Egyptologists differ on Tut tomb 'hidden chambers'

The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun displayed in his burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, close to Luxor
The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun displayed in his burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, close to Luxor

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said on Sunday new technology is needed to determine whether Tutankhamun's tomb contains hidden chambers which a British archaeologist believes may hide queen Nefertiti's remains.

Anani spoke to archaeologists and reporters at a conference in Cairo dedicated to King Tutankhamun and his world-famous golden funerary mask.

The mood at Sunday's conference was sceptical months after former minister Mamduh Damati said the secret chambers probably existed, raising expectations of another historical find.

Damati inspected the tomb last September with the theory's proponent, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves.

His theory and the attention paid to it came as Egypt struggles to revive its key tourism industry after years of political turmoil.

However, experts disagreed on Sunday over how the search for the chambers was handled.

"Handling the project wasn't done scientifically at all," said former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass.

Damati himself said more tests were needed.

"The infrared scan said we need to repeat it because we have something that we cannot be sure what it is exactly," he said.

Damati had said in March that there was a "90 percent chance" that the tomb had two hidden chambers containing organic material.

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani (C) attends the Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) conference on May 8, 2016 i
Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani (C) attends the Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) conference on May 8, 2016 in Cairo

Reeves theorised that Tutankhamun's tomb was in fact Nefertiti's, and when the boy king died unexpectedly at a young age, he was rushed into her tomb's outer chamber in Luxor's Valley of Kings in southern Egypt.

Hawass suggested that the current antiquities minister hire an autonomous committee of experts to handle the investigation.

"We have to stop this media presence, because there is nothing to publish," he said.

To reassure archaeologists at the conference, Anani said: "I will not make any drills (in the tomb walls) until I am sure 100 percent that there is a cavity behind the wall... I'm very satisfied with the warm scientific debate."

Egyptian former antiquities minister Mamdouh al-Damati speaks during the Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) conference on M
Egyptian former antiquities minister Mamdouh al-Damati speaks during the Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) conference on May 8, 2016

Nefertiti was famed for her beauty as depicted in the famous bust now in Berlin.

She, Tutankhamun and Akhenaten ruled during a turbulent time, and were one of ancient Egypt's most controversial ruling families.

Nefertiti was married to Akhenaten, who tried and failed to force Egypt to convert to monotheism.

DNA evidence has shown that Akhenaten was Tutankhamun's father, but Egyptologists do not agree on who his mother was.

Egyptologists rely on a mix of DNA evidence as well as information documented in ruins and historical calculations to map the pharaohs' family tree.

Most contain more information about the passage to the afterlife rather than solid information about the deceased's biological lineage.


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© 2016 AFP

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May 08, 2016
"We have to stop this media presence, because there is nothing to publish," he said.

Wait, what? This is no time for logic!

rgw
May 08, 2016
Nefertiti was probably beautiful, but what artist would have shown an absolute monarchy family member as ugly, even if true?

May 09, 2016
Images of Cleopatra on coins do not show her to have been the most handsome woman. Certainly not by modern standards.
Nefertiti was probably beautiful, but what artist would have shown an absolute monarchy family member as ugly, even if true?


May 09, 2016
Certainly not by modern standards.

Judging the beauty of someone dead for over 3000 years by modern standards is a bit pointless.

May 09, 2016
Nefertiti was probably beautiful, but what artist would have shown an absolute monarchy family member as ugly, even if true?


The artists of Akhenaton certainly!
There are bas-reliefs in which the Pharaoh is depicted in less than favourable fashion, with a hanging belly. It is supposed that this was a religious issue.

May 09, 2016
Those Venus figures carved from ivory and found in caves are not the modern ideal. But fat was probably a good thing back then. Anyway, I google-imaged the referenced bust and she was hot, by my standards, no doubt.

May 09, 2016
Nefertiti was probably beautiful, but what artist would have shown an absolute monarchy family member as ugly, even if true?


The artists of Akhenaton certainly!
There are bas-reliefs in which the Pharaoh is depicted in less than favourable fashion, with a hanging belly. It is supposed that this was a religious issue.


Quite so. Very sad that the level of intellectual integrity practiced by a culture 4 thousand years ago is inconceivable to people reading this today. "Why would any artist have done that?" "Intellectual integrity!!!"

"Whatever..."

Hopeless.

May 09, 2016
Nefertiti was probably beautiful, but what artist would have shown an absolute monarchy family member as ugly, even if true?

You must know the saying - "There's no such thing as an ugly woman, just not enough alcohol".
Then remember, in that time the labourers and tradesmen were paid in beer.

May 10, 2016
Explains antisciencegorilla's conception.

But why does that work on a bonobo?

May 10, 2016
Those Venus figures carved from ivory and found in caves are not the modern ideal. But fat was probably a good thing back then. Anyway, I google-imaged the referenced bust and she was hot, by my standards, no doubt.


We have a good amount of imagery to know what the Egyptians considered "hot" and the standards would fit pretty well into our modern tastes.

I guess the guys back hen had it easier staying hot and ripped lifting all these pyramid stones, LOL

May 15, 2016
Whilst Dr Reeves' & other' people's speculation of hidden chambers and voids was always compelling it rather snubbed Howard Carter's original achievement & his years of endurance when he and his great team of collaborators listed, conserved & transported the objects in the boy King's tomb. Carter would certainly have spotted any such cavity, by experience, by his methods of working, from his colleagues views, and it was always worth a good wager that it left virtually nothing for technology to discover nine decades after the first entry into the site. I always dearly hoped Howard Carter would be proved cleared of omission, would have the last word, even the last laugh. Either that these clever scans were evidence of just a void, a blip on the computer or that some evidence would be found behind the walls showing that Carter had got in there first, but considered it not worth further pursuit.

May 16, 2016
I always dearly hoped Howard Carter would be proved cleared of omission, would have the last word, even the last laugh.


A perfectly natural and understandable human sentiment, of course. But it's evidence of the "establishment" resistance to usurpation in many areas of science. Those who wish to overturn dogma are held to a higher standard than mere "hope"; and well they should be. But the resistance should likewise not be based on "feelings" of endearment to a position or person. I'm not trying to start a fight, but I see this in the Clovis argument all the time and your expression is a classic example of the case. If new chambers are found it is no slight to your hero, but a testament to the Egyptian ability to hide.

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