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Tomb of Prominent Queen and Wife of Tutankhamun Could Soon Be Unearthed


Egyptologists may be on the brink of making a major discovery in the Valley of the Kings – they believe they are on their way to unearthing the tomb of a famous ancient Egyptian royal.

Although excavations are only in the early stages, well-known archaeologist Zahi Hawass believes that a tomb is waiting to be unearthed at the site. But if he’s correct in what he’s pondered to Live Science , the proposed tomb may belong to the ancient queen Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife.

Ankhesenamun was a longstanding member of ancient Egyptian royalty. Her story begins as the third of six daughters to Pharaoh Akhenaten and his Great Royal Wife Nefertiti. Ankhesenamun married her half-brother Tutankhamun when he was just 8 to 10 years old and she was 13. It is said the couple had stillborn twins . She may have also been briefly married to Tutankhamun's successor, Ay, (believed by many to be her maternal grandfather). There have also been suggestions that Ankhesenamun may have been married to her father for a time as well.

  • Tomb Could Be That of Tutankhamun’s Wife and Egyptian Leading Lady Ankhesenamun
  • The Hunt for Ankhesenamun: How Did a Young Woman Stop an Ancient Dynasty from Imploding? Part I

Ankhesenamun Hands Tutankhamun an Arrow. (Asaf Braverman/ CC BY NC SA 2.0)

Controversial proof for Ay and Ankhesenamun’s marriage has been offered in the form of a finger-ring that was found by Professor Percy Newberry in an antique shop in Cairo in the spring of 1931. It had cartouches of Ay and Ankhesenamun inscribed side by side―which many scholars say is proof of wedlock.

Nonetheless, there is also an argument against a marriage between Ay and Ankhesenamun. “Her name never appeared within his tomb and it is believed that she may have died during or shortly after Ay’s reign, as she disappears from history shortly after his period.”

Portrait study thought to be of Ay from the studio of the sculptor Thutmose. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

It is the location of the alleged tomb in the West Valley, also called the Valley of the Monkeys, especially near the tomb of the pharaoh Ay, which has been the biggest suggestion that the tomb may belong to Ankhesenamun.

Live Science points out that to date there are only a few other examples of royal tombs in that area; most of the ancient Egyptian rulers were buried in the East Valley of the Valley of the Kings.

Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt. (Wouter Hagens/ CC BY SA 3.0 )

Archaeologists were tipped off to the tomb’s possible existence by the discovery of four foundation deposits which Zahi Hawass described in July 2017 as “caches or holes in the ground that were filled with votive objects such as pottery vessels, food remains and other tools as a sign that a tomb construction is being initiated.”

  • Final Pieces of the Jigsaw: Are Khufu, Nefertiti & Ankhesenamun Set to Yield Their Secrets?
  • Study Presents Evidence of Extensive Inbreeding among Ancient Egyptian Royalty

It is an exciting prospect to think that the site Hawass and his team are exploring may be the location of Ankhesenamun’s final resting place. To date, no one has been able to ascertain where she was buried and no funerary objects with her name have been found.

Back in 2010 it was proposed that a mummy found in KV21A was Ankhesenamun. As Ancient Origins reported, “Although her remains are headless and mostly destroyed, it was possible to use her DNA to confirm that this woman is the mother of two of Tutankhamun’s children.” These results have been debated , but they do not discount her as the new tomb’s owner either. Ancient Egyptian priests were known to have moved mummies in an effort to save them from looters.

Detail; gold plate depicting Pharaoh Tutankhamun and consort, Ankhesenamun. ( CC BY SA 3.0 )

Hawass has been documenting the current excavations at the site on his website.


    Has the world been blinded by Nefertiti’s beauty?

    Nefertiti’s beguiling bust has today made her one of the most widely recognised figures of the ancient world. But, asks Joyce Tyldesley, do this Egyptian queen’s accomplishments 3,000 years ago really merit her modern-day acclaim?

    This competition is now closed

    Published: January 1, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    In 1333 BC the young Egyptian king Tutankhamun decided to abandon the royal city of Amarna. The sculptor Thutmose, supervisor of a large workshop specialising in the production of royal images, was a man entirely dependent on royal patronage. He had little choice but to pack up his tools and follow his king. Thutmose sailed away from Amarna, leaving behind a city filled with royal sculptures and a storeroom crammed with unwanted works of art.

    Not long after his departure, the city’s sculptures were viciously attacked by those opposed to the Amarna regime, and many of the statues were reduced to fragments. The storeroom, however, remained untouched. Here, on 6 and 7 December 1912, a German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered more than 50 pieces, including a startlingly lifelike bust of a queen. The woman was unlabelled, but she wore the unique flat-topped blue crown that identified her as Nefertiti, consort to Tutankhamun’s predecessor, Akhenaten.

    Nefertiti’s bust had been carved from limestone, then covered with a layer of gypsum plaster, which allowed Thutmose or one of his workmen to create the fine definition of the muscles and tendons in her neck, to add creases around her mouth and under the eyes, and to emphasise her cheekbones. Paint then gave Nefertiti a smooth pink-brown skin, deeper red-brown lips, arched black brows and a colourful floral collar encircling her slender neck. Her right eye was created from rock crystal her left eye is missing.

    The birth of Tut-mania

    As beautiful as it undoubtedly was, Nefertiti’s bust wasn’t the most significant discovery made by an Egyptologist in the early 20th century. That accolade must go to Howard Carter who, in November 1922, unearthed the burial place of Tutankhamun. This was the only near-intact tomb to have been found in the Valley of the Kings, and it was packed with precious grave goods. Carter’s spectacular discovery came at a time when the western world was still reeling from the First World War and the flu pandemic that followed it. A desire for fun and distraction existed alongside an increased interest in religion and the occult, and Egyptology was suddenly the height of fashion. ‘Tut-mania’ had been born.

    Within months of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Nefertiti’s bust (which had been moved to Germany in 1912) went on display in Berlin’s Neues Museum. The bust fitted perfectly with the art deco style that was starting to embody postwar opulence and glamour. Nefertiti had a disconcertingly modern appearance, yet she was the creation of a sculptor who had lived and died more than 3,000 years ago. Ample publicity ensured that long queues of admirers arrived daily at the museum. This, of course, resulted in yet more publicity and even longer queues. As Tutankhamun remained frustratingly invisible, sealed in his coffins in the Valley of the Kings, replica Nefertitis left Berlin to travel the western world. Soon, Nefertiti had become Egypt’s most familiar queen: an acknowledged ancient world beauty.

    Why does Nefertiti’s bust appeal to so many of us? Is it simply because, after a century of being told that it is beautiful, we expect to find it so? Or is there a more scientific explanation? Many of us find symmetrical faces attractive – and Nefertiti’s is certainly that.

    Defined by her flat-topped crown, Nefertiti quickly passed into popular culture as an exotic and powerful woman. Her image, often reduced to a silhouette, has been used to sell a wide range of luxurious products, while her crown has assumed a rich cultural afterlife of its very own. In the 1935 film The Bride of Frankenstein, Elsa Lanchester’s hair was subjected to the highly fashionable Marcel wave, then stretched over a wire frame to create a modern version of the crown, with a white lightening bolt on each side. This hairstyle was later copied by Magenta the castle maid, in the 1975 film version of the Rocky Horror Show. By the end of the 20th century, Nefertiti had made a considerable cultural impact.

    But there’s a downside to our modern obsession with Nefertiti’s bust – and that’s its power to distort our understanding of the past. Thutmose’s beguiling work of art has made Nefertiti a major player in our modern perception of ancient Egypt. But does that mean that she actually was a major player as a flesh-and-blood human being 3,000 years ago?

    We have more images of Nefertiti than any other Egyptian queen-consort, which suggests, to some people, that the answer to the question is yes. Surely, they argue, this proves that there was something exceptional about her. Others have countered that the abundance of images is simply a result of large quantities of Amarna art being preserved in the abandoned royal city.

    Neither argument wins the day decisively. For me, it seems that the only way we can establish if there truly was something extraordinary about Nefertiti is to reconsider what we know about her life.

    Unfortunately, most of that life remains shrouded in darkness. What we do know is that Nefertiti was the chief wife of the ‘heretic king’ Akhenaten, and that she bore him six daughters. Akhenaten ruled Egypt at a time of unprecedented wealth and power from approximately 1353–1336 BC. He built the city of Amarna, and dedicated it to the worship of one solar god, the Aten.

    Divine children

    Like all of Egypt’s consorts, Nefertiti was effectively the king’s deputy. We have images of her ‘smiting’ or executing the enemies of Egypt, a role normally reserved for kings.

