Are we on the brink of one of the great discoveries of our time?
It's been nearly a week since the Luxor press conference following the latest radar scans of Tutankhamun's tomb, exploring the theory that secret chambers could hide the burial of Queen Nefertiti.
Among all the speeches that day, no-one seems to have noticed three particular words chosen by Dr. Nicholas Reeves. Three words that suggest they saw something on those latest tomb scans to indicate something intriguing behind those walls.
Many people were a little disappointed by last week's announcements. While the new Minister of Antiques, Dr. Khaled El-Anani, revealed that the new scans didn't contradict the previous results, he couldn't elaborate more. The data was being sent to the U.S. for rigorous scientific analysis.
The tone was much more circumspect that the gushy "90% sure" announcements by the previous Minister. Now the brief is, "We are looking for the truth and reality, not chambers."
This is the proper scientific method: ask a question, form a hypothesis, test it, analyse the data, retest and reanalyse if necessary (which is where we are at now), draw a conclusion, announce the results.
And that, for the most part, was that. The radar technicians spoke, carefully. The Minister of Antiquities spoke, carefully. No-one said much at all. However Dr. Reeves may have revealed more than he intended to in part of his speech where he explained his theory that " ...Tutankhamun’s tomb wasn’t in fact made for Tutankhamun, but was in fact simply the outer elements of a larger tomb that was originally intended for Nefertiti, who I believed – and still believe – lies buried beyond that north wall."
"And still believe".
So far the radar data hasn't been released for thorough peer review by independent radar experts. There has been scepticism about what has actually been found in the tomb. Some experts in the field have said that what they have seen of the results so far has been less than compelling. In any case, the Valley of the Kings is riddled with fissures and natural voids that could explain the radar data.
However, for all the new Minister's caution, Nicholas Reeves, who was in the tomb while the latest scans were being made, and had the results explained to him along the way, clearly still believes. This has to mean that the latest scans were just as encouraging as the previous ones conducted by Japanese radar specialist, Hirokatsu Watanabe, whose radar survey of the Valley of the Kings in 2000 pinpointed KV63.
Naturally the proper scientific method must be followed; the battering-ram archaeology of days past is thankfully behind us. However, you can't blame a guy for being hopeful.
Looking forward, the promised analysis of the latest scans is due out any day now. Another radar scan is due to be carried out at the end of April—this time vertically, looking down from the hill above the tomb. Then, on May 8, archaeologists and experts from around the world are invited to attend a conference to examine all of the data so far and come to a firm conclusion, which will shape what happens next.
This wonderful image of Tutankhamun's three golden coffins and his famous mask is by British artist, Roger Stewart. Nicholas Reeves believes that almost all of Tutankhamun's burial equipment was originally made for another ruler—and a female one at that.
The latest issue of Nile Magazine contains the full story of the latest flurry of activity in Tutankhamun's tomb, along with the amazing photography that you've come to expect from Nile. Subscribe to the print or digital editions via the Nile Store page.