New Clue Lends Weight to Nefertiti Theory

British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves shares news of hidden hieroglyphs
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2022 11:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 2, 2022 7:15 AM CDT
New Clue Found in Search for Nefertiti
   (Getty Images / Paul Campbell)

Archaeologists haven't given up on their quest to find the long-lost Queen Nefertiti, and many theories have focused on the same location: the tomb of her stepson, King Tut. The possibility that Nefertiti was buried in a hidden chamber was raised in 2015, only to be seemingly disproved by a thorough radar scan in 2018. Then in 2020 a team led by former Egyptian minister of antiquities Mamdouh Eldmaty said a ground-penetrating radar scan suggested a previously unknown chamber was located near Tut's tomb. There is still no definitive answer, but there is another clue: hidden hieroglyphs found in Tut's tomb.

The Guardian reports that "world-renowned" British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves says hieroglyphs that showed Tut being buried by Ay, the pharaoh who came after him, were painted on top of hieroglyphs that showed Tut burying Nefertiti. As Reeves explains, "close inspection of Ay's cartouches [an oval that contains a group of hieroglyphs] reveals clear, underlying traces of an earlier name—that of Tutankhamun. In its original version, this scene had shown Tutankhamun performing the funerary ritual for the tomb’s original owner, his immediate predecessor ... Nefertiti."

In Reeves' view, that supports the theory that Tut's unexpected death at age 19 forced the exterior chambers of what he believes was Nefertiti's tomb to be opened and cleared out to make room for Tut. "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," he notes. (Read more Nefertiti stories.)

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