    Her religious role is less easy to define, but we know that she played a prominent part in the cult of Aten. It is rare to see a woman acting as the primary contact with a god, yet Nefertiti is shown making offerings in a female-only temple. It seems likely that she was more than a conduit between mankind and the divine. As Akhenaten’s solar religion eliminated Egypt’s traditional gods, it allowed the king and queen to take their place. To all intents and purposes, Akhenaten and Nefertiti became the divine children of the Aten.

    Can we conclude from this that Nefertiti was indeed exceptional among Egypt’s consorts? First we need to consider the role played by her formidable mother-in-law, and wife of Amenhotep III, Queen Tiy. At the turn of the last century, before the discovery of her bust, Nefertiti was completely overshadowed by her formidable predecessor. Tiy, it was accepted, developed the role of the politically active consort and queen mother. Nefertiti merely followed her lead.

    Tiy, like Nefertiti, maintained a high public profile throughout her marriage. She was depicted alongside her husband on public monuments and in private tombs, and her name was linked with his on inscriptions and in diplomatic correspondence. Tiy was closely identified with the solar goddesses Maat and Hathor. In the Theban tomb of the courtier Kheruef, we can see Tiy sailing, godlike, alongside the solar god Re, and we can see her sitting on a throne that bears an image of the queen as a human-headed sphinx, trampling two female prisoners. Outside Egypt, at the Nubian temple of Sedeinga, Tiy was worshipped as a form of the goddess Hathor-Tefnut.

    Clearly, both Tiy and Nefertiti were allocated religious and political power, with Tiy (who was mentioned in diplomatic correspondence) perhaps more prominent in the political sphere, and Nefertiti (who made offerings in temples) winning in the realm of religion. But – and this is a big ‘but’ – neither woman ever demonstrated a power that was equal to, or higher than, their king. Can we really state that Nefertiti was uniquely powerful? On this evidence, no.

    The vanishing queen

    Much of the debate around Nefertiti’s exceptionalism – or lack of it – centres on her later years. What became of her when her husband, Akhenaten, died? Did she flourish, or fade into obscurity?

    Our last dated view of Nefertiti comes from the Amarna tomb of the courtier Meryre II. Here a wall scene shows the royal family enjoying a festival during Akhenaten’s regnal year 12. Our last dated reference to Nefertiti comes four years later, when a barely legible graffito mentions the “Great King’s Wife Nefertiti”. As Akhenaten’s final recorded regnal year is year 17, it seems that Nefertiti was alive and performing the normal consort’s duties shortly before her husband’s death.

    However, the graffito was only discovered and published in 2012. For many years prior to its publication, Egyptologists had believed that Nefertiti vanished soon after her husband’s regnal year 12. This should not have been a problem. Egyptian history is rife with vanishing queens. We don’t usually seek to find these women we assume that they have either died or retired from public life. But, such has been the impact of Nefertiti’s bust upon our imaginations, we have refused to accept that she could have died or retired without anyone commemorating the fact.

    Reluctant to lose sight of Nefertiti, Egyptologists developed a complicated series of scenarios based on the assumption that Nefertiti had been banished from Amarna. This has since been disproved.

    The 1970s saw the development of a more plausible theory. Philologist John Harris suggested that Nefertiti had transformed herself into a female king to rule alongside Akhenaten as a co-regent. After Akhenaten’s death, Harris proposed, she may have ruled Egypt either as a solo king or as a regent, before Tutankhamun came to the throne.

    Breasts and wide hips

    This theory is supported by a certain amount of indirect, inconclusive evidence. For example, a gilded statuette included among Tutankhamun’s grave goods shows a crowned royal figure with breasts and wide hips. Some experts have interpreted this as a statuette originally intended for a female ruler: a piece created for King Nefertiti, repurposed by Tutankhamun.

    It’s an alluring hypothesis but it’s seriously flawed. And that’s because it seems that Nefertiti was succeeded as queen-consort by her eldest daughter, Meritaten. If anyone was in a position to act as Tutankhamun’s regent, it was surely the daughter, not the mother whom she had replaced.

    Let’s return to the Amarna tomb of Meryre II. Here an incomplete scene shows a king and queen illuminated by the rays of the god Aten. The queen is Meritaten, standing besides her husband, the short-lived pharaoh Smenkhkare. Further evidence of Meritaten’s status is provided by a cartouche, declaring her to be “King’s Great Wife Meritaten”. So, if we are seeking a powerful female operating at the end of the Amarna Period – perfectly placed to serve alongside her husband – it is to Meritaten, not Nefertiti, to whom we should look.

    Nefertiti is frequently included on the list of Egypt’s kings. Yet we don’t have a single image or fragment of text to prove that she was ever anything other than a prominent queen-consort, one of a line of powerful royal wives including her mother-in-law Tiy, and her daughter Meritaten. Would we have developed our fascination with Nefertiti, and our determination to see her as somehow special, without the discovery of her hauntingly beautiful bust? It is impossible to say, but it seems unlikely.

    Joyce Tyldesley teaches online Egyptology courses at the University of Manchester. Her book Nefertiti’s Face: The Creation of an Icon is published this month by Profile

    Books: Amarna Sunset by Aidan Dodson (American University in Cairo Press, 2009) Tutankhamen’s Curse: The Developing Story of an Egyptian King by Joyce Tyldesley (Profile Books, 2012).


    Tutankhamun unmasked: 7 intriguing truths about the pharaoh and his treasures

    As the UK welcomes a new exhibition on Tutankhamun's tomb – considered by many the greatest archaeological discovery of all time – mystery still surrounds ancient Egypt's most famous son. Here, Joann Fletcher unearths seven intriguing truths about the pharaoh and his legendary treasures

    This competition is now closed

    Published: October 31, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Complements the BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The Cult of King Tut’

    He was not a unique ‘boy-king’ – nor was his reign particularly brief

    Often described as a tragic boy-king whose 10-year rule in Egypt ended only too swiftly, Tutankhamun was not really unique in either respect. At his accession inc1336 BC, he was aged around eight ornine, but this was not uncommon for an ancient Egyptian king. In c2278 BC, King Pepi II of the Old Kingdom had become pharaoh aged around six, requiring his mother to act as regent until Pepi came of age. Similarly, Tutankhamun’s grandfather Amenhotep III was approximately 10 years old at his accession in c1390 BC, and so again had been guided by his mother in the role of regent.

    Among other youthful rulers, Tuthmosis III, the so-called ‘Napoleon of ancient Egypt’, was only two when he became pharaoh in c1479 BC and, later, King Ptolemy V, for whom the Rosetta Stone was produced, came to the throne in 204 BC aged only five. King Sesostris I (c1965–1921 BC) had even boasted that the gods had considered him ready to rule when he was still in nappies, “not yet loosed from swaddling clothes”.

    As for the supposed brevity of Tutankhamun’s reign, there is no reason to consider it as such in a world where 35 was the average life expectancy, and where even the elite died young by modern standards. His own great-grandfather Tuthmosis IV had similarly ruled for a single decade, as did the later king Merenptah. Ramses I, Sethnakht and Ramses VIII all managed only a few years at most. The record for regnal brevity, however, is surely held by Ptolemy XI, who was pharaoh for only 18 days in 80 BC.

    Even the common claim that Tutankhamun’s 10-year reign was insufficient time in which to construct him a tomb in the Valley of the Kings is illogical, since the huge tomb of Tuthmosis IV (who reigned about 60 years before him) was completed and decorated within his decade on the throne. In fact, earlier Old Kingdom monarchs Djedefre and Userkaf were both able to complete pyramid tombs of at least 50 metres in height during even briefer reigns.

    His tomb contained a lot more than just gold, as neatly folded underwear proves

    Although the public gaze rarely extends beyond the gold, the tomb contained another kind of treasure: a virtually intact royal wardrobe made up of a wide range of clothing in both child and adult sizes. From sumptuous regalia and neatly folded underwear to leather armour, linen socks, patterned gloves and fragments of an elaborate wig, all were stored inside the chests and boxes carefully placed within the tomb. With many of these emptied out during a spate of small-scale robberies soon after the burial, the royal officials charged with restoring the tomb hastily stuffed them back into the nearest receptacle, producing the creases, crumples and general confusion that greeted Howard Carter in 1922.

    During the 10 years it took him to clear the tomb, Carter recognised the unique nature of the several hundred delicate garments, advising the need for their “very careful study”. Yet, eclipsed by the gold on their arrival at Cairo Museum, most were placed in storage for 70 years until textile historian Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and her team began their work, conserving the fragile originals while reconstructing 36 representative examples, from elaborate bead-encrusted robes to simple loincloths.

