Could a Door in King Tut’s Tomb Lead to Queen Nefertiti?

Hidden hieroglyphics could suggest the tomb of King Tutankhamun leads to the findings of Nefertiti’s burial chamber.

Oct 9, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his burial chambe
The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun in his burial chamber at the Valley of the Kings, close to Luxor, 500 kilometres south of Cairo. (AFP / Khaled DESOUKI)


The discovery of hidden hieroglyphics within Tutankhamun’s tomb supports a theory that the Egyptian queen Nefertiti lies in a hidden chamber. The chamber is adjacent to her stepson’s burial chamber, a world-renowned British Egyptologist, Nicholas Reeves said.


 Tut’s Tomb Is Just the Outer Section of a Larger Tomb

Zawi Hawass of the mummy of Tutankhamun.
Zawi Hawass, the Egyptian head of the high council for antiquities, supervises the removal of the mummy of Tutankhamun in Luxor in 2007.


The new evidence supports Reeves’ theory that Tut’s tomb is just the outer section of a much larger tomb. Tut’s tomb always confused Egyptologists, so this made sense. The hieroglyphics could explain the burial of Tutankhamun by his successor Ay. Tutankhamon’s body covered by cartouches shows he is one, who buried Nefertiti.


If this discovery proves to be true, it could lead to more findings and information on the complex and hidden history of Nefertiti.


Reeves said: “I can now show that, under the cartouches of Ay, are cartouches of Tutankhamun himself. They prove that scene originally showed Tutankhamun burying his predecessor, Nefertiti. You would not have had that decoration in the tomb of Tutankhamun.”


Chamber of secrets
Researchers found a previously unknown space near the tomb of Tutankhamun.

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The tomb had a different purpose before Tut’s death, and it already existed long before the king. As a result, you could see the tomb lacks extensive decoration compared to other kings’ tombs, regardless of including 5.000 artifacts.


“We’ve always been puzzled by Tutankhamun’s tomb because of its strange shape. It’s very small, and not what we’d expect of a king.”


Experts cannot break through the highly decorated and painted walls. As a result, the potential secret doors will have to remain intact.


Unexplored Doorways in Tut’s tomb?

King Tut's face
Via Live Sience


In 2015, Reeves argued that high-resolution images of Tutankhamun’s tomb showed lines underneath plastered surfaces of painted walls. This suggests unexplored doorways, although other experts felt that the scans were inconclusive.


He said: “It’s very easy just to write this off as sheer fantasy, but … I’ve discovered that the decoration of the wall in the burial chamber had been changed.


Howard Carter examining the innermost coffin of Tutankhamun
Howard Carter examining the innermost coffin of Tutankhamun


He included the new evidence in his new book The Complete Tutankhamun, which publishement is due on 28th October. It updates an acclaimed edition he first published 30 years ago, which has been in print ever since.


Who Was King Tut, and Why is He Important?

King Tutankhamun's tomb
King Tutankhamun


King Tutankhamun, commonly referred to as King Tut, was an Egyptian Pharaoh from the 18th Dynasty. He was the last of his royal family to rule. King Tutankhamun took the throne at 8 or 9 years old. Because of the unusually young age for a King, he was under the supervision of his eventual successor, Ay.


Though he was young, King Tut accomplished a lot during his ruling. In his second year as Pharaoh, he began to restore Ancient Egyptian religion to its polytheistic form, allowing the priestly order of two important cults and restoring and rebuilding monuments, that were damaged during the previous Amarna period.


The entrance to Tutankhamun's tomb
The entrance to Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt.Credit: Lander (CC BY-SA 3.0)


King Tut also reburied his father’s remains in the Vallery of Kings and relocated the capital from Akhetaten back to Thebes. This helped strengthen his reign, which lasted about ten years. He died suddenly in 1324 BC at 19 years old.

What About Nefertiti?

Picture of the Nefertiti bust in Neues Museum, Berlin.
Picture of the Nefertiti bust in Neues Museum, Berlin.


Neferneferuaten Nefertiti (1370-1330 BC) represents the 18th queen of Ancient Egypt. She was also the great royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was a father of King Tut. When Akhenaten died, it is believed she took the throne and ruled before Tut took over.


If Nefertiti did rule, her reign marks the fall of Amarna and the relocation of the capital back to Thebes.


In archaeological findings, she is depicted as equal in stature to a King – from the smiting of an enemy to riding a chariot, it is clear that Nefertiti was not just a great royal wife.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.