Thursday, March 17th, the news everyone was waiting for arrived from the press conference held this morning in Cairo by the Egyptian antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty.
The most known tomb in the King Valley, arrived intact with all its +5000 funerary content and owner, the KV62 – Tutankhamun’s last home, has something kept secret.
Behind the Northern and Western sides of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, radar scans have, indeed, shown the presence of voids and unidentified objects within those spaces.
The studies conducted last Autumn by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe proved that actually there are hidden chambers filled with materials, which could be both of organic and metallic nature.
How have academics and scientists arrived to these conclusions?
Last November, Watanabe used a re-adapted Japanese Kodar radar to investigate the West and North sides of King Tut’s sarcophagus chamber. His technical analysis and support were strictly necessary after the claim, highly criticized, done by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves.
Last July, Reevers, specialist in the King Valley history and structures, supported in his academic paper that behind those walls there would be a converted burial chamber.
He hoped those rooms could be the tomb of Nefertiti, Tutankhamun’s mother-in-law, as he though Nefertiti’s face has been the one depicted in the famous Mouth Opening scene.
Reeves came to his theory thanks to interesting cracks running through the paintings on the Northern and Western walls and by analyzing the high-resolution laser scans of the walls done back in 2009 by the Factum Arte, a Madrid-based conservators group. In Reeves’s opinion, these signs clearly indicate the traces of passageways and door openings that had been then plastered and painted.
For this reason, in November 2015, Egyptian minister Eldamaty invited Reeves and Mr. Watanabe to Luxor in order to conduct radar scans of those two walls. After two evening of studies, the preliminary results brought Eldamaty to announce that he was sure, he was “90 percent positive” that another chamber lays behind the north wall of the tomb.
Today the highly waited confirmation.
Mr. Watanabe said “Based on the signatures that are in the data, there’s a void, and there’s definitely something that’s within the void. There’s something in there”, while Egyptian Minister is more cautious about what the possible content of the hidden rooms might be.
Reeves has always been sure about his theory and the news is undoubtedly rich in consequences as minister Eldamaty has concluded today “It could be the discovery of the century”.
This is just a step towards new researches as nobody can foresee with absolute certainty what the chambers contains.
Another radar test session has been scheduled for April 2nd, it felt of highly importance and urgency in order to plan how to continue the investigation in Tutankhamun’s tomb without causing damages to the delicate painted surfaces.
In 1922, Carter saw “wonderful things”, today we cannot imagine what modern archaeologists will see behind King Tut’s burial chamber.
No matter what, it is going to open new perspective on the XVIII dynasty history and shed new light upon Tutankhamun and maybe Nefertiti, the most obscure, although familiar “actors” from the New Kingdom Egypt.
By Valentina Chirico
NationalGeographic.com (by Brando Quilicci)
Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity, Press Office