    Recreating the ultra-fine quality of the ancient linen and its once vivid colours, the team also identified the original purpose of some of the garments. A pair of curious linen ‘headdresses’, for example, were actually meant to be worn on the arms to replicate the wings of a falcon – a symbol of kingship. Unusual ‘riding gauntlets’ turned out to be linen socks with gaps between the large and smaller toes to accommodate the flip-flop-style thongs of the royal sandals, whose soles portrayed Egypt’s enemies, ready to be ground into the floor at every step.

    Complemented by tapestry-woven necklines and borders naming the wearer as the “vanquisher of all the foes of Egypt” and “protector of the country”, the further addition of golden collars, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and headgear ensured Egypt’s ruler and living god would look the part at all times. Yet on long state occasions in the Egyptian heat, the mantle of state must have proved a heavy burden in every sense, especially when the king was still a child.

    Many of the objects found in his tomb were not made for him

    Although the new exhibition in London’s Saatchi Gallery is entitled Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, identifying the owner of these treasures is not as straightforward as it might seem. Virtually every object from the tomb is usually described as having belonged to Tutankhamun himself, but Egyptologists have long recognised that many – some say most – of the 5,000 or so items were not made for him, but for members of his family. This includes his immediate predecessors – his father, Akhenaten, and his stepmother Nefertiti, who most likely ruled briefly as pharaoh in her own right after Akhenaten’s death and whose funerary objects were later recycled for Tutankhamun.

    This would explain the distinctly different facial types of the three golden coffins and of the several hundred shabti (servant) figurines. It also explains the obvious physical differences among the statuettes dressed in kingly regalia, some of which are flat-chested while others have breasts. Although such features have been unconvincingly dismissed as quirks of an ancient art style, some objects – from jewellery and weapons to calcite vessels, storage boxes and pen cases – are actually inscribed with the names of other members of the royal family, all of which have therefore been interpreted as ‘family heirlooms’.

    Yet this cannot be the case with those items intimately associated with Tutankhamun’s mummified body, from the inlaid gold ‘mummy bands’ surrounding the linen wrappings to the four miniature coffins that once held the king’s preserved entrails. All of these were originally inscribed for ‘Ankhkheperure’, the throne name taken by Nefertiti as ruler, just as Tutankhamun’s throne name was actually ‘Nebkheperure’.

    Even the gold death mask, recently subjected to microscopic scrutiny, was found to have originally carried the name Ankhkheperure, before being reinscribed to read Nebkheperure. Clearly the sheer beauty of these objects so dazzled the modern world that it has taken almost a century to begin to work out for whom they were originally made, and why they were then reused.

    Tutankhamun was not buried alone

    Although most pharaonic tombs are regarded as places in which monarchs were interred in solitary splendour, a considerable number of rulers were buried with other members of their family. This was a practice that continued into the 18th Dynasty (c1550–1295 BC), of which Tutankhamun was a member.

    The tombs of Amenhotep II and Tuthmosis IV once held the bodies of children who had predeceased their royal fathers, while Amenhotep III was provided with a tomb complex large enough to accommodate the planned burials of his own wife and eldest daughter. Similarly, Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, was initially buried in the Royal Tomb at Amarna in the company of his mother and at least one of his daughters.

    All of this means that it is perhaps unsurprising that Tutankhamun was also not alone in his tomb. When Carter was removing the contents of one of its side chambers, which he designated ‘the Treasury’, he discovered two tiny bodies that had been carefully mummified, wrapped in linen, and provided with tiny gold masks and sets of small coffins. When examined in 1932 by anatomist Douglas Derry of Cairo’s Kasr al-Ainy Medical School, both were revealed as stillborn female foetuses, one of five months’ gestation and the other seven months – an estimation raised to nine months following x-ray examination in 1979.

    This study and others since have identified the same scoliosis and related genetic conditions shared by Tutankhamun himself, so it is widely believed these two unnamed children were his daughters, whose premature deaths were followed by their interment in their father’s tomb. Carter himself went even further, and in the grand tradition of casting Tutankhamun as a tragic figure, regarded the foetuses as the last representatives of the 18th Dynasty royal family, musing that “had one of those babes lived there might never have been a Ramses” – a reference to the famous Ramses II of the subsequent dynasty.

    Rumours of secret chambers in his tomb are just that – rumours

    Tutankhamun’s tomb has been a massive tourist draw since its discovery in 1922. But ever since its discovery, the effect of so many people crowding into such a small space had increased the levels of humidity, dust and microbacteria – and had begun to damage its painted wall scenes.

    In an effort to solve this problem, a facsimile burial chamber was created, using high-resolution 3D laser scanning to reproduce the exact dimensions of the original. When the scan data was published in 2014, it revealed faint traces of what appeared to be two doorways on the north and west walls of the burial chamber. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves interpreted these anomalies as entries to hidden chambers, which he believed would contain a further royal burial – in his opinion, most likely that of Nefertiti.

    This sensational claim made headlines around the world. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities commissioned further investigations using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to detect any hidden voids, declaring they were “90 per cent sure” that further chambers did indeed exist. Yet a second GPR scan of the tomb, undertaken by engineers from the National Geographic Society in 2016, found no such hidden features, meaning that archaeologists proceeded to argue among themselves as the world media continued to speculate.

    So Egypt’s antiquities minister commissioned a third and final set of scans in 2018. Carried out by the University of Turin and two Italian imaging companies, again supported by National Geographic, the scan was crosschecked with the two previous studies, suggesting that the original anomalies were probably the result of the radar waves being affected by the wall plaster and stone sarcophagus. They concluded “with a very high level of confidence” that “the existence of hidden chambers… is not supported by the GPR data”. The findings were accepted by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who added that these final scans “conclusively prove that there are no additional chambers or passages” – that is, at least, until the next scans are undertaken…

    There is no direct evidence that Tutankhamun was murdered

    Although the tomb was discovered in 1922, it took Carter three more years of excavation before he could access Tutankhamun’s body within the burial chamber, where it was protected inside a series of gilded shrines erected around the sarcophagus. Inside, within a nest of three coffins, the king’s mummified body was stuck fast to the base of the innermost coffin, as a result of resin-based embalming fluids – so the autopsy carried out by Douglas Derry in 1925 required the use of heated knives to remove the body piece by piece.

    Although he was unable to establish a cause of death, Derry estimated Tutankhamun was between 17 and 19 when he died – a claim confirmed in 1968 by the first x-rays of the body, which also revealed a small, dislodged bone fragment within the skull. The suggestion that this might have been caused by a blow to the head bec ame a veritable whodunnit, the notion of foul play fitting the stereotype of the tragic boy-king so well that his ‘murder’ became virtual fact.

    When the fragment was shown to be postmortem damage, some turned their attention instead to the damaged chest and broken ribs. Likely caused when valuables were stolen from the reassembled body after its 1925 reinternment, such damage has nonetheless been claimed as evidence of a violent death inflicted by a chariot wheel in battle.

    In 2005, CT scans highlighted that Tutankhamun’s left femur had been fractured – the lack of healing meaning this was probably more postmortem damage. Yet some suggested the wound had become fatally infected, though the scans showed no evidence of that. The same study added that he might have succumbed to malaria, while others have claimed his death was hastened by syndromes such as Marfan, Klippel-Feil and Klinefelter’s.

    Ultimately, the only consensus remains that Tutankhamun died around 19, still older than several of his half-sisters and certainly his own stillborn daughters, whose demise was most likely related to the cumulative effects of the family’s inbreeding.

    Carter was not the first to find “the tomb of Tutankhamun”

    While the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber made Howard Carter a household name, “the tomb of Tutankhamun” had actually been unearthed 13 years earlier by archaeologist Ernest Harold Jones.

    Jones, who has since been virtually airbrushed from history, was born in the York-shire town of Barnsley in 1877. Described as a “dark-haired, small, pleasant young man”, he, like his friend Carter, had gone out to Egypt to work as an archaeological artist before gaining sufficient skills to undertake excavations himself.

    Jones spent successive excavation seasons in Egypt, initially at Beni Hasan in 1903, then at Esna, Hierakonpolis, Abydos and Amarna. By 1907 he was taken on by the wealthy American Theodore Davis, who was funding excavations in the Valley of the Kings. From then on, Jones was involved in the excavation of some of the valley’s most significant tombs – from that of Tutankhamun’s father, Akhenaten, to Tutankhamun’s eventual successor, Horemheb. Initially responsible for drawing their contents and making facsimiles of their wall scenes, he was soon appointed director of excavations, noticing the name of the then little-known ‘Tutankhamun’ on seal impressions, ring bezels and other finds that had begun to turn up around the valley.

