Few archaeological discoveries have captured the public’s imagination more than Tutankhamun’s tomb. Since Howard Carter first uncovered the lost burial site of the boy pharaoh, people have marvelled at the artefacts recovered, spun myths about the curse of Tutankhamun, and speculated about how he died.
But King Tut’s tomb may hold one more object of fascination – indeed, something that would likely be considered a more important archaeological moment than the discovery of his own tomb: the whereabouts of the lost tomb of the iconic queen of the 18th dynasty, Nefertiti.
Egyptologist Nicolas Reeves has put forward the startling theory that Nefertiti may lie buried right beside Tut’s tomb. His interest was piqued when he noticed a number of fissures and cracks in the walls of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, suggesting the presence of passages that had been blocked and plastered to conceal their existence:
One of these would probably lead to a storeroom; its position and small size mirror that of an already-uncovered storeroom inside the multi-chambered tomb. The other, bigger possible doorway in the north wall of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber suggests something much more exciting.
There are several oddities about Tutankhamun’s tomb. It is small compared with others in the valley. The objects found in it, while magnificent, seemed hurriedly placed and were found to be largely second-hand; even the boy-king’s famous gilded funerary mask sports the strangely unmanly feature of pierced ears. The tomb’s main axis is angled to the right of the entrance shaft, an arrangement typical of Egyptian queens rather than kings.
Noting that the bigger of the two doorways he may have located aligns perfectly with both sides of the tomb’s entrance chamber, Mr Reeves thinks it could conceal a corridor continuing along the same axis, in the scale and shape of other nearby royal tombs. All this, as well as evidence that the tomb’s decoration and construction were executed at different stages, leads him to conclude that this corridor would lead to the burial chamber of a queen, or perhaps several princesses.