UC401, Courtesy of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL / Piece from Tell el-Amarna.

Where is Queen Nefertiti?

in History/Latest

The bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti looks down upon one from its glass enclosure in the Egyptian Museum Berlin. She is beautiful yet stoic, unable to reveal to us her secrets. These last few years there has been a renewal of interest in her and the search for her burial place. As a pharaoh’s wife, she should have an extravagant tomb somewhere.

The historian Nicholas Reeves believes that he has found it. He thinks that she is buried in a hidden chamber that is part of the tomb of the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun, the burial site is also known as KV62.

Nefertiti should be buried in the royal tombs in Amarna, the modern-day name for the place of the city, Akhetaten. This was a new city created in the ancient days of Egypt by the pharaoh Akhenaton, who was also Nefertiti’s husband. This pharaoh wanted a new city built to go along with his radical reform of the ancient Egyptian religions, turning it from a polytheistic religion into a monotheistic one overnight. The one God that he wanted worshipped was called Aten, the sun disc.

In Akhetaten, tombs were created for the royal family but it seems they were either never used or plundered by thieves, the tombs have been discovered to be empty. It has been suggested that Queen Nefertiti was buried elsewhere, or maybe she was moved to make sure that her mummy, her wrapped body, was safe from thieves or vandals. We do not know when she died, if she outlived her husband or not, nor do we know if she even saw Tutankhamun become king.

It has been thought that maybe she joined her step son, the boy king Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, though it is now being speculated that maybe the boy king joined her in burial. Nicholas Reeves has a theory; that there is a hidden chamber that can be accessed through a hidden doorway in Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.

In the tomb there is a north wall with a scene from the first chapter of the Egyptian Amduat, this is a book for the Royals kings and queens to help them through the death of their body and on into the afterlife. On this wall there is a depiction of twelve baboons in boxes, above them is a scene of boat carrying a giant scarab and next to that a scene depicting the first gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon. And of course, there are also a lot of hieroglyphs.

The tomb was being photographed with high resolution images that recorded the interior of the tomb in high quality detail in order for an exact replica to be made. Reeves studied these photos and noticed a few anomalies on the baboon wall.

Anomalies that suggested that there was something odd about this wall. The scan showed two vertical parallel lines that resembled a door. It is this ‘door’ that is painted over suggesting it has been hidden. The lines are not a natural part of the rock and Reeves suggests that they are artificial. Also, the north wall has paint and plaster that differs from the other three walls.

Radar research of the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun was carried out by technologist Hirukatsu Watanabe and the results from his scan showed that there are two chambers behind one of the walls of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The radar also shows artefacts, though indistinct, also to be there.

 National Geographic also sent out a team of radar experts and they state that their scans reveal that there is nothing there, no doorway, no hidden chamber, no artefacts.

UC011, Courtesy of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL’ / Piece from Tell el-Amarna.

The rumour began to circulate that she, the great queen, was buried behind king Tutankhamun. In ancient times pharaohs tombs were made in a specific way. If a male pharaoh was to be buried, a king, the tomb was constructed so that the entrance corridor turned left at the bottom, a chamber was made on the left for the pharaoh to be laid to rest in. If it was a queen’s tomb being constructed, the passage would bear right at the end. In Tutankhamun’s tomb, the entrance corridor went down then turned right. A tomb made for a queen!

Also, King Tutankhamun’s burial seems to have been a rushed affair. He died young so maybe there had not been time to build an elaborate tomb for him, one fitted out for a proper pharaoh. Maybe he was put into the first chambers of his step mothers mausoleum, the queen who had ruled with his father before him.

The second scan by national geographic has put doubt on the claims of Nicholas Reeves idea that there is a hidden chamber, and work is currently suspended. What we need is further research, a third scan maybe, as the saying goes the third time is the charm, and what a lucky charm it would be if one uncovered the burial site of a famous and beautiful queen. The intrigue will continue until we find this queen!

Latest from History

Mefiti & Me

Passaggiatina 2019, the latest summer art residency in the Appenines in Atina
Go to Top