    In 1909, he discovered tomb KV58, which contained goldwork that again named Tutankhamun. Jones rightly suspected it to be a robbers’ stash, but his boss Davis insisted it was “the tomb of Tutankhamun”, announcing it as such in 1912 and declaring that “the Valley of the Kings is now exhausted”.

    Sadly, by then Jones had succumbed to tuberculosis, dying in his dig house in the valley, aged 34. With his colleagues Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon organising his funeral in Luxor, and taking over Davis’s concession to dig in the valley, Jones himself was soon forgotten. Even his grave was lost during the moving of Luxor cemetery in 2013, a sad fate for the man who had helped pave the way to the discovery of the most famous tomb in history.

    Professor Joann Fletcher is based at the University of York. Her latest book is The Story of Egypt (Hodder & Stoughton, 2015)

    VISIT: Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is at Saatchi Gallery in London from 2 November 2019–3 May 2020.

    LISTEN: A new BBC Radio 4 documentary, The Cult of King Tut, is available on BBC Sounds


    Mystery SOLVED? 3,300-year-old Egyptian tomb UNCOVERED revealing extraordinary discovery

    AN ANCIENT tomb unearthed after more than 3,000 years has blown one of the biggest riddles in Egyptian history wide open.

    Archaeologists have uncovered a burial ground in the Valley of the Kings thought to belong to Tutankhamun&aposs lost wife, Ankhesenamun.

    Ankhesenamun, the queen of the 18th Dynasty, ruled over the Egyptian empire between 1332 and 1323 BC.

    When Tutankhamun died in 1323 BC, Ankhesenamun is thought to have married to his successor, Ay, who ruled from 1327 to 1323 BC.

    But the tomb of Ankhesenamun has never been confirmed after she vanished from historical records after the death of King Tut.

    Now a new burial plot near the tomb of pharaoh Ay has been found by world renowned archaeologist and former Egyptian minister for antiquities, Zahi Hawass.

    He has found evidence of foundation deposits, caches of pottery, food remains and other tools, suggesting a tomb was built at the site.

    His team are planning to dig up the site to establish if there is a tomb, and if so, who it belongs to.

    He told LiveScience: “We are sure there is a tomb there, but we do not know for sure to whom it belongs.

    “We are sure there is a tomb hidden in that area because I found four foundation deposits.

    “The ancient Egyptians usually did four or five foundation deposits whenever they started a tomb&aposs construction.

    &apos[And] the radar did detect a substructure that could be the entrance of a tomb.”

    King Tut, who became pharaoh at the age of nine, died in 1323 after just nine years of rule.

    Archaeologist Howard Carter sparked a worldwide frenzy when he discovered Tutankhamun&aposs nearly intact tomb in 1922.

    His tomb is still the subject of intrigue to this day with scientists convinced there is a mysterious treasure-packed chamber hidden beneath its depths.

    A team of archaeologists were set to probe King Tut’s tomb in a bid to find the lost chamber.

    Last year archeologists revealed they had discovered King Tut’s dagger was made of material “from space” .


    Egypt gets ready to unearth secret tomb of King Tutankhamun teenaged wife

    About a hundred years back, not just Egypt but the whole world was moved when Howard Carter discovered the ancient, hidden tomb of King Tutankhamun aka King Tut, the young pharaoh and one of the eminent rulers in the history of Egypt.

    If the assumptions of the Egyptologists turn out to be true, the tomb of King Tut’s teen wife Ankhesenamun might be the next big thing to be discovered in 2018.

    Egyptologists previously discovered what they believe is the burial chamber of Ankhesenamun, Tutankhamun's wife, in the Valley of the Kings.


    In the early 2017, the Egyptologists managed to unearth something which they thought to be the burial chamber of Ankhesenamun, in the famous Valley of the Kings. Now, the archaeologists have started excavating the area near a tomb at the same site, believing that there might lay her body.

    The announcement about excavation was made by Archaeologist and ex-Egyptian minister for antiquities, Zahi Hawass, on his web page. In July 2017, he unearthed the unlikely burial site near the tomb of Ay, the pharaoh and Tutankhamun's successor, with the help of radar technology.

    The teen bride is believed to have had a tragic life, marrying her father, her grandfather and her half-brother Tutankhamun. Ankhsenamun married Ay after Tutankhamun’s unexpected death, and it is believed that her tomb is still clandestinely buried in the Valley of the Monkeys.


    Reportedly, the excavations have begun in January 2018 at the Valley of Monkeys, a valley located near the Valley of the Kings.

    According to news reports, Hawass and his team has surely discovered a tomb at the site but it is yet unknown who lies inside it. The presence of four foundation deposits and other evidences gave clue about the presence of a tomb at the excavated site because the ancient Egyptians normally did four or five foundation deposits before starting a tomb’s construction. The radar detected a sub-structure, thus, throwing light on the fact that there could likely be an entrance leading to a tomb.

    Ankhesenamun was one of the children of Pharaoh Akhenaten and Queen Nefertiti, born around 1348 BC. The annals of Egyptian history reveal that her life was quite a tragic one she had to marry her father, her grandfather and her cousin, Tutankhamun, in that order.


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    Reeves said the plastered walls could conceal two unexplored doorways, one of which perhaps leads to Nefertiti's tomb.

    He also argues that the design of the tomb suggests it was built for a queen, rather than a king.

    'I agree with him that there's probably something behind the walls,' el-Damaty said.

    Dr Nicholas Reeves claims to have found evidence for the bricked up entrances to two additional chambers to Tutankhamun's tomb. These include the burial chamber for Queen Nefertiti, who Dr Reeves claims was the boy-kings co-regent and may even have been his mother, and new hidden storage room, as shown above

    Dr Reeves claims he made the discovery after analysing high-resolution radar scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb complex, which was uncovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings

    But he said if anyone is buried there it is likely Kia, believed by some Egyptologists to be King Tut's mother.

    Nefertiti, who was famed for her beauty and was the subject of a famous 3,300 year-old bust, was the primary wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who introduced an early form of monotheism.

    Akhenaten was succeeded by a pharaoh referred to as Smenkhare and then Tut, who is widely believed to have been Akhenaten's son.

    Reeves argues that Smenkhare is actually Nefertiti.

    'Nefertiti disappears. according to the latest inscriptions just being found,' said Reeves, explaining his theory inside King Tut's tomb.

    'I think that Nefertiti didn't disappear, she simply changed her name.'

    After Nefertiti died, Tut was responsible for burying her, and then when he died someone decided to extend the tomb, Reeves suggested.

    'I think since Nefertiti had been buried a decade before, they remembered that tomb was there and they thought, well, perhaps we can extend it,' he said.

    Dr Reeves describes how he uncovered the 'ghosts' of two portals that tomb builders blocked up (shown in yellow on the right). One, he says, is a storage room, and the other the tomb of Nefertiti (bust pictured left)

    Tutankhamun's tomb may contain two hidden chambers, Egypt's antiquities minister said. A policeman takes a selfie at the Amenhotep II tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt

    WERE KING TUTANKHAMUN'S PARENTS ALSO COUSINS?

    The complex family arrangements of Tutankhamun has been one of the great mysteries surrounding the young king.

    While his father was known to have been Pharaoh Akhenaten, the identity of his mother has been far more elusive.

    DNA testing has shown that Queen Tiye, whose mummy is pictured above, was the grandmother of the Egyptian Boy King Tutankhamun

    In 2010 DNA testing confirmed a mummy found in the tomb of Amenhotep II was Queen Tiye, the chief wife of Amenhotep III, mother of Pharaoh Akhenanten, and Tutankhamun's grandmother.

    A third mummy, thought to be one of Pharaoh Akhenaten wives, was found to be a likely candidate as Tutankhamun's mother, but DNA evidence showed it was Akhenaten's sister.

    Later analysis in 2013 suggested Nefertiti, Akhenaten's chief wife, was Tutankhamun's mother.

    However, the work by Marc Gabolde, a French archaeologist, has suggested Nefertiti was also Akhenaten's cousin.

    This incestuous parentage may also help to explain some of the malformations that scientists have discovered afflicted Tutankhamun.

    He suffered a deformed foot, a slightly cleft palate and mild curvature of the spine.

    However, his claims have been disputed by other Egyptologists, including Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

    His team's research suggests that Tut's mother was, like Akhenaten, the daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye.

