New King Tut's tomb search can start soon, Egypt pledges

Egyptian authorities promise they will make haste to get new radar equipment needed to search for Queen Nefertiti's tomb, amid a new theory it could be in an alleged hidden chamber behind King Tut's tomb.

Body of Queen Nefertiti may hide in boy pharaoh's resting place

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty, left, and Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist, centre, visit the Valley of the Kings in Luxor earlier this week. El-Damaty said he now agrees with Reeves's theory that King Tut's tomb may contain hidden chambers, possibly belonging to an ancient queen. (Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press)

Egyptian authorities promised Thursday they would move quickly to get new radar equipment needed to search for Queen Nefertiti's tomb amid a new theory it could be in an alleged, hidden chamber behind King Tutankhamun's tomb in the famed Valley of the Kings.

The theory, presented this summer by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, speculates that King Tut, a teen pharaoh who died at age 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally Nefertiti's tomb.

Archeologists have yet to find the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, fabled for her beauty and famous since her bust was discovered in 1912, now on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin.

One theory is that King Tut, who died young, was rushed to be buried in an outer chamber of the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, seen here in a famous bust believed to be 3,300 years old. (Herbert Knosowski/Associated Press)

Since the 1922 discovery of King Tut's 3,300 year-old pharaonic mausoleum in the Valley of the Kings near the city of Luxor, his tomb has become the focus of attention for archaeologists world over — and one of Egypt's prime tourist draws in modern times.

Now, Reeves believes the walls of King Tut's tomb could conceal two unexplored doorways, one of which perhaps leads to Nefertiti's tomb. His theory has reinvigorated the search for Nefertiti, who was also the primary wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, widely believed to have been Tut's father.

Reeves also speculates that — if he's right — the hidden chamber could hold undiscovered artifacts that could be even more stunning than those from Tut's tomb.

King Tut's coffin lies behind a glass case at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. (Nariman El-Mofty/Associated Press)

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty told reporters in Cairo that a plan would be presented "immediately" for non-invasive radar equipment.

Once approved, the equipment could be obtained and be at the site within three months, he said, or perhaps as early as November, for the 93rd anniversary of the 1922 discovery of Tut's tomb.

The radar equipment "will confirm whether there's something" there, said el-Damaty, who spoke after a joint visit this week with Reeves to the Valley of the Kings and King Tut's tomb.

Foreign diplomats and Egyptologists attend the opening of an exact replica of Tutkankhamun's tomb in Luxor in 2014. The original, nearly intact tomb was discovered in 1922. (Khalil Hamra/Associated Press)

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