New clues in hunt for Nefertiti’s tomb

Updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon November 30, 2015
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Story highlights

Egyptologists optimistic about finding second chamber behind King Tut's tomb

Ministry of Antiquities says scans from Tutankhamun's tomb reveal vacancy behind wall

Archaeologists hope this clue helps find Queen Nefertiti's long-lost tomb

(CNN) —  

Egyptologists are optimistic that a second chamber may soon be found behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb, based on results of scans from the Valley of the Kings that were announced Saturday.

One archaeologist has speculated that if the second chamber exists, it could be Queen Nefertiti’s long-lost burial place.

Nefertiti vanished 3,000 years ago. Her full story has remained a mystery, involving experts around the world in an ongoing search for her tomb.

In August, British archaeologist Nicolas Reeves published a theory that the ancient queen’s final resting place is tucked away in a hidden chamber behind the walls of the tomb of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, King Tut. Reeves’ theory rocked Egyptologists around the world, prompting more research in hopes of additional clues about Nefertiti.

To test his theory, Reeves recently used radar and thermal imaging to scan the tomb and differentiate between bedrock and walls.

Have Egyptologists found Nefertiti’s long-lost tomb?

Preliminary results from the scans reveal a vacant spot behind the northern wall of the tomb, which archaeologists say strongly indicates the existence of a new burial chamber, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced Saturday.

Work inside the tomb will not begin until all the data from the radar and infrared devices are carefully analyzed by Japanese experts, according to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty.

Nefertiti ruled Egypt alongside her husband, Amenhotep IV (Akhenatan), in the 18th Dynasty, in the middle of the 14th century B.C. Her not-so-modest name means “a beautiful woman has come.”

But after reigning for 12 years, she vanished. Some Egyptologists believe she became co-regent under a new name, while others think she simply died.

CNN’s Ian Lee contributed to this report.