    Hawass added that there is 'no evidence' in archaeology or philology to indicate that Nefertiti was the daughter of Amenhotep III.

    Any discovery would provide more information about this turbulent time in ancient Egypt.

    'Akhenaten's family is full of secrets and historical issues that have yet to be resolved,' el-Damaty said.

    Last week, the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry granted preliminary approval for the use of a non-invasive radar to prove the theory.

    A security clearance for the radar's use will probably be obtained within a month allowing the scans to go ahead, said Mouchira Moussa, media consultant to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty.

    'It's not going to cause any damage to the monument,' Moussa said.

    British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tut's tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings in 1922 - intact and packed with antiquities including Tut's world-famous golden mask.

    In his paper, Reeves claims high-resolution images of King Tut's tomb include lines underneath plastered surfaces of painted walls, showing there could be two unexplored doorways, one of which could potentially lead to Nefertiti's tomb.

    The Japanese radar, which will be operated by an expert who will accompany the equipment from Japan for the inspection once the final approval is granted, will look beyond the walls that Reeves says may be leading into the suspected tomb and the other chamber, Moussa said.

    'If it is Nefertiti's, this would be very massive.'

    Dr Nicholas Reeves, an English archaeologist at the University of Arizona, last month shocked the world after analysing high-resolution scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's grave.

    He described how he uncovered the 'ghosts' of two portals that tomb builders blocked up, one of which is believed to be a storage room.

    The tomb of King Tut is displayed in a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxo. British Egyptologist's theory that a queen may be buried in the walls of the 3,300 year-old pharaonic mausoleum

    Pictured is the the decorated north wall of Tutankhamen's burial chamber, behind which Dr Reeves believes is another, more lavish burial chamber belonging to Nefertiti

    Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist affiliated with the Egyptian expedition at the University of Arizona, left, arrives at the Horemheb tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt

    In 2010 geneticists used DNA tests to examine the parentage of Tutankhamun and suggested it might be the mummy above, known as the Younger Lady, who was the boy-king's mother. Other experts have claimed, however, that Nefertiti was a cousin of King Tut's father and may have been the boy's mother

    The other, on the north side of Tutankhamun's tomb, contains 'the undisturbed burial of the tomb's original owner - Nefertiti', Dr Reeves argued.

    If Dr Reeves is correct, the hidden tomb could be far more magnificent than anything found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber.

    He believes it is her tomb due to its position positioned to the right of the entrance shaft, which is far more typical of Egyptian queens rather than kings.

    The small size of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, given his standing in the Egyptian history, has baffled experts for years and Dr Reeves' theory could suggest that it was built as an addition to an existing tomb - his mother's.

    Egyptian laborers work at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings. If Dr Reeves is correct, the hidden tomb could be far more magnificent than anything found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber

    A HISTORY OF QUEEN NEFERTITI AND WHY HASN'T HER TOMB BEEN FOUND?

    Neferneferuaten Nefertiti - or Queen Nefertiti - was the wife and 'chief consort' of King Akhenaten, an Eyptian Pharoah during 14th century BC, one of the wealthiest era in Ancient Egypt (bust pictured)

    She was the most beautiful queen ancient Egypt ever laid eyes on. She was the stepmother, and perhaps even the mother, of Tutankhamun, the boy-pharaoh of Egypt.

    Still, today, the 3,300-year-old sculpture of her face, in the Neues Museum in Berlin, has the power to bewitch, with her almond eyes, high cheekbones and chiselled jaw.

    Even her name, Nefertiti, is enchanting. Her full name, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti, means 'Beautiful are the Beauties of Aten, the Beautiful One has come'. Her power and charms in 14th-century BC Egypt were so great that she collected a hatful of nicknames, too – from Lady Of All Women, to Great Of Praises, to Sweet Of Love.

    Despite her epic beauty, she remained a model of fidelity to her husband, the Pharaoh Akhenaten. The same could not be said of Akhenaten, who had his wicked way with a series of royal escorts, including, some say, his own daughters.

    Nefertiti was Egypt's most influential, and most beautiful, queen, who ruled at the height of the country's power, in the years of the late 18th Dynasty.

    Yes, Cleopatra is more famous, but she ruled Egypt in its declining years, in the first century BC. After her death, Egypt became just another province of the Roman Empire.

    Nefertiti lived during the richest period in ancient Egypt's history – from around 1370BC to 1330BC, a time when Greece, let alone Rome, was centuries away from the peaks of its magnificent civilisation. As well as marrying a pharaoh, she was probably born the daughter of another pharaoh, as well as possibly ruling alongside Tutankhamun.

    There is even a suggestion that she ruled Egypt alone after her husband's death. So from cradle to grave she ruled the roost. Thus her other nicknames: Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, and Lady of The Two Lands.

    Nefertiti and Akhenaten had six daughters, although it is thought that Tutankhamun was not her son. DNA analysis has indicated that Akhenaten fathered Tutankhamun with one of his own sisters – the first indication of his penchant for regal incest.

    He is thought to have fathered another pharaoh with yet another wife, who is named in various inscriptions. The list of consorts didn't end there. Among his other conquests are two noblewomen.

    On top of that, it is even suggested that he slept with one of his six daughters. The jury is out on that one, although he probably did install one of them in the ceremonial – if not necessarily sexual – role of Great Royal Wife.

    Despite all her husband's rumoured lovers, Nefertiti's name lives on as his loveliest, and most important, wife. Again and again, her beauty and power were depicted in temple images. Sometimes – like Prince Philip with the Queen – she is shown walking behind her husband. But she's also often shown on her own, in positions of pharaoh-like power.

    In one limestone sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she is seen hitting a female enemy over the head on her royal barge.

    She is power and beauty combined – Margaret Thatcher meets Princess Diana. In another sculpture, now in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, her slim, lissom body is depicted in all its glory, leaving little to the imagination. Still, today, the bright red of her lips and the kohl-black edges of those almond eyes smoulder across the passage of a hundred generations.

    Together, Akhenaten and Nefertiti blazed a trail across Egypt, building spectacular temples. In Karnak, the pharaoh erected one temple, the Mansion of the Benben, to his beloved, stunning wife.

    But it wasn't enough just to build temples. The royal couple's devotion to the god Aten – representing the disc of the sun – was so great that they created a whole new capital in his honour at Amarna, a city on the banks of the Nile.

    They built the new city from scratch, putting up two temples to Aten and a pair of royal palaces. It was like the Queen and Prince Philip deciding to up sticks from Windsor Castle tomorrow and building a new royal palace in the middle of Cumbria.

    Here, too, in Amarna, images of the lovely Nefertiti abound, sporting her distinctive, tall crown. She and her pharaoh are also shown receiving great piles of jewels and gold from their subject people.

    They ruled over a civilisation of astonishing sophistication. Among the discoveries are the Amarna Letters, more than 350 tablets excavated in the late 19th century, with 99 of them now in the British Museum. They tell the tale of a great nation with a highly developed diplomatic service. There are also rare chunks of poetry, parables and similes in the Amarna Letters. One striking line reads: 'For the lack of a cultivator, my field is like a woman without a husband.'

    Nefertiti is thought to have lost her own cultivator – her husband –around 1336BC it is then she may have reigned over Egypt alone.

    Her own death is shrouded in mystery. She is reckoned to have died about six years after her husband, possibly from the plague that struck Egypt at that time.

    In 1331BC, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun and moved the Egyptian capital to Thebes, where he died in 1323BC.

    Today, Thebes is Luxor, home to the Valley of the Kings, burial place of Tutankhamun and, just possibly, Queen Nefertiti. So did she go back to Thebes with him – or did he take her body there? Or was she buried in the old capital of Amarna, where that marvellous bust of her was discovered in 1912?

    For 3,300 years, the answer has been lost beneath the swirling sands of Egypt. If Dr Reeves is allowed to look behind the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb, we might uncover the fate of the most beautiful, betrayed wife in ancient history.

    Tutankhamun's burial chamber is the same size as an antechamber, rather than a tomb fit for an Egyptian King, for example.

    Dr Reeve said the richness of the furnishings crammed into Tutankhamun's four small chambers as 'overwhelming'.

    This image shows a computer reconstruction created using the skull of a mummy found in an earlier tomb. It bears a resemblance to Nefertiti

    The majority of Egyptologists have taken this at face value, he said many of the objects there appear to have been taken from predecessor kings and adapted for the boy-king's use.

    The opening of what is believed to have been Nefertiti's tomb is decorated with religious scenes, perhaps in a ritual to provide protection to the chamber behind it, he said.

