AN extraordinary investigation by a British Egyptologist suggests that the tomb of Tutankhamun was built for Nefertiti ... and that there are more rooms to be found in the tomb.
Writing in a paper published at ACADEMIA.EDU, Nicholas Reeves bases his theory on new, high-definition color photography of painted scenes in Tutankhamun's burial chamber released in recent months online by Madrid-based art-replication specialists Factum Arte.
"Cautious evaluation of the Factum Arte scans over the course of several months has yielded results which are beyond intriguing: indications of two previously unknown doorways … both seemingly untouched since antiquity," writes Reeves, Associate Curator of Egyptian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
"The implications are extraordinary," he adds, "for, if digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era storeroom to the west; to the north appears to be signalled a continuation of (Tutankhamun's) tomb KV 62 and within these uncharted depths an earlier royal interment … that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of pharaoh Akhenaten."
Reeves points out that archaeologists have always wondered why Tutankhamun's tomb is so tiny. They have also always wondered why it was crammed full of funerary equipment clearly intended for other royal persons.
Nefertiti was co-regent to her husband Akhenaten and in the tumultuous days after his death, she became full regent.
"After a brief, independent reign of perhaps no more than a few months … Nefertiti disappears from view, presumably havingdied or been killed. Responsibility for the subsequent funeral fell to her immediate successor, Tutankhamun," Reeves writes.
"At the time of Nefertiti's burial, there had surely been no intention that Tutankhamun wouldin due course occupy this same tomb. That thought would not occur until the king's early and unexpected death a decade later," he writes.
(Forensic study of Tutankhamun's mummy produced the portrait seen here below right.)
With no tomb yet dug for pharaoh's sole use, Nefertiti's tomb was reopened and enlarged to receive a second burial.
Reeves theorizes: "Possibly, by the time Tutankhamun's burial came to be robbed shortly after the funeral Nevertiti's presence behind the north wall 'blind' was already forgotten; perhaps, and more likely, the robbers simply had insufficient time to investigate, choosing tofocus instead on those abundant riches readily to hand."
Three and a half thousand years later, Howard Carter had the time, but he lacked the technology to see beneath the tomb's painted walls.
Reeves concludes: "Accepting the oddly positioned rock-cut niches as evidence that the Burial Chamber's walls were completely solid, he brought his search to a close … wholly unaware that a more significant find by far may have been lying but inches from his grasp."