Egyptian minister believes hidden chamber may not contain Queen Nefertiti

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 29 Sep 2015

Egypt’s minister of antiquities posits that the hidden chamber behind Tutankhamun’s tomb’s northern wall could be of his mother Kiya

Tutankhamun's mother kiya

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty opposes part of the theory of British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves, who claims that a hidden chamber located behind the tomb’s northern wall could be Queen Nefertiti’s resting place.

Eldamaty suggests that the chamber could belong to his mother, Queen Kiya, and not his stepmother, Queen Nefertiti, for two reasons.

The first reason, according to the minister, is that when Tutankhamun came to the throne, Nefertiti was already deceased. Secondly, when Tutanakhmun restored the cult of Amun and abandoned his father’s monotheistic religion, leaving the Aten capital Akhtaten to Thebes, he certainly would have taken his mother Kiya with him.

Eldamaty explained to Ahram Online that Tutankhamun’s unexpected death prompted the Valley of the Kings’ priests to search for an already complete tomb to bury him in, as they only had 70 days to place his mummy in its final resting place. "Kiya’s tomb was an ideal choice," Eldamaty suggested.

Eldamaty asserted that they may have selected a completed tomb of one of his family members, such as Kiya’s, taking a section of her tomb and dedicating it to Tutankhamun.

He added that an extension was possibly built in order to house the number of shrines made for him, replacing the several antechambers that are normally found in a royal tomb.

Eldamaty also rejected the suggestion that the second hidden chamber could be an antechamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb or a hidden gallery of his treasured collection, explaining that the collection would not be hidden, as the whole tomb would be sealed off after the funerary rituals.

Eldamaty, Reeves, and the scientific committee are to embark Tuesday on a second trip to the Valley of the Kings, but this time to inspect three tombs of royals who were alive in Tutanakhmun’s era: King and military commander Horemhab, King Akhenaten’s brother King Smenkare, and Amenhotep III.

The aim of such a visit is to study the features of the tomb and compare them with those of Tutankhamun’s. These features include ceilings, wall paintings, and the location of the magic bricks that contain amulets, which protect the deceased against the enemies of the god Osiris.

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