    'Only one female royal of the late 18th Dynasty is known to have received such honours, and that is Nefertiti', Dr Reeves writes.

    If Dr Reeves' theory is correct, it may resolve a number of oddities about Tutankhamun's burial chamber that have long baffled researchers.

    For instance, the treasures found within seem to have been placed there in a rush, and are largely second-hand.

    'The implications are extraordinary,' he wrote.

    'If digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era store room to the west [but] that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of Pharaoh Akhenaten.'

    Joyce Tyldesley, senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester, told The Times that Dr Reeves's hypothesis may prove correct.

    The radar scan (left), shows what lies behind the paint on the section of the wall of Tutankhamen's tomb (right). The door is believed to be somewhere between points 4, 5 and 6. Nefertiti, whose name means 'the beautiful one has come,' was the queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century B.C

    Tutankhamen's tomb was first discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. Archaeologists are shown above removing part of a wooden couch, covered with gold leaf and a hippopotamus head, from the tomb at the time

    'It would not be surprising if the tomb had been intended to have additional rooms, although how far the builders got with these rooms it is difficult to say on current evidence,' she said.

    'I would be very surprised if this tomb was built to house the original, or first, burial of Nefertiti.

    'It seems to me that it is highly likely that she died during her husband's reign and so would have been buried at Amarna, the city purpose-built by Akhenaten in Middle Egypt.

    'But I would have expected her to be buried somewhere in the Western Valley, rather than in the centre of the Valley of the Kings.'

    Many Egyptologists believe there were probably one or two co-pharaohs between Akhenaten and Tutankhamun.

    Some, including Reeves, believe at least one of them may have been Nefertiti, who may have even ruled Egypt by herself even for just a few months.

    Finding her tomb could provide further insight into a period still largely obscured, despite intense worldwide interest in ancient Egypt.

    Famed for her exquisite beauty, the grave of Nefertiti or the 'Lady of the Two Lands' has been lost for centuries since her sudden death in 1340 BC.

    The gold burial mask of Tutankhamun, shown above, is one of the greatest treasures found inside the boy king's richly furnished tomb. Since its discovery, the story of the young ruler has entranced archaeologists

    Tutankhamun died in mysterious circumstances around 3,000 years ago. His mummy, shown above being unwrapped by archaeologists, was removed from its ornate stone sarcophagus in the tomb in 2007 so it could be better preserved in a climate controlled case

    Dr Reeves believes the pharaoh's room was simply an afterthought, describing it as a 'corridor-style tomb-within-a-tomb'. Pictured is its entrance

    UGLY STATUE OF QUEEN NEFERTITI CAUSES OUTRAGE IN EGYPT

    The bust of the 14th Century BC ruler was deemed so ugly it quickly drew comparisons to Frankenstein. It was removed after just a few days

    To many Egyptians, she remains a potent symbol of their country's beauty and rich cultural heritage.

    So you can imagine their horror when this statue of Queen Nefertiti was unveiled to great fanfare.

    The bust of the 14th Century BC ruler was deemed so ugly it quickly drew comparisons to Frankenstein.

    As mocking virals swept across Twitter, one Egyptian woman tweeted: 'This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian.'

    Another Twitter user wrote: 'I guess this is what she looked like four days after she died.'

    One launched a direct attack on the sculptors, saying: 'If you don't know how to make statues, don't go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti.'

    The statue, which was installed at the entrance to the city of Samalout, was intended to be a replica of the famously beautiful 3,300-year old bust unearthed in Ammarna in 1912.

    But the groundswell of criticism was fervent officials have last month removed the statue after just a few days.


    Lost and Found and Lost

    If Reeves is right, it would also be the culmination of a personal quest. He searched for the queen’s tomb when he was the director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project from 1998 to 2002.

    "My strong feeling is that Nefertiti may well be buried somewhere in the Valley of the Kings," he once told PBS. "It would be wonderful to find Nefertiti's tomb, because not only is this a person of the greatest historical importance, but it's a period of the most superb art."

    But it was Reeves’ colleague Otto Schaden, a University of Memphis archaeologist, who discovered a hidden tomb in 2006, fifty feet away from Tutankhamun’s. Some media reports initially identified it as the possible burial chamber of Nefertiti.

    The tomb, though, was a bust. Seven sarcophagi were found inside, six of which were empty. The seventh, farthest from the entrance, held out hope that it might contain a mummy—perhaps the queen herself.

    In a kitschy stunt reminiscent of Al Capone’s vault, the final sarcophagus was opened on a TV show, revealing not a mummy, but gilded collars ornamented with flowers, sticks, linen pieces, clay fragments, and golden shreds. Whatever it once held, the sarcophagus had apparently been converted to storage for burial materials.


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    After analysing high-resolution scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's grave complex in the Valley of the Kings, Dr Reeves spotted what appeared to be a secret entrance.

    He described how he uncovered the 'ghosts' of two portals that tomb builders blocked up, one of which is believed to be a storage room.

    The other, on the north side of Tutankhamun's tomb, contains 'the undisturbed burial of the tomb's original owner - Nefertiti', Dr Reeves argued.

    If Dr Reeves is correct, the hidden tomb could be far more magnificent than anything found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber.

    Dr Nicholas Reeves claims to have found evidence for the bricked up entrances to two additional chambers to Tutankhamun's tomb. These include the burial chamber for Queen Nefertiti, who Dr Reeves claims was the boy-kings co-regent and may even have been his mother, and new hidden storage room, as shown above

    Dr Reeves describes how he uncovered the 'ghosts' of two portals that tomb builders blocked up (shown in yellow on the right). One, he says, is a storage room, and the other the tomb of Nefertiti (bust pictured left)

    He believes it is her tomb due to its position positioned to the right of the entrance shaft, which is far more typical of Egyptian queens rather than kings.

    The small size of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, given his standing in the Egyptian history, has baffled experts for years and Dr Reeves' theory could suggest that it was built as an addition to an existing tomb - his mother's.

    Tutankhamun's burial chamber is the same size as an antechamber, rather than a tomb fit for an Egyptian King, for example.

    Dr Reeve said the richness of the furnishings crammed into Tutankhamun's four small chambers as 'overwhelming'.

    In 2010 geneticists used DNA tests to examine the parentage of Tutankhamun and suggested it might be the mummy above, known as the Younger Lady, who was the boy-king's mother. Other experts have claimed, however, that Nefertiti was a cousin of King Tut's father and may have been the boy's mother

    The majority of Egyptologists have taken this at face value, he said many of the objects there appear to have been taken from predecessor kings and adapted for the boy-king's use.

    He proposes that some of the material in the tomb suggest Nefertiti had been the boy's co-regent.

    Combined with the scans of the north wall of the tomb, Dr Reeves believes the tomb belonged to Nefertiti and the pharaoh's room was simply an afterthought, describing it as a 'corridor-style tomb-within-a-tomb'.

    A HISTORY OF QUEEN NEFERTITI AND WHY HASN'T HER TOMB BEEN FOUND?

    Neferneferuaten Nefertiti - or Queen Nefertiti - was the wife and 'chief consort' of King Akhenaten, an Eyptian Pharoah during 14th century BC, one of the wealthiest era in Ancient Egypt (bust pictured)

    She was the most beautiful queen ancient Egypt ever laid eyes on. She was the stepmother, and perhaps even the mother, of Tutankhamun, the boy-pharaoh of Egypt.

    Still, today, the 3,300-year-old sculpture of her face, in the Neues Museum in Berlin, has the power to bewitch, with her almond eyes, high cheekbones and chiselled jaw.

    Even her name, Nefertiti, is enchanting. Her full name, Neferneferuaten Nefertiti, means ‘Beautiful are the Beauties of Aten, the Beautiful One has come’. Her power and charms in 14th-century BC Egypt were so great that she collected a hatful of nicknames, too – from Lady Of All Women, to Great Of Praises, to Sweet Of Love.

    Despite her epic beauty, she remained a model of fidelity to her husband, the Pharaoh Akhenaten. The same could not be said of Akhenaten, who had his wicked way with a series of royal escorts, including, some say, his own daughters.

    Nefertiti was Egypt’s most influential, and most beautiful, queen, who ruled at the height of the country’s power, in the years of the late 18th Dynasty.

    Yes, Cleopatra is more famous, but she ruled Egypt in its declining years, in the first century BC. After her death, Egypt became just another province of the Roman Empire.

    Nefertiti lived during the richest period in ancient Egypt’s history – from around 1370BC to 1330BC, a time when Greece, let alone Rome, was centuries away from the peaks of its magnificent civilisation. As well as marrying a pharaoh, she was probably born the daughter of another pharaoh, as well as possibly ruling alongside Tutankhamun.

