According to a world-renowned British Egyptologist, hieroglyphics hidden in the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun have strengthened the belief that the tomb could have a door to the tomb of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
Cartouches representing Tutankhamen, also known as King Tut, being buried by his successor Ay were painted over cartouches depicting Tutankhamen burying Nefertiti, said Nicholas Reeves, a former curator in the British Museum’s Department of Egyptian Antiquities.
“Close inspection of Ay’s cartouches reveals clear, underlying traces of an earlier name — Tutankhamun,” Reeves said to the Guardian. “In its original version, Tutankhamun was performing the funerary ritual for the tomb’s original owner, his immediate predecessor Nefertiti.”
The new evidence supports the theory that Tut’s tomb lies in the outer section of Nefertiti’s larger tomb, which has yet to be uncovered.
The cartouches on the tomb’s north wall depict Ay holding a ceremonial adze and performing the mummy’s “opening the mouth” ritual, which would restore Tut’s five senses.
The door is believed to be located between the tomb’s north and eastern walls, with the eastern wall constituting as a false wall. However, conflicting surveys conducted since 2015 have been unable to prove whether anything is behind the wall.
“While those reliant upon automated filtering to remove extraneous ‘noise’ have declared that they see nothing in their results, others, processing the data in a more considered manner, perceive the north wall’s eastern half to indeed be construction rather than bedrock,” Reeves added.
Archaeologists have been puzzled by Tutankhamun’s tomb, which was considered small for an important pharaoh, according to Reeves. However, Tut died unexpectedly at the age of 19, in 1324 B.C., which meant that he needed to be buried quickly. The tomb was discovered a century ago by British archaeologist Howard Carter.
The evidence will be included in Reeves’ upcoming book, The Complete Tutankhamun, which will be published next month by Thames & Hudson. According to the publication, Reeves has worked extensively as an archaeologist in and around Tut’s tomb.