Hidden chamber in King Tut's tomb may conceal lost burial of Nefertiti, radar scans show

A HIDDEN chamber near the tomb of King Tutankhamen may contain the long-lost remains of his mother-in-law, Queen Nefertiti.

That's the shock claim made by scientists after they found a previously unknown space close to the pharaoh's burial complex in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.


The final resting place of Nefertiti, who was queen alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten over 3,000 years ago, is one of Egypt's greatest mysteries.

It's believed the powerful monarch was the mother of King Tut's wife, and that she briefly ruled Egypt outright after the death of her husband in 1335 BC.

Archaeologists have never found her remains and one long-standing theory is that she was buried in a secret compartment within Tut's tomb.

Tut died aged just 19 and his burial complex is exceptionally small for a monarch, leading some experts to speculate that parts of it remain undiscovered.

Now scientists have used high-tech radar scans to reveal possible evidence of hidden chambers beyond the tomb's north wall, Nature reports.

The corridor-like space measures two metres high and over 10 metres long. It sits just a few metres from Tut's gold-laden treasury.

Dr Ray Johnson, an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago, who wasn't involved in the research, described the discovery as "tremendously exciting".

"Clearly there is something on the other side of the north wall of the burial chamber," he told Nature.

King Tutankhamun – the 'boy king' who died under mysterious circumstances

Here's what you need to know…

  • King Tutankhamun is the most famous of Egypt's ancient pharaohs
  • He ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago from 1332 to 1323 BC
  • Tut is known as the "boy king" as he was just 10 years old when he took the throne
  • When he became king he married his half-sister Ankhesenpaaten. They had two daughters together but both were stillborn
  • Tut died aged just 19 under mysterious circumstances
  • Some believe he was assassinated but most think his death was an accident, likely the result of an infected leg following a nasty break
  • The pharaoh is also famous for the supposed curse that haunts his tomb
  • After the tomb's discovery in 1922, archaeologists, and even their family members, died from horrible illnesses or in strange accidents – and some say the deaths weren't a coincidence

The study was led by archaeologist Mamdouh Eldamaty, a former Egyptian minister of antiquities.

A new technology called ground-penetrating radar, which uses radar pulses to see through soil and rock, was used to scan around Tut's tomb.

There's no proof yet that what they found really is a hidden chamber – let alone that it contains Nefertiti's tomb – but it offers a tantalising prospect to Egyptologists.

The finding was presented to Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) earlier this month.

This is not the first time the possibility of extra chambers in Tut's tomb has been explored by scientists.

Several teams, often working with private companies, claim to have found evidence of secret compartments behind the underground structure's walls.

However, these discoveries are often contradictory and inconclusive.

In 2017, Francesco Porcelli, a physicist at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy, led a ground-penetrating radar survey which concluded the tomb contained no concealed rooms.

"We conclude, with a very high level of confidence, that the hypothesis concerning the existence of hidden chambers adjacent [to] Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by the GPR data," researchers wrote in their study.

It is not yet known whether the newly found space is linked to King Tut's burial chamber or another nearby tomb.

Eldamaty and his team believe the spot is part of the Tut complex because it's positioned perpendicular to the tomb's main axis.

Unconnected tombs tend to be aligned at different angles.

The theory that Nefertiti's tomb is hidden inside Tut's is a controversial one.

A brief history of Ancient Egypt

Here's everything you need to know…

  • The Ancient Egyptians were an advanced civilisation who at one point owned a huge portion of the globe
  • The civilisation began about 5,000 years ago when ancient humans began building villages along the River Nile
  • It lasted for about 3,000 years and saw the building of complex cities centuries ahead of their time – as well as the famous Great Pyramids
  • The Ancient Egyptians were experts at farming and construction
  • They invented a solar calendar, and one of the world's earliest writing systems: The hieroglyph
  • The Egyptians were ruled by kings and queens called pharaohs
  • Religion and the afterlife were a huge part of Ancient Egyptian culture. They had over 2,000 gods
  • Pharaohs built huge elaborate tombs to be buried in, some of which were pyramids – at the time among the largest buildings in the world
  • The Egyptians believed in life after death, and important people's corpses were mummified to preserve their bodies for the afterlife
  • The Ancient Egytpian empire fell due to a mix of factors, including wars with other empires and a 100-year period of drought and starvation


Investigations of secret chambers within other Ancient Egyptian tombs have often found they were simply tunnels used by the grave's builders.

Queen Nefertiti was born around 1370 BC and died around the age of 40.

She was the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh and they were also known for a religious revolution as they only worshipped one god, Aten.

They ruled during the wealthiest period in Ancient Egyptian history.

Nefertiti became famous following the discovery of an incredibly well-preserved ancient bust of her head. The artefact is on display in Berlin's Neues Museum.

In other news, a rare pink statue of an Ancient Egyptian king was unearthed near the pyramids of Giza in December.

Archaeologists recently found ancient tattoos depicting animals and gods on several female Egyptian mummies.

We revealed last year that Ancient Egyptian grave robbers looted £700,000-worth of gold from a Pharaoh’s tomb – and were impaled as punishment.

Do you think Nefertiti's tomb was hidden near King Tut's? Let us know in the comments!

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