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Possible hidden chambers in King Tut's tomb get new radar scans

A second round of radar scans conducted in the tomb shine a little more light on the mystery of the hidden chambers.

King Tut's death mask
Tutankhamun's death mask.
Ministry of Antiquities

Though King Tutankhamun's tomb has been well studied, it may still hide a significant mystery.

In mid-March, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of two hidden chambers behind the northern and western walls of Tut's room. Experts conducted a fresh round of scans using digital ground-penetrating radar on Thursday.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany, sworn in as the new minister in March, is leading a team of experts on the new round of high-resolution scans, which seem to back up the initial investigation's findings regarding the cavities. The earlier scans suggested the presence of metal and organic material in the northern chamber.

Few pharaohs, of course, have the name-recognition of the boy ruler, whose nearly intact tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings was uncovered in 1922. Popularly known as King Tut, Tutankhamun's short life, brief reign and artifact-laden burial chamber are all objects of fascination for both archaeologists and the general public.

There is some hope that one of the chambers in Tut's tomb may contain the lost body of Queen Nefertiti, the wife of Tutankhamun's father, the pharaoh Akhenaten. Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves proposed this idea. Reeves, as well as two engineering experts from National Geographic, is listed on the current Tut scanning team.

Some scientists have asked for more details and a peer review of the radar scans before getting too excited about the possible presence of secret chambers. The Ministry of Antiquities Press Office says 40 new scans were conducted on Thursday using two radar antennas that allowed for more penetration and higher resolution than the first round of radar work. It noted on Facebook on Friday that the new scans don't contradict the earlier results and that "anomalies were detected."

The Ministry of Antiquities has been answering questions about plans for the chambers on Facebook. When asked about the possibility of drilling and inserting a small camera, the Ministry replied, "Other procedures will take place before any physical interference."

The next step is for more radar scans from the outside top of the tomb at the end of April. A press conference with more details on the findings will take place in May. It seems the mystery will continue.


What the first radar scan revealed.

Ministry of Antiquities