accounted for, but obviously the queen's body is one that has never been uncovered.

However, some do believe Nefertiti's body has been found before and there were suggestions she was buried in the Armana tomb.

It was hundreds of kilometres away from the Valley of the Kings and was used for a short time before being abandoned and grave goods belonging to those buried there were removed.

The tombs in the Valley of the Kings are made for one royal, but many could be buried in the Armana tomb.

The theory of the "false wall" suggests whoever is behind the secret door, if anyone at all, would have had to rule before King Tutankhamun.

It is believed after Akhenaten died, Nefertiti actually became a pharaoh herself, which leads to another theory about the antiques and possessions Tutankhamun was buried with.

The death mask, which is an iconic symbol of ancient Egypt, may never have belonged to King Tutankhamun.

The theory is his death mask was made for Nefertiti and filched from her tomb and given to King Tutankhamun.

"The face of the death mask is definitely King Tutankhamun's but there's evidence to suggest another metal face had been cut out and replaced with King Tutankhamun's," Dr Naunton said.

"It's almost a case closed that the mask was definitely Nefertiti's."

Tutankhamun's name is engraved on the death mask, but Dr Naunton said close examinations showed there was once a name inscribed on the mask before. A name that spells out Nefertiti.

Dr Naunton said Tutankhamun had died suddenly and a burial needed to take place immediately and there was a hurry to conjure up grave goods.

Dr Naunton said Nefertiti's tomb may have been ransacked and her grave goods became a part of Tutankhamun's tomb.

"There's also another theory that Nefertiti herself became a pharaoh and her name was changed," Dr Naunton said.

"It is believed the burial items made for her when she was a royal wife were put aside and those were used for Tutankhamun as she was given new ones.

"I'm not completely convinced all those items were laying around. It seems unlikely to me that things would be laying around for any length of time.

"But if her things were plundered, it does scuff the idea that Nefertiti's tomb will be found intact within Tutankhamun's."

THE SECRET BEHIND THE WALL

We may never find out what is behind the wall in Tutankhamun's tomb and if Queen Nefertiti's body lurks behind the stone

"I'm really sitting on the fence," Dr Naunton said.

Dr Reeve's theory was put to the test with two radar scans conducted along the wall believed to be the concealed door way.

"One scan detected metallic and organic substances and some cavities, which could suggest there are grave good behind the walls," Dr Naunton said. "But the other scan detected nothing but solid rock."

Dr Naunton said nobody knows why there were discrepancies between the two scans and said those who conducted the first one have refused to release detailed findings.

WERE WE DUPED BY THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS?

If Nefertiti is indeed behind the wall, it could indicate we were duped by the Egyptians, Dr Naunton said.

A lot of ancient Egyptian records have been erased or destroyed, meaning the history is confusing and conflicting.

Dr Naunton said Nefertiti's body could be lost or destroyed, and the biggest question is, where is she?

"If she isn't behind the wall it becomes very interesting," he said. "There's so much intrigue about what happened.

"If we don't find her tomb, we will still have a lot of unanswered questions."

From here, the wall that could lead to another tomb could have small holes drilled into it.

"My understanding is any damage to the wall in the process is not ideal but it's not completely irreversible," Dr Naunton said.

"The ancient material suffers from damage from time to time and needs to be repaired."

If Egyptian authorities allow this theory to be investigated with the drilling of holes and nothing is found, it could lead to bigger problems.

Dr Naunton believes ancient Egyptians could have duped us all this time.

"Egyptians wanted royal burials to stay intact but nearly every other burial has been found so they didn't really succeed," he said.

This could be a concealed wall that may have had us fooled for thousands of years, meaning ancient Egyptians succeeded in this case.

- news.com.au

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