The early results from the infrared scans of Tutankhamun's tomb are in.
They think there's something behind the wall.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities - a notoriously conservative bunch - have raised the possibility of a hidden chamber in Tutankhamun's tomb. This supports Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves' theory that the tomb actually belongs to Queen Nefertiti, hidden behind a false wall.
A team from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering and the French Heritage, Innovation and Preservation Institute, made a survey of the tomb on Thursday using infrared thermography, which measures temperature distributions on a surface. The idea is that a wall with a space behind it is warmer than one carved from solid rock. The results showed exactly that.
Before we get too excited, further thermography tests are planned over the next week to confirm the results and more accurately map out the area showing the 'hot spot'.
Dr. Reeves published a paper this year in which he claims that Nefertiti's tomb has been hiding in plain sight! Tutankhamun's tomb as it appears today is simply part of a much larger structure. In studying ultra high-resolution scans made for the construction of a replica tomb, Reeves noticed what he believes are the traces of two doorways that were plastered and painted over - one concealing the burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti.
The theory is that Tutankhamun's early death forced palace officials to adapt Nefertiti's tomb in the Valley of the Kings for another royal burial. The corridor that ended in a painted scene designed to fool thieves was widened to accommodate Tutankhamun's large sarcophagus and golden shrines.
Pictured is Tutankhamun (or Nefertiti!) on the north wall of Tutankhamun's tomb. This is part of the wall that Nicholas Reeves believes was constructed after the death of Nefertiti, whose burial lays undisturbed on the other side. The line at the side of the figure's mouth, an "oromental groove", is, according to Reeves, a trademark feature in portrayals of Nefertiti.
Radar scans are planned this month to get an even clearer picture of what may lie beyond the tomb as we know it. The big dilemma is, what if the radar suggests there IS a chamber behind the tomb's north wall. That's where it gets really interesting.