“I was struck dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, ‘Can you see anything?’ it was all I could do to get out the words, ‘Yes, wonderful things.”
― Howard Carter, Tomb of Tutankhamen
Last week, the world of Egyptology became even more hopeful that the discovery of Queen Nefertiti’s tomb is close at hand. Mamdouh el-Damati, Antiquities Minister, announced the promising results last Thursday, stating that the scans completed in November revealed a 90% probability of the presence of two empty spaces behind two walls of the burial chamber. He also announced that the scans have shown possible “organic material” inside these spaces, alluding to the presence of metal, stone, fabrics…mummies?
Experts plan to complete additional scanning at the end of the month to determine the size of these hidden chambers and the thickness of the walls, but Damati urged that “There will be no digging unless we are 100 percent sure the chambers exist.” El Damati himself has never been a supporter of Egyptologist Nick Reeves’s theory on the burial of Nefertiti (discussed in my previous post *link*), but he does believe that there may be some kind of female royalty buried within the hidden chambers.
Soon the additional scanning of the hidden rooms will begin, but in the meantime Reeves and his team are using high quality surveying equipment to search for a secret doorway on the northern wall that could reveal one of these hidden chambers. After a thorough analysis of the high resolution images was published online last year, Reeves identified cracks in the walls that could indicate to “ghost” doorways that lay beyond the wall.
While he works to fully test his hypothesis, Nicholas Reeves (and his team) face continued opposition from those trying to preserve the historical site in its entirety. “We must find a way to protect the tomb of Tutankhamun,” El Damati stated in an October interview, “Does that mean we will dig from above, below or from the side? We don’t know.” Many Egyptologists refuse to allow Reeves and his team to destroy any part of the historic site, even if it means preventing the discovery of a great Egyptian treasure.
As testing continues and potential dates for excavation are set, it is certain that the preservation of the tomb of Tutankhamun will be a major point of debate, and while it may require sacrifice, every Egyptologist hopes for the moment when we can once again hear the response that changed the world:
“yes, wonderful things.”