Lonely Planet Writer

Nefertiti still missing as no evidence found of secret chambers in King Tut's tomb

The tomb of King Tutankhamen has always been shrouded in an air of mystery involving secret burials, strange diseases, mummies, and more.

Pyramids from the Giza Plateau.
Pyramids from the Giza Plateau. Image by WitR

But now there is a different type of mystery altogether. Radar scans conducted by a National Geographic team proved over the past days that there are definitely no hidden chambers in King Tut’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Image by (AP Photo/Mohamed El-Dakhakhny)

Discoveries made by Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, and radar technologist Hirokatsu Watanabe last year received much attention as they suggested the exciting prospect of secret chambers adjacent to King Tut’s own tomb.

In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt.
In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, tourists look at the tomb of King Tut as it is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. Image by AP Photo/Amr Nabil

The theory was put forward that there were two hidden chambers containing metal and organic artefacts that were presumed to belong to Nefertiti, King Tut’s stepmother.

But the scans carried out by the National Geographic team leave no doubt – there are no secret tombs.

Valley of the Kings, Egypt where King Tutankhamun is buried and Queen Nefertiti may be too.
Valley of the Kings, Egypt where King Tutankhamun is buried and Queen Nefertiti may be too. Image by annemarieangelo / CC BY 2.0

In spite of this discovery, the team was prevented from reporting its findings through an agreement with the Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities. The team was furthermore not allowed present its findings at a conference about ancient Egypt last weekend. Reeves and Watanabe on the other hand were allowed present their whole research.

The episode has prompted speculation, and seems to throw the ever fascinating legends of King Tut and the pyramids back into veils of mystery.