    There is even a suggestion that she ruled Egypt alone after her husband’s death. So from cradle to grave she ruled the roost. Thus her other nicknames: Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt, and Lady of The Two Lands.

    Nefertiti and Akhenaten had six daughters, although it is thought that Tutankhamun was not her son. DNA analysis has indicated that Akhenaten fathered Tutankhamun with one of his own sisters – the first indication of his penchant for regal incest.

    He is thought to have fathered another pharaoh with yet another wife, who is named in various inscriptions. The list of consorts didn’t end there. Among his other conquests are two noblewomen.

    On top of that, it is even suggested that he slept with one of his six daughters. The jury is out on that one, although he probably did install one of them in the ceremonial – if not necessarily sexual – role of Great Royal Wife.

    Despite all her husband’s rumoured lovers, Nefertiti’s name lives on as his loveliest, and most important, wife. Again and again, her beauty and power were depicted in temple images. Sometimes – like Prince Philip with the Queen – she is shown walking behind her husband. But she’s also often shown on her own, in positions of pharaoh-like power.

    In one limestone sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, she is seen hitting a female enemy over the head on her royal barge.

    She is power and beauty combined – Margaret Thatcher meets Princess Diana. In another sculpture, now in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, her slim, lissom body is depicted in all its glory, leaving little to the imagination. Still, today, the bright red of her lips and the kohl-black edges of those almond eyes smoulder across the passage of a hundred generations.

    Together, Akhenaten and Nefertiti blazed a trail across Egypt, building spectacular temples. In Karnak, the pharaoh erected one temple, the Mansion of the Benben, to his beloved, stunning wife.

    But it wasn’t enough just to build temples. The royal couple’s devotion to the god Aten – representing the disc of the sun – was so great that they created a whole new capital in his honour at Amarna, a city on the banks of the Nile.

    They built the new city from scratch, putting up two temples to Aten and a pair of royal palaces. It was like the Queen and Prince Philip deciding to up sticks from Windsor Castle tomorrow and building a new royal palace in the middle of Cumbria.

    Here, too, in Amarna, images of the lovely Nefertiti abound, sporting her distinctive, tall crown. She and her pharaoh are also shown receiving great piles of jewels and gold from their subject people.

    They ruled over a civilisation of astonishing sophistication. Among the discoveries are the Amarna Letters, more than 350 tablets excavated in the late 19th century, with 99 of them now in the British Museum. They tell the tale of a great nation with a highly developed diplomatic service. There are also rare chunks of poetry, parables and similes in the Amarna Letters. One striking line reads: ‘For the lack of a cultivator, my field is like a woman without a husband.’

    Nefertiti is thought to have lost her own cultivator – her husband –around 1336BC it is then she may have reigned over Egypt alone.

    Her own death is shrouded in mystery. She is reckoned to have died about six years after her husband, possibly from the plague that struck Egypt at that time.

    In 1331BC, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun and moved the Egyptian capital to Thebes, where he died in 1323BC.

    Today, Thebes is Luxor, home to the Valley of the Kings, burial place of Tutankhamun and, just possibly, Queen Nefertiti. So did she go back to Thebes with him – or did he take her body there? Or was she buried in the old capital of Amarna, where that marvellous bust of her was discovered in 1912?

    For 3,300 years, the answer has been lost beneath the swirling sands of Egypt. If Dr Reeves is allowed to look behind the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb, we might uncover the fate of the most beautiful, betrayed wife in ancient history.

    Dr Reeves claims he made the discovery after analysing high-resolution radar scans of the walls of Tutankhamun's tomb complex, which was uncovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings

    The opening of what is believed to have been Nefertiti's tomb is decorated with religious scenes, perhaps in a ritual to provide protection to the chamber behind it, he said.

    'Only one female royal of the late 18th Dynasty is known to have received such honours, and that is Nefertiti', Dr Reeves writes.

    If Dr Reeves' theory is correct, it may resolve a number of oddities about Tutankhamun's burial chamber that have long baffled researchers.

    WERE KING TUTANKHAMUN'S PARENTS ALSO COUSINS?

    The complex family arrangements of Tutankhamun has been one of the great mysteries surrounding the young king.

    While his father was known to have been Pharaoh Akhenaten, the identity of his mother has been far more elusive.

    DNA testing has shown that Queen Tiye, whose mummy is pictured above, was the grandmother of the Egyptian Boy King Tutankhamun

    In 2010 DNA testing confirmed a mummy found in the tomb of Amenhotep II was Queen Tiye, the chief wife of Amenhotep III, mother of Pharaoh Akhenanten, and Tutankhamun's grandmother.

    A third mummy, thought to be one of Pharaoh Akhenaten wives, was found to be a likely candidate as Tutankhamun's mother, but DNA evidence showed it was Akhenaten's sister.

    Later analysis in 2013 suggested Nefertiti, Akhenaten's chief wife, was Tutankhamun's mother.

    However, the work by Marc Gabolde, a French archaeologist, has suggested Nefertiti was also Akhenaten's cousin.

    This incestuous parentage may also help to explain some of the malformations that scientists have discovered afflicted Tutankhamun.

    He suffered a deformed foot, a slightly cleft palate and mild curvature of the spine.

    However, his claims have been disputed by other Egyptologists, including Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

    His team's research suggests that Tut's mother was, like Akhenaten, the daughter of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye.

    Hawass added that there is 'no evidence' in archaeology or philology to indicate that Nefertiti was the daughter of Amenhotep III.

    For instance, the treasures found within seem to have been placed there in a rush, and are largely second-hand.

    'The implications are extraordinary,' he wrote.

    This image shows a computer reconstruction created using the skull of a mummy found in an earlier tomb. It bears a resemblance to Nefertiti

    'If digital appearance translates into physical reality, it seems we are now faced not merely with the prospect of a new, Tutankhamun-era store room to the west [but] that of Nefertiti herself, celebrated consort, co-regent, and eventual successor of Pharaoh Akhenaten.'

    Joyce Tyldesley, senior lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester, told The Times that Dr Reeves's hypothesis may prove correct.

    'It would not be surprising if the tomb had been intended to have additional rooms, although how far the builders got with these rooms it is difficult to say on current evidence,' she said.

    'I would be very surprised if this tomb was built to house the original, or first, burial of Nefertiti.

    'It seems to me that it is highly likely that she died during her husband's reign and so would have been buried at Amarna, the city purpose-built by Akhenaten in Middle Egypt.

    'But I would have expected her to be buried somewhere in the Western Valley, rather than in the centre of the Valley of the Kings.'

    Nefertiti, whose name means 'the beautiful one has come,' was the queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century B.C.

    Pictured is the the decorated north wall of Tutankhamen's burial chamber, behind which Dr Reeves believes is another, more lavish burial chamber belonging to Nefertiti

    The radar scan (left), shows what lies behind the paint on the section of the wall of Tutankhamen's tomb (right). The door is believed to be somewhere between points 4, 5 and 6. Nefertiti, whose name means 'the beautiful one has come,' was the queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century B.C

    She and her husband established the cult of Aten, the sun god, and promoted artwork in Egypt that was strikingly different from its predecessors.

    Her titles suggests she was co-regent and possibly a pharaoh after Akhenaten's death.

    But despite her remarkable status, her death and burial remains a mystery.

    Tutankhamen's tomb was first discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter. Archaeologists are shown above removing part of a wooden couch, covered with gold leaf and a hippopotamus head, from the tomb at the time

    The gold burial mask of Tutankhamun, shown above, is one of the greatest treasures found inside the boy king's richly furnished tomb. Since its discovery, the story of the young ruler has entranced archaeologists

    Tutankhamun died in mysterious circumstances around 3,000 years ago. His mummy, shown above being unwrapped by archaeologists, was removed from its ornate stone sarcophagus in the tomb in 2007 so it could be better preserved in a climate controlled case

    'Each piece of evidence on its own is not conclusive, but put it all together and it's hard to avoid my conclusion,' Mr Reeves told The Economist.

    'If I'm wrong I'm wrong, but if I'm right this is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made.'

    The images were unveiled by Factum Arte, a group which recently created a life-sized copy of Tutankhamun's tomb, intended for tourists to visit.

    The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 caused a worldwide sensation. The rich furnishings and decorations have entranced the public while archaeologists have puzzled over the king's death.

    He was found buried with two stillborn children and his passing ended the Thutmosid family line.

    Tutankhamun's death led to war as he was succeeded by his adviser Ay, who married the boy king's widow. Under his rule Egypt was defeated in a war with the Hittites.

    Dr Reeves believes the pharaoh's room was simply an afterthought, describing it as a 'corridor-style tomb-within-a-tomb'. Pictured is its entrance

    UGLY STATUE OF QUEEN NEFERTITI CAUSES OUTRAGE IN EGYPT

    The bust of the 14th Century BC ruler was deemed so ugly it quickly drew comparisons to Frankenstein. It was removed after just a few days

    To many Egyptians, she remains a potent symbol of their country's beauty and rich cultural heritage.

    So you can imagine their horror when this statue of Queen Nefertiti was unveiled to great fanfare.

    The bust of the 14th Century BC ruler was deemed so ugly it quickly drew comparisons to Frankenstein.

    As mocking virals swept across Twitter, one Egyptian woman tweeted: 'This is an insult to Nefertiti and to every Egyptian.'

    Another Twitter user wrote: 'I guess this is what she looked like four days after she died.'

    One launched a direct attack on the sculptors, saying: 'If you don't know how to make statues, don't go and do something so unfair to the beautiful Nefertiti.'

    The statue, which was installed at the entrance to the city of Samalout, was intended to be a replica of the famously beautiful 3,300-year old bust unearthed in Ammarna in 1912.

    But the groundswell of criticism was fervent officials have last month removed the statue after just a few days.


    98 Years Ago This Week: Tutankhamun’s Intact Tomb Discovered

    Ninety eight years ago, many believed all the royal tombs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings had been discovered. However, English archaeologist Howard Carter thought there might be one last find, an obscure New Kingdom child pharaoh named Tutankhamun (1332 BC- 1323 BC).[1] Out of 170 known kings and pharaohs of Egypt, none had been discovered in an intact tomb. The looting became such a problem, Egyptian priests in circa 930 BC had hurriedly gathered most royal mummies and secretly re-buried them in a cave with none of their possessions. Many mummies were severely damaged and some were even re-interred in the wrong sarcophagi.

    Amenhotep IV (translated as “Peace of Amun” for Amun-Ra, the god of the sun and the head of the traditional Egyptian pantheon) to Akhenaten (translated as “of Great Use to Aten”)

    Howard Carter began his career in Egypt at the age of 17 as part of a British survey of Queen Hatshepsut’s temple in Thebes as an illustrator. Later he oversaw the excavations of Hatshepsut and Thutmose IV as Inspector General of the Egyptian Antiquities Department. In the process he uncovered a few artifacts with the name Tutankhamun. Tutankhamun was not on any list of Egyptian rulers because of his short reign and controversial father, Amenhotep IV.

    Tutankhamun’s father fundamentally changed Egyptian religion discarding the traditional polytheistic beliefs in many gods in favor of a single major god, Aten. Amenhotep went so far as to change his name to Akhenaten. He named his son and successor Tutankhaten (“Living Image of Aten”). Akhenaten’s change in religious beliefs were deeply unpopular. Upon Akhenaten’s death, the new nine year old, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun to appease the people signaling that he was returning Egypt’s religious traditions.

    In spite of Tutankhamun’s reforms, Egyptians removed his and his father’s names and images form temples and their lists of rulers to erase Akhenaten’s sacrilege. By the dawn of the 20th century, Egyptologists had confirmed Akhenaten’s reign but little evidence of Tutankhamun existed and no mummy had never been found. In 1914, Carter secured financing from English philanthropist George Herbert, 5 th Earl of Carnarvon to conduct a five-year search for the missing pharaoh. Frustratingly, World War I forced Carter to suspend work for four years.

    In 1918, Carter began again working for four more years with no success. On November 4, 1922, as time was running out, a water boy shifted rock scrapings on the ground with his foot and noticed a stone slab. Carter was summoned and after digging further, Carter unearthed the first step of a stone staircase descending into the Earth to a passage tunneled out of the bedrock. At the end of the tunnel, Carter found a plaster door with the intact seal of Tutankhamun.

    By erasing Tutankhamun’s reign from their historical records, the Ancient Egyptians inadvertently ensured he would be forgotten and therefore remain undisturbed. The tomb was further protected when debris dug from Rameses IV’s tomb was deposited on the entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb entrance. Layout of the four room tomb of Tutankhamun

    The stone steps descending to a tunnel and the still sealed door of Tutankhamun’s tomb

    After nine years, Carter stood before plaster door at the end of a stone cut subterranean tunnel after years of patient work. He knew he was on the verge of an important and unique find. Yet even then he had to wait, proceeding without Lord Carnarvon would not be right. Carter telegraphed Lord Carnarvon to come immediately. Carnarvon had to travel by boat from England which took another maddening 19 days. Finally, with Carnarvon standing directly behind him on November 26, 1922, Carter chiseled a hole in the door and extended a candle into the darkness. After a few tense moments of silence, Carnarvon asked: “Can you see anything?” Carter responded simply: “Yes, wonderful things.” Howard Carter had just discovered the intact tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun and it did indeed contain wonderful things.

    The “wonderful things” Carter could see in the flickering candlelight

    The faint smell of perfume met Carter and Lord Carnarvon as they entered the first room. In the dust on the floor, they could see 3,000 year-old footprints of tomb builders. The tomb consisted of four rooms. Carter had first glimpsed the largest room an antechamber with three royal beds, a golden chariot, a pharaonic throne, ornate trunks, board games, boxes, vases, jars and other items. A small sealed room to one side contained everyday furniture, oils, perfumes, food, wine and water in sealed vases.

    Left: Original photo of the still sealed sarcophagus room. Right: one of the sentinels

    To the opposite side a sealed plaster door guarded by two statues of Tutankhamun contained the greatest find. Four golden shrines inscribed with hieroglyphics almost filled the room. Inside the shrines lay three progressively smaller sarcophagi. At the center Carter uncovered the most precious treasure, the golden mask of Tutankhamun on his mummified remains.

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    Next to the sarcophagus room, Carter discovered another chamber with black statue of the jackal god Anubis atop a golden shrine standing sentinel. Behind Anubis lay Tutankhamun’s treasures and canopic jars (containing Tutankhamun’s removed internal organs inside a beautiful golden box guarded by the outstretched arms four gold statues of Tutankhamun’s wife. Numerous intricately carved boat models lined one wall and on the other side, stood several miniature statues of Tutankhamun hunting or engaging in some other activity.

    Left : Original photo of Anubis atop a golden shrine guarding the treasure room

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    Carter spent eight years painstakingly excavating and meticulously documenting the thousands of artifacts revealing a wealth of information about everyday life, religious beliefs and burial practices of the Egyptians. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter is the most significant archaeological find in Egypt. Carter’s 20+ years of determined but careful work electrified the world creating a fascination with Egyptology and study of the ancient world that continues today.

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    [1] Tomb desecration caused Egyptian rulers to hide their tombs over time. For some perspective, the Egyptian Empire began circa 3,000 BC. In the earliest years kings were buried in trapezoidal shaped mastabas and then pyramids in the Old Kingdom (2,686 BC- 2,134 BC). Middle Kingdom rulers built (2,050 BC- 1,800 BC) built mortuary temples further up the Nile at places like Dar-el-Bari. Many New Kingdom (circa 1,570 BC – 1070 BC) pharaohs such as Tutankhamun were interred in underground tombs in the Valley of the Kings which was distant from Egyptian population centers. The New Kingdom rulers hoped the remote location would prevent grave robbing and desecration, but even these extreme measures mostly failed.


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    Amr Nabil / Associated Press

    Reeves reached his theory after high-resolution images discovered what he said were straight lines in King Tut’s tomb. These lines, previously hidden by colour and the stones’ texture, indicate the presence of a sealed chamber, he said. The images were broadcast live on national television last September.

    At the Cairo news conference, el-Damaty highlighted radar scans that showed anomalies in the walls of the tomb, indicating a possible hidden door and the chambers, which lay behind walls that were covered up and painted over with hieroglyphics.

    Nefertiti was the primary wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who unsuccessfully attempted to switch Egypt to an early form of monotheism. Akhenaten was succeeded by a pharaoh referred to as Smenkhare and then Tut, who was proven by genetic testing to have been Akhenaten’s son.

    Tut, Nefertiti, and Akhenaten’s family ruled Egypt during one of its most turbulent times, which ended with a military takeover by Egypt’s top general at the time, Horemheb. The family’s names were later erased from official records.


    Watch the video: Αίγυπτος: Τουταγχαμόν από φλυτζάνια του καφέ (January 2022).